Christmas Pageant

I would like to bring you up to speed on a couple of things. This post duplicates an email you should have received or will receive shortly.

First – No class next week, November 25, the night before Thanksgiving. That should be obvious, but just making sure everyone knows.

Second – The fifth grade class will be working with the third grade class (Mrs. Lynne Hogan) on the Christmas Pageant. The third grade provides the family, the sheep, the shepherds, etc. Our fifth graders will provide the readers. I would like to know by the next class (December 2) which of our students would like to be a reader. This is not mandatory. Any of the students who do not wish to read will be assigned to the “cast” as shepherds, or what-not.

The reading passages are both easy and fairly short, usually only 3-4 sentences. There are enough passages in the script that there is room for everyone in the class to have a role. If some students do not wish to read, I can consolidate or double-up the passages.

I will provide the students with their assigned passage during the next class. They would have plenty of time to prep it. I mention this because even students who are not strong readers can still participate and shine. We had one student several years ago who really wanted to be a part of the pageant, but was not a strong reader. She took her passage home and worked on it over and over until she had it memorized.  She did great and her family, and Mrs. Rudolphi and I were enormously happy for her.

This year, the pageant will be presented only once, in the church, during the regular CCD class time on December 16. Since we are not able to present at the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass, we are going to try to make the December 16 program a “parish event.”

We will rehearse during the regular CCD class time on December 2 & 9. We will have a final dress rehearsal on Saturday morning, December 12. I don’t have a time for that yet; it will probably be something like 9:30-11:00 am. I will let you know the exact time frame when I get it.

Several of our students have special circumstances. I don’t know of anything that would prevent them from participating if they wish.  Mrs. Rudolphi and I are pretty good “coaches” and will work with all the children to put them into a position where they can succeed.

Bottom line – Please talk with your child; see if they would like a “speaking role”; and let me know via email or phone by the next class.

Thank you in advance for your help.


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On Wednesday night, we completed our coverage of the Eucharist by focusing our efforts on the order of the Mass.

We began by re-emphasizing two important concepts from our last class two weeks ago. The first, and most important, is that Jesus Christ is truly present in for form of the bread and wine. The consecrated host and wine are not merely symbolic of Jesus, but he is actually present. The official term is “Real Presence.” We pointed to several symbols in the room, a crucifix, a flag and a statue of Mary, and talked about how these are not really Jesus, our country or the Blessed Mother. They are just symbols to remind us of them. However, when we participate in Holy Communion, we are actually bringing Jesus into us. The second concept is simply that the Mass and the Eucharist are synonymous. The entire purpose of the Mass is the Eucharist. One does not exist without the other.

In our last class, we explained that the first Eucharist was at the Last Supper, which was a traditional Jewish Seder meal. We continued the analogy of the Mass as a meal by comparing it to visiting another family for dinner — except, we are visiting God in his house. Typically, we would:

Greet the host and exchange pleasantries – Introductory Rites

Chat and visit – Liturgy of the Word

Bring a dish, bottle of wine, etc  — Offertory and Presentation of the Gifts

Help prepare the meal – Preparation of the Eucharist

Eat dinner – The Liturgy of the Eucharist

Say Good bye – Concluding Rites

We passed out a single-page outline of the Mass the students could take with them to Mass on Sunday to help them follow along.

We had volunteers read portions of the text dealing with Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. We then asked the students to pair-up with a partner and to read the page and a half of the text that covered the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We handed out a sheet with five questions, the answers for which could be found in the text. (basically one question for each paragraph) We asked them to work together to read the pages and to find the answers to the questions. When they were done, we discussed their answers.

As our final exercise, we distributed missalettes from the church and demonstrated how they could use one to follow what was happening during Mass.

And finally, as we usually do, we went around and asked each student what they learned that night. We handed out a colored-ink pen as a reward for an answer. Somewhat surprisingly, after all we had covered in the past hour, we had a little trouble extracting an answer from some students. But in the end, we got at least something out of each student and all went home with a new pen.


We will NOT have CCD class next Wednesday, November 11. The Confirmation Mass will be celebrated in the church that evening.  We’ll be back on November 18 for one class before the Thanksgiving break.

Well, we certainly had an unusual CCD session last night. As your child probably told you, the fire alarm in the school went off at around 6:35 pm. It turned out to be a problem with the alarm, but we reacted as if it might not be. We corralled the students and headed towards the front door. Mrs. Hubert directed us into the gymnasium. I think she didn’t want 150 children wandering around the parking lot in the dark. After a few minutes in the gym, we headed out again, this time for the church.

We remained there until about 7:05, listening to the eighth grade Confirmation class practicing their spiel about their Confirmation-saint. Our class may have found it interesting, because they sat quietly and were well behaved.

We got back to the school around 7:10 pm, clearly not enough time to cover a full lesson. After taking a moment to get a plan together, we decided to go ahead and begin our lesson on the Eucharist. Wherever we left off, we would just pick up again in the next class on November 18.

The text began with an account of the Last Supper. We talked a little about the original Passover in the Book of Exodus and the evolution of the Jewish Seder meal. The Last Supper was both a Seder meal, as well as the first Mass. In describing the Last Supper, we emphasized the passage that is paraphrased in the Consecration (“This is my body…etc.”) The students were able to identify the passage as something they had heard at Mass.

We spent a fair amount of time talking about the concept of Real Presence. That is, our belief as Catholics that Jesus Christ is truly present in the consecrated host and wine and that Communion is not just symbolic. We contrasted this to the “Communion” as practiced in some Protestant churches which is considered symbolic. We used a crucifix and a statue of Mary as examples of symbols.

We pointed out that the Eucharist is really the central element of the Catholic faith. However, a moment later, when I asked the class what they think is the most important Sacrament, the answers I received were Baptism and Confirmation. Oh well.

No class next week, November 11, due the Confirmation Mass being held at the Church. We’re back on November 18, where we will pick up and, hopefully, complete our coverage of the Eucharist and Mass.

How did I miss a blog entry last week?

Last Wednesday, we  picked up the exercise we did not finish the previous week. We broke the class into two groups and assigned each group a segment of the second chapter on Baptism. The boys who started prepping their lesson the previous week continued on the same segment. The rest of the class (the girls), concentrated on the third and fourth sections which dealt mostly with the actual Baptism ceremony. The assignment – work as a team to read and understand the section (2-4 paragraphs) and then teach that section to the rest of the class.

They did OK. I think the most memorable part of the experience for each of the groups was that we allowed them to “role play” a Baptism. This was the essential part of the girls’ assignment, but when they were done, we allowed the guys to act it out also.  We provided water, oil, a white garment and a candle. The groups self-assigned their roles as the narrator, priest, the one to be baptized and the godparents. No water fights. No spilled oil. No fire. Victory!

We had a very small turnout last week, only six students.

e dove into our lesson on the Sacrament of Baptism. We started with a discussion on some of the key elements of the Sacrament. Mostly this was just me talking with the class, which I prefer not to do, but we had some key points to cover. In the text, Baptism is covered in two chapters. We jumped straight to the second chapter, so we had some back filling to do.

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.

We then divided the class into two groups (3 boys and 3 girls — their choice.) We asked each group word together to read and understand one of the first two sections of the chapter. (Each chapter is divided into four one-page sections.) Then they should teach what they learned to the rest of the class. We provide them with a sheet of questions to be found in the text that highlight the key points they should be prepared to cover. When it was all said and done, we only had time for the girls to make their presentation. They did OK. This was the first time we have attempted this with this class, so it was about what I expected.

This week, we plan to do the same with the group of boys who did not present last week, and also add on the second half of the chapter. We will give each group the opportunity to role-play and actually act out a Baptism, complete with water, oil, candle and white garment. We did this last year, and it actually worked out fairly well. So, hopefully, Wednesday’s class will be interesting.

My apologies for such a late posting. Life has been very busy. But I thought I should get something posted before tonight’s class makes it obsolete.

We started off with a review of the Sept 30 class which began our shallow overview of the Sacraments, with a focus on the Sacraments of Initiation. I would like to tell you the students absorbed and recalled everything we had discussed, but that was not he case. So on October 13, we picked up where we left off and covered the  Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) and the Sacraments of Service (Matrimony and Holy Orders.) We asked them to work with a partner to read the text passages on these sets of Sacraments and to underline some key concepts. We discussed it. The students then completed a part of the chapter-end exercise, which we then discussed also.

Tonight we will cover Baptism which may take two weeks. We’ll see how it goes.



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