Archive for November, 2013

We had a very nice Advent program last night. Most of our parents were there. Thanks for coming and participating!

We will have no CCD class next week, November 27, since it is the day before Thanksgiving. We’ll be back the following week, December 4.

When we meet again, I will be getting things organized for the Christmas pageant, including polling the class to see who wants to be a reader/narrator for the two productions. The key question is “Which students will be available to participate in the program at 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve?” We know parents control the answer to that question. So, please, shoot me an email, reply to this posting or send me a note to let me know if I can include your child in the lineup for that program. If not, we’ll just assign him/her solely to the first program which will be presented during the regular CCD class time slot on Wednesday, December 18.

And one last detail. In last week’s posting, I mentioned there will probably be a Saturday morning rehearsal for the pageant. Now I know, it will be held on Saturday, December 14, from 9:30-11 am in the church. We would like all our readers to be there, but it’s not a deal-breaker if your family has other commitments for that morning. Keep me informed and we’ll work with you.

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There are several important items for parents to be aware. Our regular schedule will be all turned around until after the Christmas holiday break.

The CCD next week (Wednesday, November 20) will be an Advent family program for all grades, parents, siblings, etc. in the Parish Center.  Please join us with your entire family.

There will be no CCD class during Thanksgiving week (November 27).

Our class will meet as usual the first two weeks in December (Dec 4 and 11), but our activity will be focused mostly on preparation for the Christmas Pageant program. See more on that below.

The program for last CCD Wednesday before the Christmas break (Dec 18) will be a Christmas Pageant in the church. Again, we hope you can attend with your entire family. See below.

The Christmas Pageant

For the second year, the fifth grade has been asked to provide the narrators/readers for the Christmas Pageant. We hope everyone in the class can participate in one or both of the presentations. The pageant will be presented twice, once during the regular CCD class time on Wednesday, December 18, and once during the 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve.

We will have rehearsals during the regular CCD class session on Dec 4 and 11. We will also PROBABLY have a Saturday morning rehearsal, most likely on Saturday, December 14. Exact details on the Saturday session TBA.

We hope all our students would like to participate, but it is not mandatory. We won’t force anyone to get up and read in the church if they really don’t want to do so. For anyone who does not want to read, we will assign them a non-speaking role in the production.

We have 13 students and nine reader roles. So, if things go well, we will have slot for everyone to read at least once, and some students to read in both productions. I will be asking the students for volunteers at the class session after Thanksgiving.

VERY IMPORTANT!!! —  Parents, we will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your child will be available to participate on December 18, during the regular class time. However, the program at 4 pm Mass on December 24 is much more uncertain. We know alternate family plans may prevent your child from participating. Please let me know via email, telephone or note if your child will be able to be part of the Christmas Eve Mass program. We can divvy up the roles and, hopefully, satisfy everyone, if we know what we are working with.

Call or email with any questions. Contact info under the “About” tab at the top of this page.


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Sorry for being a day late on posting this summary. Yesterday was just busy.

We had a good class session Wednesday evening. The subject was the second half of our examination of the Mass. But first we reviewed some of last week’s material. We covered the Opening Rites and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, focusing on the three readings and the responsorial psalms.

Last week we asked everyone to go home and look up the meaning of the word “psalm.” An extra cookie was promised as a reward to anyone who got it right. Some students did the assignment, and some did not. In the confusion of extracting the answers, I lost track of who had the correct answer and who did not. We gave everyone an extra cookie, which was probably a bad idea. Mrs. R said she knew who had the answers and who did not. I probably should have listened to her.

By the way, “psalm” originally meant a musical piece played by a stringed instrument. We accepted “song” or anything close to that.

We had the students read to themselves the section in the text that covered the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites. We handed out a sheet with four questions on it. They were to answer the questions based on the information they read in the text. Then we discussed.

We finished by discussing the closing blessing, typically something like, “The Mass is ended, go forth and serve the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We talked about the idea that the blessing is really a set of marching orders, to take the spirit of the Mass and carry it with us throughout the week. We broke the class into groups of two or three and asked them to brainstorm ways they could serve God and their neighbors during the rest of the day and week.

When we asked the first group what they had come up with, they asked if they could present it as a charade. With most of my past classes, that would have been a non-starter. However, with this class I thought it was worth a shot. In fact, it worked out just great, so much so they all wanted to go around a second or third time.

We finished off with some important announcements, which are in a separate posting. Please take note of these.

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Last night, we tackled he second of our two lessons on the Eucharist.  Actually, we didn’t finish up, so we’ll close it out next week. The basic idea of last night’s lesson was to walk the class through the Mass, explaining the structure, prayers, etc.

Last week, 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 read our way through Chapter 11 in the text, covering the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. That opened the discussion to about a million questions.  We made a point of trying to extract most of the answers from the class, rather than simply answering them ourselves.

We broke off the Q&A, promising to get back to it next week, because I really wanted to introduce the students to the missalette. We borrowed some from the church for this purpose. We gave the student some basic instructions about how to use the missalette to follow along with the Mass. I’m not sure we made a real strong impression with this part of the lesson. The groundwork is there, but it’s not real deep. I encourage parents to work with your child the next few times you attend Mass to show him/her how to use the missalette.  They will get a lot more out of Mass if they have some idea of what is happening.

Next week, we will finish up on the Mass and, if we have time, probably do something with the liturgical year or advent. It all depends on the volume of questions. I don’t say that in a negative sense. Given the choice between introducing a new lesson and directing a discussion that interests the students, we’ll go with the discussion every time. If the class is engaged and interested in a discussion, they will get more out of it. And it’s more fun.

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