Archive for September, 2011

Good class last night. My compliments to the parents. Right now, this is looking like a great group of kids.

Father John stopped by again. Apparently this will be a regular, or at least frequent, practice. This is great. He can provide some insight where Mrs. Rudolphi or I may be lacking.  Also, it gives the CCD students the opportunity to interact with a priest outside of Mass or confession. Otherwise, they don’t have as much opportunity to do so as do the students who go to Catholic schools. He talked a little about the Kingdom of God (which I was trying to explain at the time he walked in.) He also asked the students if they knew what feast today (Thursday) was going to be. To be honest, I had no clue myself. However, it is the feast of angels. That prompted a discussion of the nature of angels, famous angels, guardian angels and so on.

During the remainder of the class, we hit several topics.

We reviewed the concept of the Holy Trinity.

We reemphasized the lesson from last week that Jesus showed us how to live our lives by the way he lived his own life, especially in the way he treated other people. We talked about that Jesus was both God and man, and as a man went through all same experiences we all do. We challenged the students to come up with some specific examples of things they could do this week to follow Jesus’s example, especially in the area of embracing all people. You may wish to follow up on this with your child to see what they offered, and how they are doing on it.

One student asked if Jesus ever got married. We said he did not, which prompted a discussion of “why?” There were some interesting speculations.

We talked a little about the differences between disciples (all followers) and apostles (only the first 13, counting Judas and Mathias.) We also discussed the concept of a parable and why Jesus used parables as a teaching tool.

We left them with a homework assignment – to read Chapter One of the Gospel of Matthew.  Please help us by prompting your child to do so. We’ll discuss it briefly in class next week.

See ya then!

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Sorry. After all the buildup about this site, I’m afraid I didn’t post anything last week. a

a. ) I left for an out of town trip very early Thursday morning and did not have internet access until Monday night.

b.) We really didn’t do anything except organizational issues. Altar server coordinator Irene Nave stopped by to talk to the students about becoming altar servers.

We got things started off quickly last night.

After six years of teaching this class from the same book, we changed to a different publisher this year, so Mrs. Rudolphi and I will be feeling our way a little.

After an opening prayer, we started with the first of our “We Believe” statements – “Jesus is the Son of God.” We read the story of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River and the appearance of God in all three persons of the Holy Trinity. This got us discussing the concept of the Trinity. We discussed that the concept is a mystery that we can never fully comprehend. We presented several explanations with the idea that they may get close to the truth of the Trinity, but not fully explain it. This included the famous St. Patrick’s explanation of the shamrock.

One student said he always thought of the Trinity as being like a sandwich – one sandwich with several ingredients. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the Trinity described as a sandwich, but I thought it was extremely insightful.

About that time, Father John stopped by to meet the class. He talked about the altar service. He also gave the students some additional thoughts on the Trinity. They had lots of questions.

When Fr. John left, we only had about ten minutes left in the class. We quickly covered our second major point to this chapter – “Jesus shows us God’s love.”  Jesus showed us how to live our lives by the way he lived his. The textbook referenced the story of Jesus healing the blind begger. Through this story, we explained that Jesus did not associate with the rich and powerful of his time. He befriended the poor and the outcasts.

I tried to turn that into a lesson the students could take home with them, by talking about the dynamics in most groups of 5th graders. In any class, there are typically some popular kids and also some less popular. While most kids would like to be part of the popular crowd, that is not what Jesus would want us to do. Our students could follow Jesus by being kind to and befriending all the kids in their class or school, not just the “cool” or popular ones. We didn’t have enough time to really talk about this, so I’m not sure how well that concept was received.

Next week, we’ll do a short review of last night’s material, and then finish up the chapter. The session should be more discussion and activity focused.

At the end of class, one of our students asked if she could address the class. She told her fellow students that she and her mother would be conducting a food drive close to Thanksgiving and asked them to contribute. We’ll be back with you with more specifics as they become available.

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Hello, parents!

Mrs. Rudolphi 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 to cover, including some memorization, we also hope to make the short time we will spend together rewarding and enjoyable for your child.

For the first time in several years, we have a new textbook and curriculum.  However, the general subject matter appears to be pretty-much the same.

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.

We are going to add one activity this week that will involve at-home activity.  Our past experience has shown that many of our students have very little knowledge of some of the basic stories of the life of Christ. So this year, we are going to assign the students to read the Gospel of Matthew. We’ll advance at roughly a chapter a week, starting with the Christmas story and ending with the resurrection. The plan is for them to read it at home, and we’ll review it during class. If you do not have a Bible at home, this might be a good time to go shopping. Also, we would appreciate any support and/or “prodding” you can provide on the home front.

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 easily 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 third year), I have created this blog/Web site.  I will try to keep it updated on a weekly basis with reports on the class activity and announcements.

I will leave 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.

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

Mike Sullivan

Home: 898-9448

Office: 598-2325

Cell: 484-2622


Shelly Rudolphi

Home: 897-9335


Here’s hoping we have a great year!

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