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Archive for January, 2020

We continued our coverage of the Sacrament of Baptism. We emphasized that everyone is called to be baptized. And a Baptism in another Christian church is usually accepted by the Church. We then had volunteers read the first page of Ch 5 in the textbook. We had written questions on the white board for them to find answers in the text which we discussed.

  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. I am not sure even broaching this topic was a great idea. It caused quite a bit of confusion and questions along the lines of “What happens if my parents die and….?”

Then we came to the fun (risky) part of the lesson. We divided the class into three groups of three and had them role-play a Baptism. One student was the priest, one the catechumen and one the godparent. We had water, but didn’t have oil, a white garment or a candle – the four symbols of the Sacrament – so we faked those. We gave them a few minutes to prepare and then had them walk through the process. I let the “priest” say the prayers and anoint with make believe oil, and dribbled the water.

The exercise did not go totally off the rails. It actually went fairly well. The students really got into it. Hopefully, by acting out the Sacrament, they may actually remember it.

This week, we will start our coverage of the Eucharist and the Mass.

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We barreled into our first class of 2020 full throttle. Between all the holidays, Penance service and the Christmas pageant, it’s been nearly two months since our last “regular” class session.

Our topic was the first of two classes on Baptism (Ch 4 in the text.) We started off with a short video that provided a broad overview of the Sacrament. You can view it here.

One element that was in the video but not in the rest of our lesson was that the Church recognizes the baptisms from most other Christian denominations. We discussed this.

We then asked the students to read page 44 and highlight key points. These included:

  • Baptism is the foundation of Christian life.
  • Baptism frees us from past sins. We discussed infant Baptism.
  • Through Baptism we establish a connection with God and become a part of the Church.

Volunteers read page 45 aloud. It presented the concepts of original sin (which we did not do a very good job explaining), incarnation and salvation. We emphasized that the Sacrament of Baptism opens the path for us to have a relationship with God.

We finished up with a game of “hangman” using words from the lesson. The students really got into this, so we will do it again in the future.

Next week, we hope to finish up our coverage of Baptism, with more on the specifics of the sacrament, and some role playing.

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