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Posts Tagged ‘christ’

We are approaching the finish line. Only two more classes left in the CCD year.

 

Last night, we covered Holy Week, especially the Eastern Triduum and Easter. We started by asking the students to name some ways they show they express love to someone, and then said we would be talking about how Jesus expressed his love for all of us.

 

We began by having the students both read aloud and silently some material in the text covering Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

 

–We talked about the meaning of the term “Paschal Mystery.”

 

–We discussed why the resurrection is the center of the Christian faith.

 

–We compared the Mass on Holy Thursday to the Last Supper, which is essentially the basis of our modern Mass.

 

–We talked about the practice of washing feet, in Biblical times and now on Good Friday.

 

–We discussed why the cross is the central image of Christ’s suffering and death.

 

–We talked about the veneration of the cross ceremony on Good Friday evening.

 

–We indicated that Holy Saturday is usually a quiet day, leading up to the celebration of the resurrection at the Easter Vigil Mass.

 

We transitioned to an entirely different chapter in the text to discuss Easter.

 

–We compared the feeling of Lent of sacrifice and penance, culminating with the remembrance of Jesus’s death and burial to that of Easter, a joyous celebration.

 

–We had three volunteers role-play a dialogue from the text describing the scene on the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene and others went to Jesus’s tomb only to find an angel waiting for them.

 

–We discussed the signs of Easter, like white and gold vestments, Alleluias, and the readings from the Acts of the Apostles.

 

–We also talked a little about how Jesus appeared to many people during the next 40 days.

As always, we finished by asking each student to name one thing they learned in that class, and rewarded all reasonable answers with a cookie. Last night, that process went exceptionally well.

 

Next week we will cover Holy Orders. Our final class will be April 30. We will do something special, but I’m not sure just what yet. I have two weeks to think about it.

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Sorry for the delay in posting this update. The past couple of days were just a little busy.

In any case, on Wednesday evening, we tackled the last six of the Ten Commandments. This was a rather unstructured, free-flowing discussion. Perhaps it was a little too unstructured, as keeping the class focused on a group discussion was a little challenge. The temptations of cutting up and chatting with one’s neighbors was more than some of our little band could withstand. Even so, it was fairly lively and most of the group was involved.

We started with a review of the first four commandments we covered last week, then moved on to the next set. Here are the key points we discussed.

“You shall not kill” – Surprisingly, there weren’t as many questions about this as I had anticipated. Some students were concerned about killing animals, like for food. Some others were concerned that God had killed in the Bible (the plagues on Egypt in Exodus and the Great Flood in Genesis.) We talked a little about self-defense and then moved on.

“You shall not commit adultery” – We defined “adultery” simply as breaking your marriage vows or “cheating” on your husband or wife. (There was no need to go into greater detail with this age group.) We jumped out of order and also included #9 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” in he discussion. We pointed out that both commandments underscore the importance God puts on the sanctity of marriage. While the adultery commandment is aimed at the married couple, the covet prohibition is targeted towards the third person in an adulterous triangle.

“You shall not steal” – This must have been self explanatory, as we had no questions or “…but what if?” scenarios.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” – The class understood the obvious point of the commandment. We elaborated a little and tried to relate it to their age group by including gossip in he conversation. They seemed to make the connection and understood how simple playground gossip can be harmful and run afoul of this commandment.

“You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor” – In earlier discussions, we defined “covet” (which was a concept that no one initially understood) as wanting something so much that you are willing to do something wrong to get it. We gave a few examples and the idea seemed to click.

In response to a question from one of the students, we had a discussion about why the Jewish people did not follow Jesus and become Christians. We provided some historical perspective and explained how in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection, here was much discussion in the Jewish and Christian community about the nature of Christ. Not everyone believed him to be the Messiah and the Son of God. Those who did followed the apostles and other early Christian leaders. Those who did not remained Jews.

As always, we concluded the class by polling each student and asking them to name one thing they learned that evening. Everyone who responded (and that was all of them), was rewarded with a homemade cookie.

This week, I may start with an exercise. We’ll break the class into small groups and ask them to imagine they are assigned to write a set of commandments for today’s fifth graders. It might be interesting to see what they come up with. They will probably take around half the class period. During the second half, we will cover the upcoming season of Lent.

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This continues to be a very good group, and Mrs. Rudolphi and I are enjoying our Wednesday evenings very much. Last night, we finished up the Sacrament of Baptism.

Since last week’s lesson covered the mechanics of Baptism, last night we focused a little more on the theory. We presented and discussed the three main functions of the sacrament.

1.) Joins us with Christ.

2.) Brings us into the Church.

3.) Wipes us free of all sin.

We spent a little time discussing Original Sin and, frankly did not do a very good job of it. We discussed the story of Adam and Eve and emphasized that the story as related in Genesis should be looked at for the message, not the literal account. The Garden of Eden story was a way to explain how a perfect, all loving God placed his creations into a world full of suffering, death, etc. God started out with a perfect world (Eden). It was man who exercised his free will to disturb the plan. That Original Sin is passed down through the generations.

Monsignor Costigan stopped by later in the class, and we asked him to address Original Sin. His explanation was much better than mine. He explained that Original Sin isn’t really a sin. It is simply the state of being born without the presence of God’s grace.  Baptism brings the recipient into contact with God and fills him/her with His grace. (I guess that shows why he is a monsignor, and Mrs. R and I are one-hour-a-week CCD teachers.)

We also discussed the four main signs or symbols of Baptism and their meanings..

1.) Water (Cleansing us from sin.)

2.) Sacred Chrism (oil) (Holy Spirit)

3.) White garment (Purity)

4.) Lit Candle (The light of Christ in our life.)

We allowed the class to pair off with partners to complete the review/quiz section at the end of the chapter. We were about to start discussing the quiz when Msgr. Costigan stopped by. He did answer a question one student asked several weeks ago, that Mrs. R and I just didn’t know. It had to do with the pipe system in the church that is used to wash the chalice and other items used in the Eucharist, and also for disposing of unconsumed consecrated wine. The pipe returns the liquid directly into the Earth and not into the sewage system.

I think we will move on to the Eucharist next week, but I’m not sure. When I have the chance to look at my notes, I’ll post a new entry to let you know.

 

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Good morning, parents and friends. We had an interesting class last night. Sorry you missed it. (I’m assuming that most of our students are probably not reading this. It’s OK if they do, but I suspect it isn’t at the top of their hit parade.)

We had some interesting feedback from last week’s discussion about the scientific and biblical accounts of creation. Apparently they loved it. Given the choice, I think our students would prefer an anthropology class over religion. Too bad. We’re teaching religion.

We did finish off our discussion of the first chapter of Genesis. I emphasized again that the target audience for Genesis was a group of nomadic sheep and goat herders. It had to be written in a way they could understand, and still convey its important messages.

1.) God created the world and everything that is in it.

2.) What he created is good.

The details of how he did it are left up to science. And the Bible is a religious book, not a science text.

I drew a picture on the board of the ancient Hebrews concept of the world. Rather than the modern view of planets, a solar system, galaxies, etc, the Hebrews thought the world was like a “snow dome” a flat disc covered with a dome and suspended in water.

The Hebrew concept of the world

The Hebrew concept of the world

We talked about this and then had the students take turns reading the first chapter of Genesis aloud, with that concept in mind.

Although I really didn’t want to go that far, there was a lot of interest in the Adam and Eve story. The class had trouble grasping the concept that the story was more symbolic than historical. One student asked if Adam and Eve were the first humans, and they had children, did that mean that their children had to marry one another to produce the next generation. (Where do they come up with these things?) I really didn’t want to get involved in a lengthy discussion of early humans and evolution, so I just pointed out that there were many things that Bible does not address, like Adam and Eve’s other children and so on. It wasn’t a very good answer, but it got us off of an uncomfortable subject.

Finally, we got back to the main topic of the class, the Eucharist. We passed out a sheet of paper with three columns, with headers for the Eucharist as a Memorial, as a Meal and as a Sacrifice. We asked the students to pair up with a partner and to read a portion of the text that described the Sacrament in those three terms. They were to write a few words about the Eucharist in each column. Aside from the difficulty of getting them to settle down and actually concentrate on that task, it went fairly well. Some of the students had difficulty grasping the concepts of memorial and sacrifice. So we talked a little bit about the use of objects and actions to remember a person or event. We also talked some about the practice of most ancient cultures to sacrifice farm animals or other valued items as a way of worshiping God. We don’t do that anymore. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and subsequently the Eucharist replaced that practice.

A reminder that next week’s CCD class (February 13) will be replaced by Mass and ashes (It will be Ash Wednesday.) at 7 pm in the church. We encourage all our CCD families to attend.

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