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Posts Tagged ‘christian initiation’

Hello, parents!

Thank you for “tuning in.” I had no report on last week’s class, because I was travelling. Mrs. Rudolphi took the class and reported it went well.

Last night, we began our overview of the Sacraments. (Chapter 3 in the text for anyone following along at home.) As I mentioned in our initial get-acquainted session a couple of weeks ago, we are going to try to reinforce memorization of some of the essential Catholic prayers. We begin with the Hail Mary. We prayed it at both the beginning and end of class. It would be great if you would help support this at  home in the form of bedtime prayers or what-not.

After our opening prayer, we handed out a worksheet that contained a chart with two columns, labeled “Sacraments I have already received” and “Sacraments I expect to receive.” We asked them to refer to the list of the Sacraments in the text and to list their personal experience appropriately. We then talked about it. (We had one priest, one married person and several who believed they have already been confirmed.)

Then we broke the class into pairs and small groups and asked them to read page 36 and work together to find the answers to three questions, also on the work sheet.

–What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Vary’s by student.)

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

–What is sanctifying grace? (See below.)

In our subsequent discussion, it took a little bit of talking to get the students to recognize the existence of God’s love in the world around them. After one student mentioned she had a pony, most of the rest of the class focused their thoughts on pets. We discussed it a little to get them to expand their perspective.

Most of the students were unfamiliar with the concept of “grace” or “sanctifying grace.” We defined it as simply God’s love. When we talk about “grace”, we are just referring to God’s love. To link it to the Sacraments, we compared God’s love to a parent’s love of their child. All the students agreed that they felt their parents’ love for them when they got a hug or kiss. We discussed other ways that they could feel their parents’ love, including fixing them meals, taking care of them in general, and so on. We described the Sacraments as God’s way of conveying his love to his people. Like a parent conveys their love with a hug and kiss, God conveys his love through the Sacraments. I think they “got it!” Score one for the home team.

We discussed that the Church has divided the Sacraments into three general categories:

–Sacraments of Initiation

–Sacraments of Healing

–Sacraments of Service

And we extracted a listing of each category from discussion with the students.

We had volunteers read the short summary of the Sacraments of Initiation. This introduced two concepts.

–Christian Initiation is the process of becoming a member of the Church. In Baptism, we initially join the Church. In Confirmation, we reinforce that membership. And in the Eucharist, we maintain and strengthen our membership.

–As Catholics we are called to a “common vocation” to holiness and evangelization. We discussed that as Catholics, we are called to live our lives the way Jesus taught, following the teachings of the Church, loving our fellow mankind, etc.  We asked them to brainstorm a little and think of some way they would respond to God’s love tomorrow. We had some good answers, but most involved saying a prayer. We discussed the concept and explored other examples.

Although, we had only covered half the chapter, that pretty much finished us up for the night. As will be our usual practice, we went around the room and asked each student to tell us something they learned that night. All were successful, and were rewarded with a cookie.

I will not be available to teach next week’s class. (After that, my schedule should settle down, and I should be able to be there nearly all of not all the classes.) Mrs. Rudolphi will take the lead again. The class will have a “field trip” to the church with the third grade class. Third grade teacher Mrs. Hogan will take the two classes on a “tour” and tell them about the stories behind the stained glass windows. Should be interesting. I wish I could be there  myself.  Please meet in the classroom as usual. If there is a change in the pick-up plan, we’ll let you know before next Wednesday.

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We had a good class last night, active and involved, but not out of control. This was really only my second full class session with them. I am just now starting to get to know the students – their strengths and weaknesses; those we are quick to respond and those who need to be drawn out, and so on. The whole process improves when we get to know each other a little better.

The main theme for the entire year in 5th grade CCD is the Sacraments.  We began our efforts in this direction with a broad overview of the seven Sacraments. We asked the students to make a list of the Sacraments they have already received and those they expect to receive in the future.

As we got into the text, we ran up against a number of terms and concepts that were pretty-much new to the class.

  • Evangelazation
  • Vocations
  • Sanctifying Grace
  • Initiation

So we had to take a detour and discuss the meaning of these terms.

The term “evangelization” was a new one to nearly all the students. After defining the concept, we brainstormed on different ways they, as fifth graders, could answer the call to evangelization.  We suggested the best way to evangelize is simply to live a good life and serve as an example.  “Actions speak louder than words.”

We discussed the concept of a “vocation” as a calling and provided some examples.

We discussed “sanctifying grace.” We described “grace” in general as simply God’s love. We compared it to the love of a parent to their child, and continuing the metaphor, we asked the class to think of times when they felt their parents’ love more than others. (ie: getting a hug, comforting, praising, etc.) Just as a hug is a way a parent can convey his or her love to a child, the Sacraments are God’s way of extending his love (grace) to us.

We discussed the three categories of Sacraments:

  • Sacraments of Christian (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
  • Sacraments of Healing (Penance/Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had time to briefly go over the three categories and discuss each Sacrament.  Next week, we’ll do a little review/reinforcement and then move on to a more detailed study of Baptism.

We finished up with a practice I may make a regular part of the program. At the beginning of class, I told the students that I would be asking each of them a question at the end of class, “What did you learn tonight?” Just before the end, I asked the question and went through the class for answers.  Everyone answered with something we had covered, and were rewarded with a chocolate chip cookie. They seemed to like that. Maybe we’re on to something.  🙂

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