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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Last night’s class almost left the rails, but it turned out pretty well anyway.

We finished up the lesson on the Sacrament of Baptism. Most of the students returned their “homework,” where we asked them to ask their parents about the church where they were baptized, the priest and their godparents.

Father Kavanaugh stuck his head in for a few minutes and talked about Baptism.

We had the class read aloud one page of the text and had them answer a few questions. We then spent a few minutes talking about an emergency Baptism, in which anyone can perform the rite. (Typically this is most common when a person, like a newborn, is near death and there isn’t time for a priest to get to the scene.)

We then divided the class into two groups and assigned them to read and study the last two pages of the chapter, which describes the actual prayers and actions of a normal Baptism. And then they played it out. We provided a little water, oil, a candle and a white garment (t-shirt.) They really got into it, maybe a little too much.

We think they learned something. At least, when we did our end-of-class “what did you learn tonight” activity, they all were able to recite something quickly and without duplication.

I think I had the chance to speak to all the parents last night, but just to be safe, here are the plans for the Christmas pageant. Our class will provide the narrators. Two students do not want to read, so they will be assigned to play one of the characters. We will rehearse November 29 and Dec 6. The pageant will be held during the regular CCD class period on December 13. We may have a final “dress rehearsal” on Saturday morning, December 9. We’ll let you know. If your child is nervous about this, please assure him or her that Mrs. Rudolphi and I will get them “coached up” ahead of time and will be there to support them on the evening of the performance. We have done this for a number of years, and we haven’t lost anyone yet. Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if you have any questions.

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We had a very short class last night, because only one of our eight students made it. It must have been a busy night on the middle school activity circuit. Since our lesson plan revolved around some group activities, we just saved the lesson plan for January.

Our last class before the Christmas break (We’re a church, so we don’t have to say “holiday break.”) will be next Wednesday, December 14. We will meet in the church for the Christmas Pageant. Bring the family!

One “heads up,” I strongly suspect the Christmas Pageant will not take the entire 60 minute class period. If you cannot stay for the pageant, you should be prepared to return before 730 to pick up your child.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas! We hope to see everyone on January 4.

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I would like to bring you up to speed on a couple of things. This post duplicates an email you should have received or will receive shortly.

First – No class next week, November 25, the night before Thanksgiving. That should be obvious, but just making sure everyone knows.

Second – The fifth grade class will be working with the third grade class (Mrs. Lynne Hogan) on the Christmas Pageant. The third grade provides the family, the sheep, the shepherds, etc. Our fifth graders will provide the readers. I would like to know by the next class (December 2) which of our students would like to be a reader. This is not mandatory. Any of the students who do not wish to read will be assigned to the “cast” as shepherds, or what-not.

The reading passages are both easy and fairly short, usually only 3-4 sentences. There are enough passages in the script that there is room for everyone in the class to have a role. If some students do not wish to read, I can consolidate or double-up the passages.

I will provide the students with their assigned passage during the next class. They would have plenty of time to prep it. I mention this because even students who are not strong readers can still participate and shine. We had one student several years ago who really wanted to be a part of the pageant, but was not a strong reader. She took her passage home and worked on it over and over until she had it memorized.  She did great and her family, and Mrs. Rudolphi and I were enormously happy for her.

This year, the pageant will be presented only once, in the church, during the regular CCD class time on December 16. Since we are not able to present at the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass, we are going to try to make the December 16 program a “parish event.”

We will rehearse during the regular CCD class time on December 2 & 9. We will have a final dress rehearsal on Saturday morning, December 12. I don’t have a time for that yet; it will probably be something like 9:30-11:00 am. I will let you know the exact time frame when I get it.

Several of our students have special circumstances. I don’t know of anything that would prevent them from participating if they wish.  Mrs. Rudolphi and I are pretty good “coaches” and will work with all the children to put them into a position where they can succeed.

Bottom line – Please talk with your child; see if they would like a “speaking role”; and let me know via email or phone by the next class.

Thank you in advance for your help.

savannahmike1130@gmail.com

(912) 598-2325 – office/day

(912) 484-2622 – cell/evenings-weekends

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Sorry for the late posting. This past week has just been busy.

We had a pretty good class last week. We covered the last seven Commandments. We had a lively and interesting discussion. How can you not have fun when the subjects include lying, cheating, stealing and killing?

We spent a fair amount of time discussing the fourth “Honor your father and mother” Commandment. We discussed the importance of that Commandment when parents become older and may become dependent upon their children.

As always, the concept of coveting was a new one for the students. They seemed to catch on to it however.

“Bearing false witness” was a little obscure until we talked about it for a while. We asked and discussed whether gossip would be covered by that Commandment.

The concept of adultery is always one we try to handle with some delicacy. We used it to confirm the sanctity of marriage. We also pointed out that there are two Commandments that address the sin. The sixth prohibits it on the part of one of the partners in the marriage. The ninth prohibits a third party outside the marriage from getting between the couple.

I left them with a homework assignment. I asked them to imagine that Moses came back down Mt. Sinai with a second set of commandments specifically targeted towards fifth graders. I asked them to think of what some of those commandments might be. This week, we will break the class into small groups and ask them to create their own stone tablets (poster boards and markers) with the fifth grade Commandments. We will also discuss the upcoming season of Lent.

As expected we have a schedule change, and I think it will be for the better. We will have a Penance Service specifically for the 3-8 grade CCD students and their families on Wednesday, March 25.

Also, for our last class on April 29, we will have a real, live Baptism. One of our parish families has agreed to have their child baptized on a Wednesday night with the entire CCD group in attendance. (The baby is the same child who played the Baby Jesus at the Christmas Pageant. She will be back for an encore performance.) We did this several years ago, and it turned out great. Monsignor Costigan talked his way through the ceremony and explained each step and its meaning. This is a “must see” event.

So here is the schedule for the remainder of the year.

Feb 11 – Finish Commandments and Ch 20 Lent
Feb 18 – No Class –Ash Wednesday
Feb 25 – No Class — Book of Kells Program
March 4 – Ch 15 Healing
March 11 –Ch 16 Reconciliation
March 18 – No class
March 25 – Penance Service in the church
April 1 — Ch 18 Anointing of the Sick
April 8 – No Class
April 15 — Ch 24 Matrimony
April 22 – Holy orders
April 29 – Baptism Ceremony in the church

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We had a really good practice session for the Christmas pageant last night. I am very impressed at how seriously the students are taking their roles. They really want to do well and it shows. We had two full-scale run-throughs, complete with the music. Then we practiced the speaking parts over and over until we ran out of class time. Also, our shepherds are doing a very good job keeping the younger third-grade “sheep and goats” in line. A few notes:

— We would like to have one additional practice this coming Saturday morning (Dec 13) from 10-11 am. If your child has a conflict and cannot attend, it’s not the end of the world. In which case, please take special note of the next paragraph. If they do not have a conflict, please try to get them there. The practice will be at the church.

— If your child is one of our readers, please ask him to practice his/her material with you. The more repetition they have, the easier and less threatening it will be when they stand up in front of a church full of people. Emphasize they should project loud and read slow. (Many tend to read too fast and run their words together, especially as they come to the end of a sentence or the end of the reading.)

— Our first performance will be during the regular CCD class session next week (Dec 17.) Please drop off your child at the church by 6:00 pm. It is not necessary for them to be dressed up for this performance.

— Even if your child is not a reader, please bring them next Wednesday anyway. We may have some “no-shows” and may need to put them into the lineup. In any event, this is a class project and they are a part of the class.

— The second program will be during the Christmas Eve children’s mass at 4:00 pm. Please deliver your child to the school a half hour early, at 3:30 pm so we can get them organized and squared away. (A last minute rush is likely to just get them flustered.) Dress for this program should be “church clothes.” One note for the girls (and Mrs. Rudolphi has mentioned this to them), they may be sitting on the floor. So if they are wearing a dress or skirt, some kind of tights or leggings might be appropriate.

— After the program on Christmas Eve, they will be allowed to spend the rest of the Mass with their family. You may wish to give them an idea in what part of church you plan sit and leave a space for them. Mrs. R and I will probably be spending the rest of Mass in the narthex, so if you don’t connect, we’ll make sure they are OK.

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I just looked and realized that, once again, I did not post an update on last week’s class. I might be losing my mind.

In any case, last week, we covered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject is important, but the class wasn’t the most interesting. The major point we tried to drive home was that as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present (Real Presence) in the consecrated bread and wine. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic, as is practiced in some Protestant churches.

Given the importance of that sacrament, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little more time on it and reinforce the concepts. So we had the students complete the end-of-chapter exercises and then we discussed their answers. Several students, who were not there last week, had some difficulty, but they were allowed to look for the answers in the preceding chapter. Actually, the textbook publishers really make it fairly easy. Most of the answers to the review exercises are highlighted in red text in the book. We allowed them to work with a partner, but most of the class preferred to just work on their own.

We only had about 20 minutes left when we completed our discussion of the Eucharist. (I am the Les Miles of class time management. If you don’t recognize the reference, ask a college football fan.) I wanted to cover a short chapter on the liturgical year. We really didn’t have time to go step-by-step through the chapter. So instead we just talked a little about the liturgical year and the Church’s upcoming “New Years Day” on November 30 (First Sunday of Advent.)

We will have no class next week, as it is the evening before Thanksgiving. We’re back on December 3. The rest of our classes until the Christmas break will be devoted to preparation for the Christmas Pageant. The third grade will provide the actors and the fifth grade will provide the narrators. I polled the class to get an idea of who wants to read and who would just as soon be one of the shepherds or whatever.

What I really need from parents is an idea of who I can count on for our two “performances.” The first performance will be during the regular last regular CCD class session before the break, December 17. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that all the children will be available for that program.

The second program will be at the children’s Mass on Christmas Eve afternoon. I’m not sure of the exact time. We know that some of our students may not be available for that program because of travel plans, other family plans or whatever. So what I need to know is who will be available or not for Christmas Eve. I will sort out the readers and give them assignments based on that information. Some students may read at one program, and some may read at both. We’ll just have to see how the chips fall.

So parents, please send me an email and let me know if your child will be available to participate in the Christmas Eve program. We had one student who said her family might be travelling as early as the December 17 date. If this is also the case with any students, please let me know that also.

My email is: savannahmike1130 at gmail.com (Obviously, insert the @ sign in place of “at.”)

I will also be sending out an email to all the parents for whom I have addresses this weekend with the same request.

I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving holiday. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work with your fantastic children. See y’all in December.

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I would like to thank all our parents for their cooperation, arranging their schedules and transportation around the CCD Christmas Pageant. The program last Wednesday evening went very well, and the presentation at Christmas Eve Mass even better. I thought your children all did very well. I made an effort to try to speak to each one after the program and praise them for their effort. In the event I missed one in the scurrying around, please extend my compliments to them. I got one photo of the readers as they stood on the altar steps during the singing of “Silent Night.” If anyone would like a copy, just shoot me an email and I’ll send a full-size image to  you. Meanwhile, have a great holiday season and we’ll see you on January 15.Christmas Pageant 1 w

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