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Archive for April, 2013

Our final class of the CCD year will be this evening. Where has the time gone? However, when I look back at some of my posts from last fall, it seems like eons ago.

We are not going to try to teach a normal lesson tonight. We’ll have a snack of pizza and drinks, and probably a “quiz bowl” to see if our students actually remember anything we have been teaching. Should be fun!

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Last night was our second-to-last CCD class for the year and the last one during which we will try to teach a serious lesson. Spring fever is certainly upon us. The students were all hovering about six inches over their seats when we began class. Lots of energy!

As expected, we had a pretty interesting discussion. Last week, we discussed the Ten Commandments in general and the first commandment in detail. Last night, we went over the final nine commandments. There were lots of questions and plenty of discussion. Among the points we discussed were:

— Don’t use the name of God improperly, through exclamations, cursing and so on.

— Why Catholics celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday rather than the “seventh day,” and our obligations to honor the Sabbath, such as attending Mass.

— The fourth commandment to honor your father and mother is intended for all ages, not just children. It’s easy to honor your parents when you are a child and are dependent on them. However, God wants us to honor our parents, especially when they are old and they are dependent upon us.

— “You shall not kill” raised a ton of questions, including war, accidents and suicide. We could have spent all night talking about the morality of military combat, but we didn’t have that much time. We simply pointed out that while God hates war, sometimes a justified war is better than the alternative.

Accidents are not considered a sin. However, someone who kills another in a car “accident” would certainly have some responsibility if they had been drinking, using drugs, driving recklessly, etc.

We discussed the Church’s teaching that suicide is a mortal sin. While many of the students believed their life belongs only to hem, we pointed out that their life is a gift from God, and so for someone to take their own life would be taking something that belongs to God. We did discuss two important related points.

1.) Many people who commit suicide are mentally impaired and may not be responsible for their actions.

2.) Only God knows if the person may have repented and asked for forgiveness at the last moment.

Because of these points, we emphasized that they should never judge what might have happened if they hear about a suicide.

— The commandment prohibiting adultery raised some questions, mostly “What is adultery?” (Of course, one of those questions came after we had just spent ten minutes explaining and discussing it. Thank you for paying attention.) We referred back to our discussion of marital fidelity when we covered Matrimony, and the importance of keeping marriage vows to be faithful.

–“You shall not steal” was pretty straight-forward. The class understood it right off and we didn’t have much discussion.

–The prohibition against false witness raised some questions. We tried to relate the concept to 5th grade lives by talking about gossip and rumors, which they seemed to understand.

— The ninth and tenth commandments prohibit coveting your neighbors wife (or husband) and anything that belongs to your neighbor. “Covet” was a new concept to most of the class. We said that while it is OK to admire something that belongs to another person. It is wrong to want it so badly they would be willing to steal it or do something else wrong to obtain it.  We related the same concept to a married couple. While the sixth commandment obliges a married couple to be faithful to each other, the ninth commandment prohibits a third person from trying to interfere in the couple’s relationship. At their age, the students didn’t seem to understand why someone would do such a thing. Mrs. Rudolphi and I assured them that while this may be a foreign concept to them now, as they grow older they will see that it is not as uncommon as they might think.

Next week will be our last class. We are going to do something special. I’m just not sure exactly what that will be.

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Wow! Spring is in the air; the weather is nice; the end of the CCD year is in sight; and attention spans are dropping to goldfish level. We had a pretty good class last night, but Mrs. Rudolphi and I had to work for it.

We started off by covering the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This may not be the most exciting topic, so we whipped through it fairly quickly. We spent some time talking about the jobs of bishop, priests and deacons and what they entailed. I was somewhat surprised to learn that about half the class thought “Monsignor” was Monsignor Costigan’s first name. Huh?

We shifted gears to start our discussion of the Ten Commandments. In past years, this has been one of the best lessons of the year. There is lots of opportunity for discussion and questions.

We set the scene for how God relayed the commandments to Moses, and had volunteers read aloud the commandments from Exodus 20.

We pointed out that while these commandments are fairly short, there is a much larger body of work that expounds on and details the concepts they present.  Specifically, we mentioned the remainder of the first five books of the Bible, and the Jewish Talmud.

We distributed a chart that demonstrated how different religious count the commandments differently. For example, most American Protestant churches divide the Catholic first commandment (“I am the Lord your God…”) into two separate commandments. On the other hand, they combine the Catholic ninth and tenth commandments (coveting your neighbor’s wife and coveting your neighbor’s goods) into one, so it still works out to a total of ten.

We then got into a discussion of the first commandment which prohibits the worship of false gods. We talked about the concept of false gods in the time of Moses, and then asked “What are some false gods people worship today?” In other words, what are some of the things in today’s society that people can think are more important than God? The class picked up on this very quickly (Yea!), and started naming things like celebrities, entertainment (video games), money, fame, popularity, and so on. We emphasized the concept that the importance of any of these things can grow out of reason and assume the stature of a “false god.” Anything that comes between them and God can be a false god. We mentioned that as they grow into adults, they may know people or even be tempted themselves, by issues like gambling, drugs, alcohol and sex.

Next week, we will go through the remaining nine commandments and try to relate them to a 5th grader’s experience.  It should be interesting. Parents are invited to sit in.

Our last class will be April 24. While I doubt we will try to teach a normal lesson that night, we’ll have some activity planned that will put a closure on the year.

 

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