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Archive for February, 2017

This week’s class worked out well. The material wasn’t fascinating, but the students were engaged, and we had a good discussion.

We started off with a guest speaker, Dick Lee from St. James parish. Dr. Lee works with me at Skidaway Institute. He also runs the Serra Club vocations essay contest for seventh graders. He was at St. Peters to give a check and certificate to Maddie Conn for third place in the diocese-wide CCD division. Since Dr. Lee knew I teach sixth grade, he asked me if he could stop by for a few minutes and promote the essay contest to the students who will be eligible to participate next fall.  Dr. Lee talked about vocations and the essay contest for about ten minutes and then turned the class back over to us.

Our faith assessment quiz this week dealt with the Church’s structure. There were a couple of questions about the pope, and then a match-quiz exercise on the meaning of various church terms, like ecumenism, infallibility, diocese, deanery, etc. The full list can be found on the parish web site.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-11-church-leadership-structure/

During the course of our discussion, we spent some time talking about Pope Francis. Most of the class did not know he is a Jesuit, or what a Jesuit is, or even what a religious order is, so we talked about religious orders for a while. I was a little surprised that no one could name the two prominent religious orders in Savannah, even when I hinted there was school named after one of them. They are, of course, the Benedictines (Order of St. Benedict) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

When we discussed the match-game (Match the term in one column with the explanation in the other column.), they redeemed themselves. Many were able to match the term with the definition, or at least come close (eg: diocese vs. archdiocese or dogma vs. infallibility).

It doesn’t sound very excited, but the students were engaged and asked a lot of questions.

We finished up with an eight minute video on the life and background of Pope Francis.

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It was a bit of an odd class last night. We had only four students, but we didn’t generate a lot of energy so it seemed like an uphill struggle. We seem to go through this about this time every year — the mid-winter CCD blahs. I need to be a little more creative next week to promote better engagement.

We wanted to finish off last week’s lesson that we didn’t complete, and also to fill in some gaps that became evident in our discussion last week. Last week, most of the students had difficulty identifying and explaining the two parts of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We started by reviewing the order of the Mass. We pointed out that structurally, the Mass is a lot like going to a friend’s house for dinner with your family. You greet. You talk and listen. You bring a gift. You help prepare the meal. And then you have a meal. We distributed missalettes along with a worksheet. The idea was to find the answers on the worksheet by looking them up in the missalette. For example, “What is the first reading this Sunday?”

We then worked our way through the Holy Days of Obligation and other Church holy days, like Ash Wednesday. At this point, the students’ eyes were starting to glaze over. So we took a break and played several short videos on the Liturgical Year and Holy Days of Obligation.

Next week we are going to cover the structure of the Catholic Church and touch a little on the Bible.

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We continued our trek through the elements of the Catholic faith as detailed in the parish’s “Faith Assessment.” Last night’s subject was liturgical celebrations. We covered such things as the two parts of the Mass, the liturgical year, holy days of obligations, etc. You can take a look at the material — questions AND answers on the parish Web site here.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-10-liturgical-celebrations/

Many of these were “head scratchers” for our students. This surprised me a little, because I know they have been exposed to this material in the past. We taught some of it during the fifth grade year we shared. I really didn’t expect anyone to have trouble identifying Ash Wednesday, for instance.  That’s all the more reason Mrs. Rudolphi and I try to find ways to make the material we teach “stick” with the students after they walk out the door. Sometimes we are more successful than others, I guess.

Monsignor Costigan paid us a visit, which is always interesting. He quizzed the class on some of the Church’s holy days. We called him back in a few minutes later, when we had a question about the Paschal Candle. I thought it was at the front of the church, but one of our students, an altar server was sure it was at the back. Monsignor Costigan cleared that up and we were both right. The Paschal Candle is beside the altar during Easter Season and then moves to the back of the church for the rest of the year. I really should pay closer attention.

We finished up a little early so the students could visit the book fair. Next week, we will finish up on the liturgical celebrations and maybe get into the Church’s leadership and structure.

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