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Posts Tagged ‘anointing of the sick’

We had a really good class last night. Mrs. Rudolphi and I are liking these kids more and more every week. They are bright, attentive, cooperative and engaged.

As the students arrived, we had them complete a crossword puzzle with answers from last week’s lesson. We had one somewhat funny coincidence. The answer for one of the words was to be “blessedtrinity.” One student answered “theholytrinity.” Not only is it the same thing, but the letter-count is the same, and the third letter is a “cross letter” and it is an “e” in each answer. We all got a chuckle out of that.

We continue to work on reinforcing their knowledge of the basic prayers. They had the Hail Mary down pat, so we moved on to the Lord’s Prayer.

The rest of the evening was spent on Chapter 3, which is a broad-brush overview of the Sacraments. 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. Most were not familiar with Holy Orders or Anointing of the Sick. It led to a good Q & A discussion. Many did not understand that it IS possible for someone to receive all seven Sacraments. And much to their surprise, there are actually a few married Catholic priests with families.

We divided the class into pairs and threes and asked them to read P 36 together and to answer three questions which they would find the answers in the text.

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)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Annointing of the Sick)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

It was a good discussion and they seemed to grasp the concepts.

We had volunteer read aloud from text and covered the concepts of Christian initiation (process of becoming a member of the Church) and a Common Vocation (a call for all Christians to live good and holy lives and to be witnesses of the faith.)

That got us only about half way through the chapter. Next week we will finish off.

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Three classes left to go. We’re in the home stretch, with two of our more interesting classes still ahead of us. Unfortunately, our lesson last week was not one of them. We covered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (Ch 18).

We hit several key points.

The Sacrament has evolved over the years when it was called “Last Rites” and was administered only to those on death’s door.

Anyone can receive the Sacrament, if they are seriously ill, facing surgery or other health issue

It can be received more than once.

The purpose of the Sacrament is to heal the recipient spiritually, not necessarily physically. Although, we did discuss the frequent link between mental and emotional health, and physical health. For example, we hear about people who just “worry themselves sick.”

The Sacrament is frequently combined with Reconciliation and the Eucharist. When a person is near death, he/she may be given a tiny piece of the Eucharist called “viaticum” (provisions for the road or journey).

We were sidetracked with an interesting set of questions, starting with one student asking what would happen if a person took excessive use of the Sacrament. When I asked her why someone would do that, she said, “I don’t know. Maybe as a way to get attention?” These kids are more astute than sometimes we give them credit.

Our next class will focus on the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is usually a fairly interesting class. The following week, we will do a lesson on prayer, which also is pretty good. We’ll finish up on April 27 with as visit from Monsignor Costigan, and maybe some pizza to celebrate the completion of another year.

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Here is an update on the schedule for CCD for the rest of this year.

We will not have a regular class for the next two weeks (February 3 & 10) due to the parish mission and Ash Wednesday. However, we consider these two events a part of our CCD program. Please bring your child to the mission on Wednesday, Feb 3rd at 7 pm. We hope parents and siblings will stay also.  The mission should be over by 8 pm.

On the following week, Feb 10, Ash Wednesday Mass will be celebrated at 7 pm. Again, we hope our students will attend with their family.

Here is the tentative line-up of topics for the remainder of the year.

Feb 17 – Ten Commandments 1

Feb 24 – Ten Commandments 2

March 2 – Forgiveness (Ch 15)

March 9 – Penance (Ch 16)

March 16 – No Class

March 23 – Anointing of the Sick (Ch 18)

March 30 – Matrimony (Ch 24)

April 6 – Holy Orders (Ch 25)

April 13 – Prayer (Ch 12)

April 20 – Overflow date

April 27 – Last Class

As you can see, we are fairly well booked. Frankly, the second half of the year has some of the more interesting and engaging lessons. As always, parents are most welcome to sit in. I have one date open (April 20). I expect something will occur to shift the schedule to occupy that date. I’m not worried. We may have a CCD Penance Service that may fill one of the earlier dates and cause everything else to shift down. That is still up in the air as of this writing.

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We’re almost home, parents. The barn is in sight. Don’t give up on us now. A few of our “regulars” were absent last night, and we missed them. It’s been three weeks since our last regular class. We had our CCD Penance service last week. It went very well and I think the students who were there thought it was a rewarding and meaningful experience.  In our year-long coverage of the Sacraments, we are five down and two to go. We covered #5 yesterday, Anointing of the Sick.

We began by comparing the Sacrament of today with the old, “Last Rites” or Extreme Unction of yesteryear. It is no longer administered to just those on their death bed, but the grace of the Sacrament can benefit anyone who is sick, undergoing surgery or any other health issue. We talked a little about the mind-body-spirit connection. Anointing of the Sick is not faith-healing and is not intended to cure a person’s ailment. It can give a person a sense of peace that may allow their body to heal better.

We discussed who can and should receive the Sacrament, and when and where it is administered.

We had one student read a blow-by-blow description of the way the Sacrament is administered while two other students role-played a priest and a sick person. (We actually used some olive oil as chrism and they did NOT make a mess of it!)

We finished with the end of the chapter quiz and discussed the answers.  And as always, we asked each student to cite one thing they learned during the class and rewarded them with a chocolate chip cookie.

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I have assembled a schedule of lessons for the rest of the CCD year. Just so you’ll know, this is highly optimistic. There are all kinds of things that can and will divert us from this plan, but at least it gives us a yard stick to measure how far behind we are at any time.

By the way, several years ago, we arranged for a family in our parish to have their newborn son baptized on a Wednesday evening. We used the Baptism ceremony as a teaching tool. It worked out very well for both the CCD classes and the family. Monsignor Costigan did everything the same as he would otherwise. The ceremony was held n the church with no shortcuts. The only differences were that Monsignor explained what he was doing and its significance at each step. And the child had about 150 honorary godparents in attendance. That child’s older sister happens to be in our class this year. We would love to do this again this year, if only we can find parents with a child in need of baptizing who are willing to go along with it. If you are such a parent, or you know someone who might be willing, please let me know.

Here is the tentative class schedule.

 Oct 30 – Eucharist 1 Ch 10

 Nov 6 – Eucharist 2 Ch 11

 Nov 13 – Liturgical Year & Advent Ch 6 & 13

 Nov 20 – Advent Project (family)

 Dec 4 – Christmas Pageant prep

 Dec 11 – Christmas Pageant prep

 Dec 18 – Christmas Pageant program (Family)

 Jan 15 – Confirmation Ch 8

 Jan 22 – Confirmation Ch 9

 Jan 29 – Prayer – Ch 12

 Feb 5 – Ten Commandments (not in textbook)

 Feb 12 – Ten Commandments

 Feb 19 – Reconciliation Ch 16

 Feb 26 – Lent and Easter Triduum Ch 20 & 21

 March 19 – Lent Project (Family)

 March 26 — Anointing of the Sick Ch 18

 April 2 – Matrimony Ch 24

 April 9 – Holy Orders Ch 25

 April 16 – Easter Ch 27

 April 23 – Open

 April 30 – Last Class

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We had a good class last night. Mrs. Rudolphi was back and was impressed with our group as were my wife and I last week. So far, this has been a very good group. Hopefully we can nurture that quality, and we’ll have a great year.

For our lesson, we presented a broad-brush-stroke profile of the sacraments.

We started by discussing the sacraments as a way of receiving grace. Since the concept of “grace” is sometimes difficult to understand, we described it as simply God’s love. We compared God’s love to the love they receive from their parents. While they may know their parents love them all the time, there are certain times when they may feel it more than others, like when getting a hug. Just as a hug may convey a parent’s love to a child, so the sacraments convey God’s love, aka “grace,” to the recipient.

We talked about the sacraments, and why they are organized into three groups.

Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. We briefly discussed the concept of “initiation” or beginning.

Sacraments of Healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. We discussed how Reconciliation “heals” your soul. The healing characteristics of Anointing of the Sick is a little more difficult. We described how spiritual/psychological health and physical health are often related. On the negative side is the idea of a person who “worries themselves sick.” On the plus side, a spiritual healing can contribute to physical healing, and that’s where Anointing of the Sick comes in. We pointed out that it frequently is administered in conjunction with the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

Sacraments of Service – Holy Orders and Matrimony. We covered these from the text book but didn’t have enough time to discuss them in any detail. More of that in the future.

Last night’s lesson was just an introductory overview of the sacraments. As the year goes on, we will revisit each one of them in much greater detail.

At the beginning of class, I reminded the students that at the end of class I would ask each one of them a question – “What did you learn tonight?” On most nights, we will provide a small reward, like a cookie, to everyone who can respond with at least one thing they learned in the previous hour. At the end of last night’s class, everyone earned their cookie, although a couple of students has to take some time to think about it.

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We had a very busy and packed class session last night.

Father John visited to hear the class’s individual confessions. He brought along some chrism oil. The chrism is not associated with reconciliation, but our main lesson last night was about the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Over the past few months, we had talked about chrism several times and I could tell the students just weren’t getting the concept. I thought if they could see it, they would understand. Father John went around and put a “dab” on the back of each of the students’ hands.

Before Father John began hearing confessions, he led the group in the Act of Contrition. I didn’t know he was going to do this, so I had not given the class any advance notice. The problem is that the students don’t know the Act by heart, so Father John was pretty much on his own.

After that, Father John went across the hall to an empty classroom and the students shuttled over, one at a time for their confessions. I was a little surprised how well it went from an organizational standpoint. I was able to continue teaching the lesson while the students came and went. Parents – You may wish to ask your child about the experience and encourage them to receive Reconciliation more often.

Our main lesson was on Anointing of the Sick.

–We talked about the modern concept of the sacrament and how it differs from the old “last rites” that was usually administered only to someone about to die.

–We spent some time talking about the connection between spiritual/mental well being and physical health.

–We discussed how the sacrament is frequently combined with the Eucharist and Reconciliation. We introduced the concept of “viatecum”, where a dying person is given a tiny piece of the Eucharist to “take along with way” on their journey to Heaven.

–We had a group of volunteers read aloud the steps of the Anointing while two other students acted it out, one as the recipient and one as the priest.

We have just a few class sessions left before we call it quits for the year. Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony. If we have time, we will also discuss the Ten Commandments. The chapter on Holy Orders does not usually generate a lot of excitement among 5th graders, but in past years, the discussions of Matrimony and the Ten Commandments have been very lively and interesting. As always, parents are welcome to sit in. Also, especially as it relates to Matrimony, if there are any issues in your child’s life that I should know about so I don’t just stick my foot in it, please let me know.

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