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I just looked and realized that, once again, I did not post an update on last week’s class. I might be losing my mind.

In any case, last week, we covered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject is important, but the class wasn’t the most interesting. The major point we tried to drive home was that as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present (Real Presence) in the consecrated bread and wine. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic, as is practiced in some Protestant churches.

Given the importance of that sacrament, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little more time on it and reinforce the concepts. So we had the students complete the end-of-chapter exercises and then we discussed their answers. Several students, who were not there last week, had some difficulty, but they were allowed to look for the answers in the preceding chapter. Actually, the textbook publishers really make it fairly easy. Most of the answers to the review exercises are highlighted in red text in the book. We allowed them to work with a partner, but most of the class preferred to just work on their own.

We only had about 20 minutes left when we completed our discussion of the Eucharist. (I am the Les Miles of class time management. If you don’t recognize the reference, ask a college football fan.) I wanted to cover a short chapter on the liturgical year. We really didn’t have time to go step-by-step through the chapter. So instead we just talked a little about the liturgical year and the Church’s upcoming “New Years Day” on November 30 (First Sunday of Advent.)

We will have no class next week, as it is the evening before Thanksgiving. We’re back on December 3. The rest of our classes until the Christmas break will be devoted to preparation for the Christmas Pageant. The third grade will provide the actors and the fifth grade will provide the narrators. I polled the class to get an idea of who wants to read and who would just as soon be one of the shepherds or whatever.

What I really need from parents is an idea of who I can count on for our two “performances.” The first performance will be during the regular last regular CCD class session before the break, December 17. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that all the children will be available for that program.

The second program will be at the children’s Mass on Christmas Eve afternoon. I’m not sure of the exact time. We know that some of our students may not be available for that program because of travel plans, other family plans or whatever. So what I need to know is who will be available or not for Christmas Eve. I will sort out the readers and give them assignments based on that information. Some students may read at one program, and some may read at both. We’ll just have to see how the chips fall.

So parents, please send me an email and let me know if your child will be available to participate in the Christmas Eve program. We had one student who said her family might be travelling as early as the December 17 date. If this is also the case with any students, please let me know that also.

My email is: savannahmike1130 at gmail.com (Obviously, insert the @ sign in place of “at.”)

I will also be sending out an email to all the parents for whom I have addresses this weekend with the same request.

I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving holiday. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work with your fantastic children. See y’all in December.

I didn’t write an update last week, but I didn’t even realize it until I sat down to write this update. Sorry ‘bout that. Actually, the two classes were really one lesson, just split into two weeks, so this should work. .

I’d like to start by praising this group of students once again. The class is fairly large — 18 at full attendance. They can be energetic and enthusiastic, but when it is time to calm down and listen, they can do that. They are generally interested in what we are doing and want to participate. What this means is we can create some lessons that are a little risky from a teaching standpoint, but more interesting for the students. For example, as I will describe below, last night, we had them role-play the Sacrament of Baptism, complete with water and oil (olive.) With some other classes, this could have degenerated into total chaos, but with this class it worked. We had no water fight and no one spilled the olive oil on anyone else. And hopefully, it is more interesting than just reading about it from the text. Please help us reinforce this behavior with your children.

Last week, we started a discussion of the Sacrament of Baptism. We began with a discussion of the three purposes of Baptism.

1.) To join us with God
2.) To bring us into the Church
3.) To wipe our souls clean or original and any other sins

We pointed out that usually a Baptism is administered by a priest or deacon, but in the event of an emergency, anyone can perform a Baptism. We mentioned that this is very unusual, and most often occurs in the case of a newborn infant that is not expected to live long enough for a priest to get to the hospital.

All of this opened the floor to a wide-ranging set of questions. We let this run its course, which pretty-much took the rest of the class period. This caused us to postpone our role-play exercise until the following week. On the other hand, if the students are asking appropriate questions, it means they are interested in the subject. I would rather discuss a topic that interests the students than to adhere to our own arbitrary timetable. This is time consuming, because we don’t usually just answer the question immediately. We will turn it around and ask the student, “What do you think?”, then involve other students and take the discussion from there.

Last night, we divided the class into three groups of five or six students. We showed them three pages in the text that describe the celebration of Baptism. We told them we wanted them to work as a team to teach and role-play this process. We had props, including a little water, some olive oil, candles and white tee-shirts (white garment.)

The actual presentations were a little chaotic. If you were watching them, you might not have learned much. However, since we had all three groups do the entire ceremony (rather than breaking it up), we hope they learned and will remember something through their participation.

Looking ahead, we have only one more regular class period before the Christmas break. The Advent program will be November 19. The class sessions between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be taken up by practice for the Christmas Pageant. Originally, I planned to cover the Eucharist before Thanksgiving. I need to take a look and see the best way to tackle the lesson schedule.

I had no update on last week’s class, because I was out-of-town on vacation. Mrs. Rudolphi took over and did a fantastic job, as I understand.

Last week’s focus was on the chapter that provided an overview of the seven Sacraments. This is very important, as it is the overview of the entire year. Among other activities, Mrs. R broke the class into groups and had each group teach one of the sub-sets of the Sacraments.

Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation

Sacraments of Healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick

Sacraments of Service of Communion – Matrimony and Holy Orders

Mrs. R told me it went better than she expected. That’s always a nice surprise.

Last week’s lesson was sufficiently important, we thought it worthwhile to spend last night reviewing and solidifying it. We began by allowing the students to work with a partner and complete two review activities in the text book. One was a word-scramble. The other was a combination of T-F and matching. We then spent the rest of the class discussing the quizzes. This gave us the opportunity to review some more complex terms and concepts. Like…

Sanctifying Grace – No one could really explain this concept, which was no surprise. We described grace as simply God’s love for us as individuals. We compared it to a parent’s love. We asked the class to think of times when they really felt their parents’ love, such as when they are praised, given a hug, and so on. An act like a love and kiss is a parent’s way of conveying love to a child. The Sacraments are God’s way of conveying his love (grace) to each of us.

Common Vocation – Firstly, we described the meaning of “vocation.” The common vocation is essentially our calling to holiness and evangelization. We discussed evangelization a little. We pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean preaching. It also means showing you follow God by the way you love your life and the way you treat other people.

We issued one assignment for the week ahead. We asked the students to look for opportunities to serve God by the way they treat other people. Next week, we will ask them what they did in the week that demonstrated service to some other person. We suggested it may be something as simple as picking up a book another student drops on the school bus.

We spent a little more time discussing the meanings of the three categories of Sacraments and why they are called that.

The Sacraments of Initiation are all beginnings of one type or another.

The Sacraments of Healing each involve a spiritual healing.

The Sacraments of Service (of Communion) involve service. We asked the class “who is being served by whom” in Matrimony and Holy Orders. They had a little difficulty grasping that in Matrimony, the husband and wife serve each other. They got the Holy Orders concept of serving both God and man a little easier.

So, this week, please ask your son or daughter, what they have done or are doing to demonstrate they are serving God through their actions towards others. Next week, we’ll start getting more in depth into Baptism.

Sorry for the late posting. Life has been pretty busy for the past few days.
We had a good class Wednesday evening. Mrs. Rudolphi and I had our new photo sheets, so we at least knew the students’ names. It will still be several weeks before we really get a feel for the class and the students for us. As first glance, though, this looks like a good group.

As we did last week, we started instruction with the opening prayer. We emphasize the proper way to pray the Sign of the Cross. Many students are inclined to simply wave their hand in the general direction of their head and shoulders. We are teaching them that the Sign is a prayer and they should recite it slowly, with their hand touching their forehead, navel, left and right shoulders.

The first part of the lesson dealt with John the Baptist, Jesus’s baptism and the mystery of the Holy Trinity. We talked about John’s role as the precursor to Jesus. We also pointed out that this scene in the Bible that all three persons of the Trinity appear at the same time. (Jesus, the Holy Spirit as a dove, and the Father as a voice from the clouds)

This lead us to a discussion of what exactly is the Holy Trinity, specifically, how there can be one God, but three persons. We were discussing this and I was about to try to explain it when Monsignor Costigan and Paula Hubert walked in. Monsignor was on a recruiting mission for altar servers. I offered him the opportunity to explain the mystery. He declined but said he was interested in hearing my explanation. Gee, no pressure there. Explain the mystery of the Trinity to a group of fifth graders with the pastor listening and grading. I told the class that it wasn’t possible for us as humans to fully understand this mystery of God, but there are several explanations that might come close. I picked out two students and asked them about the various roles they have in life (brother, student, daughter, sister, athlete, friend, cousin, etc.) They are a single human being, but they have different sides to them depending on the role they are in at any moment. To the same extent, the three persons of the Trinity can be thought of as the different roles of God. The Father is the creator; the son is the savior or Messiah; and the Holy Spirit is the side of God who is with us every day and extends God’s love. It may not be the best explanation, but the class seemed satisfied, and so was Monsignor. Whew!

Our next section dealt with the various ways Jesus shows us God’s love. We passed out a sheet with four questions. We asked the students to read the page silently and find the answers to the questions in the text. Some of the various examples involved Jesus feeding people and curing a blind beggar. We also noted the way Jesus treated sinners. He did not shun them; he welcomed them and forgave them.
Our next section was to deal with the way Jesus invites people to follow him. We broke the class up into four groups of four students. We assigned each group a piece of the chapter. We asked them to read their section and then prepare to teach it to the rest of the class. We ran out of time before they had a chance to present their mini-lesson. We’ll tackle that first thing on Wednesday.

We finished, as we will every week, but going around the room and asking each student what they learned that evening. It took a little “teeth pulling,” but everyone was able to cite something. They were rewarded with a cookie.

The year at a glance

This will definitely change at least once. It always does. But here is a tentative schedule of lessons for the year.

Please note: On this schedule, I have Ash Wednesday, Feb 18, listed as “no class.” We usually ask all the families to bring their children to the Ash Wednesday service at the church in lieu of a regular CCD class. However, as it stands right now, the “official” CCD calendar shows that date as a regular class session. I think the official calendar will change between now and then.

Sep 24 – Get organized
Oct 1 – Chapter 1 Jesus shares God’s life
Oct 8 – Ch 3 The Sacraments
Oct 15 – Ch 4 Baptism 1
Oct 22 – Ch 5 Baptism 2
Oct 29 – Ch 10 Eucharist 1
Nov 5 – Ch 11 Eucharist 2
Nov 12 – Ch 6-7 Liturgical Year & Advent
Nov 19 – Advent Program
Nov 26 – No class
Dec 3 – Pageant practice
Dec 10 – Pageant Practice
Dec 17 – Pageant Program
Dec 24, 31, Jan 7 – No class
Jan 14 – Ch 8 Confirmation 1
Jan 21 – Ch 9 Confirmation 2
Jan 28 – Commandments 1
Feb 4 – Commandments 2
Feb 11 – Ch 20-21 Lent & Triduum
Feb 18 – Ash Wednesday
Feb 25 – Ch 15 Healing
March 4 –Ch 16 Reconciliation
March 11 – Ch 18 Anointing of the Sick
March 18 – No class
March 25 – Ch 12 Prayer
April 1 – Ch 24 Matrimony
April 8 – No class
April 15 – 25 Holy orders
April 22 – Unassigned
April 29 – Last Class

 

There is not much to report from last night’s CCD class. We knew we would have to spend a fair amount of time simply getting organized, so there would not be enough time to teach a full lesson. We had several new students, which puts our class size at 19. Also, one of our students brought a friend. That is a good size. We have had classes as large as 27 and as small as 13.

We took head-shot pictures of the students. We will use this to create a photo-sheet to help Mrs. Rudolphi and I connect names and faces more quickly. We will make an occasional slip-up, but we should be able to recognize most of the students and know their names by next week.

We introduced ourselves and went over our plans for the year and the class rules.

We then passed out a short “quiz” regarding the sacraments and commandments. We just wanted to see what the class knows already. It was a mixed bag. We discussed the quiz when they were complete. Next week, we will start with a full lesson.

Stay tuned for weekly updates, and feel free to come join the class anytime you want.

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

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