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Archive for December, 2010

CCD is back this Wednesday!  We will meet in the church for a Christmas program, to be followed by some sort of party.

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We started Wednesday’s class with a couple of timely subjects, Advent and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

We wished the class a very Happy New Year and asked if they had a New Year’s celebration last weekend. Naturally, they were very confused, but at least it got their attention. We talked about Advent marking the beginning of the Church year. We brainstormed for a few minutes about the meaning (preparation) of the season and ways they can prepare for Christmas, aside from drawing up lists of presents they want.

A question from one of the students got us off on the issue of the actual date of Christ’s birth. We talked about how an interpretation of the Gospel stories of the Nativity indicates Christ was probably born sometime in the spring, but in the early Christian times, no one really knew Jesus’s exact birthday. We pointed out that most early cultures had some sort of celebration during, what is now considered, late December. We brainstormed for some reasons for this. Eventually, we pulled out that December 21 (usually) is the shortest day of the year, and most cultures had some sort of festival to celebrate the days becoming longer. Early Christians tied a celebration of the birth of Christ to the Roman Saturnalia to co-opt an existing celebration.

I was a little surprised that none of the students had a clue what the Feast of the Immaculate Conception commemorates. I really thought a number of students would think that it commemorates the virgin birth of Jesus, but no one even had that (incorrect) idea. So we talked about how the feast commemorates the Church’s teaching that Mary was the only person, aside from Jesus himself, to be born without Original Sin.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation — next Wednesday, December 8. We will NOT have a regular class session on that day. Rather, we ask that parents bring your 5th graders and the rest of your family to Mass at 7 pm.

Back to the textbook, we read the story of Jesus meeting up with two of his disciples after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus. The disciples did not recognize him until they broke bread. Jesus talked to the disciples about how his death was part of God’s plan, as laid out in Holy Scripture. We made the connection between breaking bread in the Gospel story and the present-day Mass. This transitioned us to a discussion of the importance of Scripture.

We talked about how some fundamentalist Protestant religions believe almost exclusively in the Bible. However, in the Catholic Church, teachings come to us from both the Bible and the evolving traditions of the past 2,000 years.

We distributed Bibles to the class and had them turn to the index of books. We briefly gave an overview of the Old and New Testaments, and the different types of books included in each.

We finished off with the story of St. Jerome, who translated the Jewish and Greek texts of the Bible into Latin so it could be read by the common people of that time.

Before breaking, we issued a challenge. We challenged the students to read one complete book of the Bible between now and the first class in January. We suggested the Gospel of Matthew, since it is fairly straight forward and also fairly short. For any student who reads one of the books and can pass a simple comprehension quiz that proves they did so, we will have a simple prize. We would appreciate any support parents can provide to give their children a little “push.”

Upcoming weeks…

December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mass at 7 pm. (I’ll be sitting up front on the left (by the choir section), if anyone wants to join me.)

December 15 – Last CCD class of this calendar year. Students should report to the church for a special Christmas program. Parents and other siblings are welcome! There will be some type of Christmas party following the program. Details of the party are still in the works.

December 22 & 29 — Christmas break.

January 5, 2011 — Back in business.

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