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Off to a good start!

It was great to see everyone Wednesday evening. I’m sure there will be some additional students, but as of last night, we had 11 students — 4 boys and 7 girls. It’s interesting; six of our 11 students are the younger siblings of students we taught in past years. Welcome back, parents!

Thanks to all the parents to provided their contact information. I won’t deluge you with emails, but it’s good to have a solid channel of communications for schedule changes, etc.

The schedule for the year is under the labeled tab at the top of this page. If you picked up one of the schedules I had last night, please remember that it was inadvertently cut off about 6 weeks early.

If you read the hand-out from last night, the rest of this post will be repetitious. If not…

The 5th grade curriculum will focus on the liturgy and the sacraments. While we have some material to cover, including some memorization, we also hope to make the short time we will spend together rewarding and enjoyable for your child.

It has been our experience that, when they get going, 5th graders and full of interesting questions. If it has anything remotely related to God, the Church, religion, or living, we will talk about it.

Please understand I will have your child for less than an hour just once a week. You can do several things to help us make this a productive experience for your son or daughter.

• Ask your child if we have given them a task to do during the week and assist them with it.

• Please have your child to the school before 6:30 p.m.

• Please support us and encourage your child to come to CCD class willingly and with enthusiasm.

As we will be covering the sacraments, including matrimony and anointing of the sick, our class discussion may come in close contact to real-life events in your child’s life (death in the family, divorce, etc.) If there is something I should know in order to be appropriately sensitive, please tell me.

We have only three class-rules, and we hope you will help us reinforce these to your children.

1. Show up.

2. Participate

3. Don’t be a “jerk.”

(You might be surprised how well 5th graders understand Rule #3. It almost never requires any further explanation.)

You are most welcome to sit-in on the class at any time.

I hope you will stay abreast of what’s happening with your child on Wednesday evenings. To help you do so (and for the fifth year), I have created a blog/Web site. I will try to keep it updated on a weekly basis with reports on the class activity and announcements.

http://stpeterccdgrade5.wordpress.com/

The full rundown of last year’s class is here on the site, so if you would like to get an idea of what is ahead, you can look backwards and see.

Once again, the fifth grade class will be teaming up with the third grade to present the Christmas pageant. If things go according to plan, the pageant will be presented twice – once during the regular CCD class time (Dec 17) and once at one of the Christmas Eve masses. When the dates draw closer, I’ll keep you apprised of scheduling. The biggest issue will be to coordinate the Christmas Eve reader-team with your family plans.

If you have not already done so, please provide me with your email address. We have learned through experience that trying to communicate with parents through the filter of a 10 or 11 year-old just doesn’t work. I will use the blog to communicate routine information. I’ll only use the email to notify you of things like schedule changes and the like.

As we have done for the past several years, we ask that you come to the classroom to pick up your child at 7:30 p.m. Please do not instruct your child to leave the building on his or her own and meet you in the parking lot. If you have a situation that makes it difficult for you to come into the building, like a sleeping baby, just let us know. One of us will walk your child(ren) to your car.

Feel free to contact Mrs. Rudolphi or myself for any reason.

Mike Sullivan
Office: 598-2325
Cell: 484-2622
savannahmike1130 at gmail.com

Shelly Rudolphi
Home: 897-9335
Shelly.rudolphi at att.net

Once again, apologies for the late posting. Life (and work) keeps getting in the way.

Tonight (April 30) will be our last CCD class of this academic year. It has been a very good year from Mrs. Rudolphi’s and my viewpoint. This has been a very good class of students. We really have enjoyed them, even those who can’t seem to keep from falling out of their desks.

Last week, we planned to cover the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Monsignor Costigan accepted my invitation to visit with share his viewpoint and some of his experiences. As it turns out, the class had a lot of questions and his presentation took up the entire class period. I found it very interesting, and I hope the students did also.

For our last class tonight, Mrs. Rudolphi and I will try to do something special. We hope to see the entire gang there for one last hurrah.

We are approaching the finish line. Only two more classes left in the CCD year.

 

Last night, we covered Holy Week, especially the Eastern Triduum and Easter. We started by asking the students to name some ways they show they express love to someone, and then said we would be talking about how Jesus expressed his love for all of us.

 

We began by having the students both read aloud and silently some material in the text covering Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

 

–We talked about the meaning of the term “Paschal Mystery.”

 

–We discussed why the resurrection is the center of the Christian faith.

 

–We compared the Mass on Holy Thursday to the Last Supper, which is essentially the basis of our modern Mass.

 

–We talked about the practice of washing feet, in Biblical times and now on Good Friday.

 

–We discussed why the cross is the central image of Christ’s suffering and death.

 

–We talked about the veneration of the cross ceremony on Good Friday evening.

 

–We indicated that Holy Saturday is usually a quiet day, leading up to the celebration of the resurrection at the Easter Vigil Mass.

 

We transitioned to an entirely different chapter in the text to discuss Easter.

 

–We compared the feeling of Lent of sacrifice and penance, culminating with the remembrance of Jesus’s death and burial to that of Easter, a joyous celebration.

 

–We had three volunteers role-play a dialogue from the text describing the scene on the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene and others went to Jesus’s tomb only to find an angel waiting for them.

 

–We discussed the signs of Easter, like white and gold vestments, Alleluias, and the readings from the Acts of the Apostles.

 

–We also talked a little about how Jesus appeared to many people during the next 40 days.

As always, we finished by asking each student to name one thing they learned in that class, and rewarded all reasonable answers with a cookie. Last night, that process went exceptionally well.

 

Next week we will cover Holy Orders. Our final class will be April 30. We will do something special, but I’m not sure just what yet. I have two weeks to think about it.

The older group of CCD students will present a “Living Stations of the Cross” this Friday night at 8 pm. That is just about the time the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry will be ending. The program should last between 30-45 minutes, so it’s not an all-night commitment.

In past years, this has been a fairly moving program. I recommend it. (Full disclosure — I am one of the readers this year.)

Seriously, I think your family would enjoy this. Please give a thought to attending. Bring your family to the fish fry and stick around for the stations.

Thanks.

 

 

We had a pretty good, but not great, class last night. Normally the subject of the Sacrament of Matrimony generates many more questions and much more discussion. Last night our group was pretty flat.

 

So we tackled Matrimony and marriage. Some of the key points we discussed included:

 

–Matrimony is probably the single sacrament, along with Holy Orders that will have an effect on your subsequent life every day. Your choice of a spouse is probably the single most important decision you will make in your life.

 

– Marriage has been part of the human experience since the very beginning – ie: Adam and Eve.

 

– Boys and girls, and men and women are different but equal. We discussed some historical trends on gender equality and also the way the genders are perceived in other parts of the world, like the Middle East.

 

– A Catholic marriage is intended to be a permanent commitment. We talked about some short-lived celebrity marriages and the popular concept of a “starter marriage,” but indicated the Church believes you should enter into a marriage fully aware and prepared and with the full intention of making it a life-long commitment. We discussed the concept of a covenant.

 

– We discussed the difference between a promise and a vow. A promise is made between one person and another. A vow is a promise made to God. The marriage commitment is a vow.

 

– The Catholic Church takes Matrimony very seriously. The Church believes the union is intended to be permanent. It is difficult to get out of a Catholic marriage, but it is also difficult to get into it. Priests screen and counsel couples to try to make sure they know what they are getting into and are making a good decision. You can’t just show up at a parish office and ask to get married this afternoon, like you can at the county courthouse. Mrs. Rudolphi shared her experience of getting married. At the time, she and her husband were of different faiths. One minister declined to marry them because he thought that would be too much of an difference to overcome.

 

–We discussed some of the specifics of the marriage ceremony and also the concept of fidelity. We also discussed the concept that in Matrimony, the bride and groom are the actual celebrants and the priest is a witness and blesses the union.

 

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a little strange.

 

We threw out some suggestions and got them thinking. Several students mentioned the obligation to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, as we reinforced, “Your parents’ biggest job is to be your parents. Don’t make that job unnecessarily difficult.”

 

We have three more classes left. We will actually teach lessons in the next two, and probably do something fun and special for the last class. Next week, we plan to cover Holy Week and Easter. We’ll finish up the Sacraments with a discussion of Holy Orders the week after Easter.

 

In looking towards tomorrow’s class, I just realized I had not posted anything about last week’s class. I haven’t heard any cries of outrage, so I guess no one is really missing it. Kinda disappointing…

In any case, we had a small turnout, only 8 students. We covered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

Tomorrow, we will cover the Sacrament of Matrimony. This is one subject that can occasionally strike close to home. Students who may have issues at home, like divorced or separated parents, sometimes have interesting questions. We try very hard to be sensitive to issues like this. In eight previous years of teaching this, I have not had any problems or complaints. All the same, parents should just be aware of what we will be covering. As always, parents are most welcome and invited to sit in on the class.

  Last night was the first class back after a lengthy break. The subject of our lesson was the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance/Confession. It was a lively class, but whether or not the students actually learned anything, I can never be sure.

  I started out with an unrelated issue about an 8-year old girl who was asked to leave a Christian school in Virginia because of her tom-boyish appearance and hair style. I pointed out to the class, that while the school claimed to upholding “Christian values,” they might want to reread their gospels. Jesus took much heat from judgmental groups like the Pharisees because he frequently associated with people who they scorned, like Mary Magdaline and Matthew (apostle) who was a tax collector (basically a thief under the Roman Imperial system.) If Jesus were running that “Christian” school, I seriously doubt he would have asked her to leave.

  From there we moved on to the concept of forgiveness, both in everyday life and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We pointed out that most acts of forgiveness involve four steps.

1.) Admission of guilt

2.) Expression of sorrow

3.) Forgiveness

4.) Reparation

  In Reconciliation, these take the form of…

1.) Confessing our sins to the priest

2.) Act of Contrition

3.) Absolution

4.) Penance

  I had two volunteers who I had selected earlier (They were the first two to show up before class.) role-play a little mini-drama. Brighid had taken and broken Emmeline’s pen. At first she denied it. They she admitted it, said she was sorry and Emmeline forgave her. Brighig offered to buy Emmeline a new pen to replace the one she broke.

  We connected that process to the Sacrament. We walked through the process of Reconciliation, emphasizing that the forgiveness comes from God. The priest is just the intermediary. Also we emphasized that the priest is bound to the secrecy of the confession and cannot / will not tell anyone else what you confess. We prayed an Act of Contrition as a class.

  We have just a few weeks left in the year and at least three more sacraments to cover – Holy Orders, Annointing of the Sick and Matrimony. It’s the home stretch.

 

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