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Class #4 Oct. 9, 2019

We had a lively class last night. And that’s not “code” for ill behaved. The group was just energetic.

We started with a follow up to our tour of the church last week. Ms. Hanzel distributed a pre-class exercise that asked the students to match various items in a drawing of the interior of a church to a list of common things, like an altar, pews, etc. After the students worked on it on their own, we went over it. Most of the class were successful with most of the questions. We then redistributed the scavenger hunt sheets that had riddles about objects in the church. Some of the riddles were a little “out there” but, again, the students did pretty well.
Scavanger Hunt 10-2
We changed gears about half way through the class and finished up the chapter we started two weeks ago. We divided the class into four teams of three or four students and assigned them a handful of paragraphs from the text. They were to work together to read and understand their assignment and plan a way to teach that section to the reminder of the class. The four topics were…

Disciples and the Kingdom of God
Parables and the story of the mustard seed
Apostles
The church

In the past, this has sometimes gone well and sometimes fallen flat on its fact. Last night, it went fairly well. Three of the four groups showed some imagination, which isn’t bad.

Next week we move into our coverage of the sacraments, which will be the main theme for the rest of the year.

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Class #3 Oct. 2, 2019

After promising to be diligent about posting updates, I missed the very first class. Oh well. Here we go for last night’s class.

We had a pretty good class last night. Ms. Hanzel and I teamed up with Cindy LeMay and the sixth grade class for a “field trip” to the church.

Before we went, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. That was a bit of an eye opener. I think one focus of our instruction this year will be on memorizing some of the basic prayers.

Mrs. LeMay lead a tour of the stained glass windows. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the students picked out images that I had difficulty seeing. Did you know the windows on the left represent stories from the Old Testament, while those on the right are from the New Testament? I didn’t.

Mrs. LeMay also prepared a “scavenger hunt.” She had a sheet with cryptic questions about various objects in the church. The students had to find or answer them. The class really got into it although they were mostly asking the teachers for the answers. We preserved their answer sheets and plan to go over the questions and answers in next week’s class.

 

 

Class #1 Sept. 18, 2019

Hello 5th grade CCD parents!

Mrs. Hanzel and I are looking forward to teaching your child’s CCD class on Wednesday evenings.

The 5th grade curriculum will focus on the liturgy and the sacraments. While we have some material we need to cover, including some memorization, we also hope to make the short time we will spend together rewarding and enjoyable for your child. We have been asked to emphasize some “back to basics.” So we will be making a strong effort to make sure the children know and understand some of our most commonly used prayers. We will focus hard on one and, then, after several weeks move on to another. You can help us by working on this at home with prayers before bed and so on.

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.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please understand we 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.

Since the Mass is the center point of our faith, we have also been asked to strongly encourage attendance at Sunday Mass. (And since 5th graders are reliant on their parents to take them to Mass, this falls on you.)

OUR EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR CHILD

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.”

Rule #3 can sometimes become an issue. We don’t expect our students to sit quietly with their hands folded on their desk; we don’t want them to do so. We encourage them to be enthusiastic, active and engaged. However, we have a fairly low tolerance for behavior that is overtly disruptive. We try to plan activities that will engage and interest the class, but that only works if the students are at least slightly cooperative.

You are most welcome to sit-in on the class at any time, and we encourage you to do so.

THE CLASS WEBSITE

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

https://stpeterccdgrade5.wordpress.com/

The summaries of past years’ classes are there on the site, so if you would like to get an idea of what is ahead, you can look backwards and see. Please note, for the 2016-17 year, I taught sixth grade so the website reflects that. However, the summaries for other years are all 5th grade.

OTHER STUFF

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.

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. Hanzel or myself for any reason.

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

Deb Hanzel
Home: 706-338-4579
hanzeldeb [at] gmail.com

All the best,

Mike Sullivan

This was our second to the last class for the CCD year. We are charging towards the finish line.

We opened the class with a short review of last week’s lesson on the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Then we moved on to the main topic of the class, the Sacrament of Matrimony, including the outlines of a Catholic marriage and family. Sometimes this can be a sensitive subject, so we started off with a warning. I don’t know the details of all our students’ families, and don’t really need to. However, it is quite likely there are students in our class who have experienced divorces and/or other unusual family situations, with their parents or other members of their family. I emphasized that while we would be teaching the Church’s position on marriage, the students should not take anything as a criticism or judgment on any particular people or situations.

Some of the key points we discussed were:

— Jesus thought enough of the importance of marriage to perform his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.

— 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.

— 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.

— While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them.

— 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 difference between a civil marriage and a religious marriage. A wedding before a judge may cover the legal aspects of marriage, but is very different than a religious marriage, where two people stand before God and promise to maintain a life-long commitment. A Catholic marriage covers both the civil and religious aspects. We were asked whether you could have a civil wedding and then later have a religious wedding. We gave several examples of how this happens.

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 introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

Next week will be the final CCD class session. Monsignor Costigan will be a guest speaker to talk about his life as a priest. We will have a pizza snack and drinks.

We are in the home stretch of the CCD year, with just two more classes left on the schedule. Last night, we started with a review of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, just to solidify (hopefully) some of the key concepts. Then we moved on to the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (Ch 18).

We hit several key points.

The Sacrament has evolved over the years from when it was called “Last Rites” and was administered only to those on death’s door.

Anyone can receive the Sacrament, if they are seriously ill, facing surgery or other health issue

It can be received more than once.

The purpose of the Sacrament is to heal the recipient spiritually, not necessarily physically. Although, we did discuss the frequent link between mental and emotional health, and physical health. For example, we hear about people who just “worry themselves sick.”

The Sacrament is frequently combined with Reconciliation and the Eucharist. When a person is near death, he/she may be given a tiny piece of the Eucharist called “viaticum” (provisions for the road or journey).

We took a big chance and allowed the students to break into teams of three and role-play the administration of the Sacrament. I had a small amount of vegetable oil to use for the anointing. The two teams of girls did great. I had to sideline he three guys because they were cutting the fool and not listening. I guess they got the message, because they settled down and, after cooling their heels for a few minutes, I allowed them to continue with the exercise.

Our next class will focus on the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is usually a fairly interesting class. We’ll finish up on April 17 with a visit from Monsignor Costigan, and maybe some pizza to celebrate the completion of another year.

Spring is in the air, and the natives are restless. Our lesson and a role playing exercise, which has done very well in past years, wasn’t quite as successful as we hoped, because some of our guys were a little rowdy.

We tackled the concept of forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Penance or Confession.)

We covered the four steps of forgiveness and the way the process evolves, whether between friends or between a person and God (Penance.)

Admission of wrongdoing / Confess sins
Expression of sorrow or regret / Act of Contrition
Forgiveness by the injured party / Absolution
Some form of making things whole / Penance

To bring the concept to life, we divided the class into pairs. We asked each pair of students to come up with a scenario or story of why one of the two was angry with the other. We then attempted to interview each pair, discover why they had a rift and walk them through the forgiveness process. I would grade the exercise as a D+ or a C-. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it did not go smoothly.

We moved on to discuss a number of other concepts.

– The seal of the confessional. The priest must not disclose anything you confess.

– The priest is an intermediary between you and God.

— No sin is too great that it cannot be forgiven.

Mrs. Hanzel took over the second half of the class. She covered how the students should examine thei4r conscience before going to Confession. We also reviewed the mechanics of the Sacrament, and demonstrated a few examples. We provided the students with several aids, including an “Examination of Conscience for Children” and a step-by-step “cheat sheet” for Confession, including one version of the Act of Contrition. We collected them back and will redistribute them next week. (See below.)

There will be no class this week because of public schools’ spring break. Next Wednesday (March 27), we will have a Penance Service in the church for all the CCD classes, which is why we spent so much effort last week. Families are welcome to join in the Penance Service. Please bring your child to the classroom. We will meet there and walk over to the church together.

We had another good class last night. Mrs. Hanzel took half the lesson and did a great job.

In the first half of the class period, we finished up the exercise on the Commandments we began last week. The class was broken into groups of two or three and asked to come up with a list of commandments that were appropriate and relevant to fifth graders. The students really got into the exercise. They presented their results and they were great.

Mrs. Hanzel then took the lead and presented a lesson on the season of Lent. We started by showing a video which you can watch here.

The audio was not very strong, so we told the class they needed to be quiet and to listen carefully. They must have been interested because we didn’t hear a peep. Mrs. Hanzel then passed out a Lent questionnaire and a graphic drawing showing a path through the six weeks of Lent, and we talked about it.

Important note: We will have no class for the next two weeks. Here is what the rest of the year looks like.

February 27 – No class due to First Penance

March 6 – Ash Wednesday. Mass and distribution of ashes for your family at 7 pm.

March 13 – We will cover the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

March 20 – No class. SCCPSS spring break

March 27 — Penance Service in the church. Students should report to the classroom.

April 3 – We will cover the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

April 10 – We will cover the Sacrament of Matrimony

April 17 – THIS IS THE LAST CLASS. We will cover the Sacrament of Holy Orders, most likely with a guest speaker.