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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

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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This will be a short entry, as there isn’t much to say that I haven’t already said. Last night, we had our second rehearsal for the Dec. 18 Christmas Pageant. We have ten students who are narrators and four who are shepherds, angels or biblical royalty.

No class next week for Thanksgiving.

The parish Advent Penance Service will be held on Dec. 4 at 6:30 pm. (That is the correct time.) Please, come with your child(ren). If you want to sit with us, Mrs. Hanzel and I will be up near the choir. Last night, we did spend a few minutes going over the procedure for a confession. I distributed some “cheat sheets” with the step-by-step process and the Act of Contrition. I collected them back,however, and will bring them on Dec 4.

Dress rehearsal will be Dec. 11. Drop off and pick up at the church.

Christmas Pageant on Dec. 18. Please have your child at the church by 6:15 at the absolute latest. Students coming in late and sliding in under the tag just causes chaos for all of us, including the other students.

Mrs. Hanzel and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and we’ll see you in two weeks.

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We started rehearsals for the CCD Christmas Pageant last night. Before we did that, however, Mrs. Hanzel had a short quiz on the material about the sacraments we have been discussing for the past several weeks. We were a little disappointed about the poor retention. We were somewhat surprised at how many of the students could not name either one of the two priests at our church. (“I don’t know who they are because I don’t ever go to church.” What? Seriously!)

As in year past, we are providing the narrators for the presentation while the third grade provides the “actors.” We have nine or ten speaking parts depending on how we divide it up. Last night we had eight volunteers to read and two who preferred to abstain. There were four students absent last night. I suspect we will pick up one or two readers from that group next week.

The class did very well. We have a few who need to speak up, but generally they did well. And they were so well behaved that Mary Zimmer, the music director who was preparing for choir practice, came over to compliment them.

So here is what our schedule looks like for the next few weeks.

11/20 – Drop off and pick up at the church.

11/27 – No Class

12/4 – Parish Penance Service. Attend with family.

12/11 – Dress rehearsal. Drop off and pick up at the church.

12/18 – Christmas Pageant. Please have your student at the church no later than 6:15 pm.

12/25 and 1/1 –No class

1/8/2020 – Back to work.

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I skipped last week’s summary, but it was real simple. Mrs. Hanzel taught a lesson on the rosary, and we prayed a decade. Had a wide ranging discussion and answered a lot of questions.

Last night, we had a combination class. For the first half of the class period, we discussed the church/liturgical calendar and the seasons (Lent, Advent, etc.) We compared it to other ways of tracking the year, such as the calendar year, a school year, sports seasons and so on. We emphasized the Easter Triduum (three days) which lasts from Holy Thursday evening to Easter evening. The events of these three days are the basis of the Christian/Catholic religion and without those events, we would not be Christian. We also discussed how and why Easter moves around on the calendar.

During the second half of the class we had a quiz bowl. The idea was to challenge the students to try to recall what we have been teaching, and hopefully reinforce some of those lessons. Mrs. Hanzel divided the class randomly into three teams (3-3-4). I had prepared a bunch of questions on slips of paper, which each team pulled out of a bowl. Some of the questions were real easy and some were tougher. Not surprisingly, there were some serous “duh” moments. We also had some pleasant surprises. On at least two occasions a team answered with a response I wasn’t looking for, but was also correct. Although he teams were picked randomly, one team consisted of three of our four boys. They cleaned up and won by a wide margin.

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What happened to last week’s class? I would have sworn I had posted a report.

In any case, we began our coverage of the sacraments with a lesson that summarized he concept and lightly touched on each one. We started by handing out a work sheet with two columns, labeled…

Sacraments I have received

Sacraments I expect to receive at some time

We asked them to fill in the boxes based on their own experience. We used this as a springboard to explain each sacrament. This began a wide ranging discussion with many, many questions that dealt with the sacraments and other religious and church-related issues. It was a fun exchange.

Last night we finished up our overview of the seven sacraments. We have noticed we spend a lot of time simply on vocabulary. On every page of the text, there are important concepts described in words most, if not all of the class simply don’t understand. Last night, I was thinking of words like reconciliation, reconcile, sanctifying and initiation.

We had the class read page 36 of the text to themselves, while looking for the answers to three questions. We then discussed them.

What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Many good answers)

What is the greatest gift of God’s love? (Jesus)

What is sanctifying grace?

This led to a good discussion of grace. Most had just a scant understanding, and the definition in the book didn’t help much. We explained grace as simply being God’s love for them. To bring it to life, we asked if there were times that they felt their parents love more than others. Many good answers, like hugs, comforting moments, and so on. We used this concept to explain that the Sacraments are God’s way of transmitting his love to us, just like a parent transmits his or her love through a hug or a kiss.

We showed the class that the sacraments are divided into three categories.

Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) We discussed how Baptism begins us on our journey; Confirmation firms our resolve; and Eucharist recharges our spiritual batteries whenever we partake in the Sacrament.)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick) We discussed how God’s love, transmitted through the sacraments have a spiritually healing effect.)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony) We discussed how each sacrament involves service. At one point in the discussion of Holy Orders, we talked about bishops, priests and deacons. In describing what deacons could do, one student asked if they could perform exorcisms. Where did that come from? The question was an honest one, but I was not prepared to answer it. I don’t know anything about exorcisms except what I see in movies. I kicked that can down the road until either Father Kavanaugh or Monsignor Costigan pay us a visit.

We finished up with the end of the chapter exercise, a combination of T-F questions and matching columns. We used the ensuing discussion as our “what did you learn tonight?” exercise and rewarded the students with a cookie.

Next week, Mrs. Hanzel will be introducing the class to the Rosary.

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We had a lively class last night. And that’s not “code” for ill behaved. The group was just energetic.

We started with a follow up to our tour of the church last week. Ms. Hanzel distributed a pre-class exercise that asked the students to match various items in a drawing of the interior of a church to a list of common things, like an altar, pews, etc. After the students worked on it on their own, we went over it. Most of the class were successful with most of the questions. We then redistributed the scavenger hunt sheets that had riddles about objects in the church. Some of the riddles were a little “out there” but, again, the students did pretty well.
Scavanger Hunt 10-2
We changed gears about half way through the class and finished up the chapter we started two weeks ago. We divided the class into four teams of three or four students and assigned them a handful of paragraphs from the text. They were to work together to read and understand their assignment and plan a way to teach that section to the reminder of the class. The four topics were…

Disciples and the Kingdom of God
Parables and the story of the mustard seed
Apostles
The church

In the past, this has sometimes gone well and sometimes fallen flat on its fact. Last night, it went fairly well. Three of the four groups showed some imagination, which isn’t bad.

Next week we move into our coverage of the sacraments, which will be the main theme for the rest of the year.

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After promising to be diligent about posting updates, I missed the very first class. Oh well. Here we go for last night’s class.

We had a pretty good class last night. Ms. Hanzel and I teamed up with Cindy LeMay and the sixth grade class for a “field trip” to the church.

Before we went, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. That was a bit of an eye opener. I think one focus of our instruction this year will be on memorizing some of the basic prayers.

Mrs. LeMay lead a tour of the stained glass windows. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the students picked out images that I had difficulty seeing. Did you know the windows on the left represent stories from the Old Testament, while those on the right are from the New Testament? I didn’t.

Mrs. LeMay also prepared a “scavenger hunt.” She had a sheet with cryptic questions about various objects in the church. The students had to find or answer them. The class really got into it although they were mostly asking the teachers for the answers. We preserved their answer sheets and plan to go over the questions and answers in next week’s class.

 

 

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