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Archive for November, 2017

Last night’s class almost left the rails, but it turned out pretty well anyway.

We finished up the lesson on the Sacrament of Baptism. Most of the students returned their “homework,” where we asked them to ask their parents about the church where they were baptized, the priest and their godparents.

Father Kavanaugh stuck his head in for a few minutes and talked about Baptism.

We had the class read aloud one page of the text and had them answer a few questions. We then spent a few minutes talking about an emergency Baptism, in which anyone can perform the rite. (Typically this is most common when a person, like a newborn, is near death and there isn’t time for a priest to get to the scene.)

We then divided the class into two groups and assigned them to read and study the last two pages of the chapter, which describes the actual prayers and actions of a normal Baptism. And then they played it out. We provided a little water, oil, a candle and a white garment (t-shirt.) They really got into it, maybe a little too much.

We think they learned something. At least, when we did our end-of-class “what did you learn tonight” activity, they all were able to recite something quickly and without duplication.

I think I had the chance to speak to all the parents last night, but just to be safe, here are the plans for the Christmas pageant. Our class will provide the narrators. Two students do not want to read, so they will be assigned to play one of the characters. We will rehearse November 29 and Dec 6. The pageant will be held during the regular CCD class period on December 13. We may have a final “dress rehearsal” on Saturday morning, December 9. We’ll let you know. If your child is nervous about this, please assure him or her that Mrs. Rudolphi and I will get them “coached up” ahead of time and will be there to support them on the evening of the performance. We have done this for a number of years, and we haven’t lost anyone yet. Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if you have any questions.

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We had an interesting class Wednesday evening, even if it didn’t go as planned. The students were full of questions about the subject of the class, Baptism, so we went with the flow. If they are asking question, they are engaged, and that is the best. So we had a rather free-flowing discussion that covered a lot of ground.

For our pre-class exercise, we handed out a question sheet, and asked the students to answer some questions about themselves, like…

My name is:
I was born on:
I was baptized on:
At (church):
My Godparents are:

We were pretty sure there would be unanswered questions, so we asked them to take the sheet home with them and ask their parents for help. Parents – please ask your child about this.

We intended to cover the second of two chapters on Baptism, but wanted to backtrack and go over a handful of key points from the chapter we skipped. These included the purposes of Baptism.

Joins us with Christ
Brings us into the Church
Wipes us free from all sin

The last point prompted a lot of questions, particularly about the relationship between Baptism and Reconciliation. We also talked some about original sins; what happens to babies who die before being baptized; and the nature of Heaven. It was a pretty free-wheeling discussion, but all, more or less, on target.

We finally started into the chapter in the textbook. We had volunteers read the first page. We handed out a sheet with questions, the answers for which were contained in the text, and asked the students to locate and answer the questions.

1. Does everyone get baptized at the same age? (No)
2. What do we call adults or older children who are preparing for Baptism? (catechumens)
3. Who helps prepare people for Baptism? (the entire Church community)
4. What do Godparents do? (multiple answers)
5. What is the best day to be Baptized? (Sunday)

On the issue of godparents, we did make a distinction between what it means in the Church, as opposed to a common lay meaning. Outside the church godparents are often considered the intended guardians of a child if both parents should die. Within the Church, that may or may not be the case. We explained that frequently godparents are not a couple, and may be married to other people (eg: an aunt from one side of the family and an uncle from the other.) Within the Church, the godparents stand up for a child during the ceremony and answer questions in his or her place. They are also expected to be involved in the child’s life, especially their spiritual life.

We left the class with a small “homework” assignment. Before the next class, they are to find a way to shine the light of Christ they received at Baptism with some person or persons. Next week, we will ask them what they did. You may wish to remind your child of this.

Also, next week, we will finish off the chapter on Baptism and conduct a role-play where students will walk through a mock Baptism ceremony.

When I mentioned this to the class, several jumped in and asked “with a real baby?” We won’t do that next week, but that is something we have done in the past. Monsignor has presided over at least two real Baptisms, in church, with the family, but during a Wednesday evening CCD time slot. Usually, most if not all the other classes attend. Initially some were skeptical of this, but the two times we did it, it worked out great. Monsignor Costigan walked through the ceremony and explained the significance of each step. And the roughly 150 students present, were totally well behaved. The difficulty with doing this every year is finding a set of parents who are willing to have their child’s Baptism performed on a Wednesday evening. So parents – If you know of a family who should be having a child baptized between now and the end of April, and might be willing to be part of the program, please let me know.

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