Posts Tagged ‘apostles’

We tried a different exercise this week with mixed results. Picking up where we left off last week, we divided the class (9 of 14 students this week) into groups of 2-3 and assigned them a few paragraphs from chapter one in the text to read and understand. Their assignment was to identify the main concept in their section and teach it back to the rest of the class. They could use whatever tools or techniques they wished, the white board, role play, whatever.

Among the concepts included were the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ mission, apostles, the mustard seed parable and disciples.

A couple of groups took it seriously and did a good job. And a couple of groups, not so much. Oh, well. Lessons learned, by the teacher, that is.

We finished off with the end of chapter quiz which the students completed and then we discussed. And as always, we asked the students to name one thing they learned during the class, and everyone was able to cite at least one. The reward was a sugar cookie this week.

This was only the second real class session I have had with the class, so I am still getting to know them and vice versa. I can sense when something we are doing isn’t working. For example, if a lot of students ask to be excused to go to the restroom, you can be assured, they are bored or not engaged. This week, I think all the guys asked to be excused. We will try to do better next week, when we start tackling the Sacraments.

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Last night’s class was the first of two relating to the Eucharist. We had a small turnout, only seven students, so no one escaped participation. For those of you following along with our home edition, the main chapter for the lesson was Chapter Ten.

 We began with an opening prayer that contained several references to Jesus as the “bread of life” and other similar images. We discussed this briefly.

 We introduced the first Eucharist at the Last Supper. We talked about how this was a Jewish Passover meal, but Jesus changed things. We provided a biblical/historical account of the Passover from Exodus and pointed out that, since Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish, the Last Supper began as their annual religious meal.

 The text referenced Jesus’s declaring a “new covenant.” So we talked about the meaning of a covenant, the ancient Jewish covenant dating back to Abraham and Moses, and the idea of Jesus establishing a new covenant at the Last Supper.

 We had the class read silently the next page that outlined how the Eucharist is a memorial, a meal and also a sacrifice. We talked a little about the concept of a sacrifice. We had them take a sheet of blank paper and create three columns, headed by “memorial,” “meal” and “sacrifice.” As they read the text, they were to list the ways the Sacarament fulfills each of these concepts.

 We spent most of the rest of the class discussing and emphasizing the concept of “real presence,” that Jesus is truly present in the consecrated host and wine, and not just a symbol, as believed by most other Christian denominations.

 We finished up with a Q&A review from the quiz at the end of the chapter. And of course, we quizzed all the students on “What did you learn tonight?”

 Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 11, which is the second chapter on the Eucharist, but the focus is on the structure of the Mass.

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Until I started working on this update, I didn’t realize I hadn’t written a summary for last week’s class. Sorry about that.

Last week, we started with a review of the liturgical year with the intention of concentrating on the season of Advent. As often happens, the discussion of the liturgical year opened up a ton of questions so we spent the entire class answering and discussing.

This week, Father John joined us at the beginning of class. He wanted to encourage the students to attend the parish Advent penance service next Tuesday (Dec 13) at 7 pm in the church. Naturally, the students had a bunch of questions for him. It was very obvious that, for most of the class, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not a concept with which they are familiar or comfortable. After Father John left to move on to the next class, we continued the discussion of Reconciliation. Not surprisingly, many of the students were very nervous or even scared about the idea of sitting down with someone (a priest) and talking about what they have done wrong. We emphasized several points.

The priest is bound to secrecy about whatever they discuss. Under no circumstances will they pick up the phone and call the parents or anyone else.

At their age, there is nothing they could possibly tell the priest that would surprise him.

The priest is simply an intermediary to God, and God already knows what you have done, so what’s the big secret?

We had our usual run of questions, many of which started with “What if…” When the “what if” scenarios started to get a little outrageous, we shut down the discussion of Reconciliation and moved on to the lesson of the day, the Sacrament of Confirmation.

We started by pointing out that we would be discussing Confirmation from several different angles.

  • Confirmation as a way of receiving, via the Holy Spirit, the strength to live as God wishes them to.
  • Confirmation as completing their initiation into the Church.
  • Confirmation as a commitment.

We read and discussed the events of the first Pentecost. We told them how the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and turned them from meek and terrified men into strong evangelists.  We compared this power to a sports team or an athlete who gets so psyched up and motivated that he or she can conquer a superior opponent. We compared the Sacrament of Confirmation to the first Pentecost. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, the grace of the Holy Spirit will give them the strength and determination to be faithful followers of Christ.

We talked about how their first step into the Church came with Baptism, and the second with the Eucharist.  The Sacrament of Confirmation rounds out the three sacraments of initiation and completes their membership into the Church.

It was our intention to further discuss Confirmation as the recipient’s commitment to fully join the Church and live their lives as Christians. We didn’t get to that. We’ll hit that when we finish with the Sacrament after the Christmas break.

This week (It’s now Monday, by the time I am finishing this.), the students should report to the Church for a Christmas program. Parents and siblings are also most welcome.

As you will note from the schedule, there will be no CCD class the following two weeks. We’ll be back on January 4.

Mrs. Rudolphi and I hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas season. We’ll see everyone after the first of the year.

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