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Parents —

Hopefully, you have received a Flocknotes email from Paula Hubert explaining why we are cancelling CCD for this week. The visitation and Rosary are expected to attract a very sizeable crowd. We are concerned that many cars and our students mixing in a dark parking lot would be a really bad idea.

This will necessitate a second rehearsal next Saturday morning, from 10-1130 am in the church. We are sorry about that, but we don’t want to set your children up for embarrassment by not having them sufficiently prepared. Two rehearsals is fairly bare bones as it is.

I need one favor from you. We are counting on all of our students to be there for both the Saturday morning practice as well as the actual pageant on Wednesday, December 13. If our child cannot attend one or both of these sessions, please let me know at the earliest.

savannahmike1130@gmail.com
912-484-2622

Thanks.

Mike

 

 

 

 

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We had an interesting class Wednesday evening, even if it didn’t go as planned. The students were full of questions about the subject of the class, Baptism, so we went with the flow. If they are asking question, they are engaged, and that is the best. So we had a rather free-flowing discussion that covered a lot of ground.

For our pre-class exercise, we handed out a question sheet, and asked the students to answer some questions about themselves, like…

My name is:
I was born on:
I was baptized on:
At (church):
My Godparents are:

We were pretty sure there would be unanswered questions, so we asked them to take the sheet home with them and ask their parents for help. Parents – please ask your child about this.

We intended to cover the second of two chapters on Baptism, but wanted to backtrack and go over a handful of key points from the chapter we skipped. These included the purposes of Baptism.

Joins us with Christ
Brings us into the Church
Wipes us free from all sin

The last point prompted a lot of questions, particularly about the relationship between Baptism and Reconciliation. We also talked some about original sins; what happens to babies who die before being baptized; and the nature of Heaven. It was a pretty free-wheeling discussion, but all, more or less, on target.

We finally started into the chapter in the textbook. We had volunteers read the first page. We handed out a sheet with questions, the answers for which were contained in the text, and asked the students to locate and answer the questions.

1. Does everyone get baptized at the same age? (No)
2. What do we call adults or older children who are preparing for Baptism? (catechumens)
3. Who helps prepare people for Baptism? (the entire Church community)
4. What do Godparents do? (multiple answers)
5. What is the best day to be Baptized? (Sunday)

On the issue of godparents, we did make a distinction between what it means in the Church, as opposed to a common lay meaning. Outside the church godparents are often considered the intended guardians of a child if both parents should die. Within the Church, that may or may not be the case. We explained that frequently godparents are not a couple, and may be married to other people (eg: an aunt from one side of the family and an uncle from the other.) Within the Church, the godparents stand up for a child during the ceremony and answer questions in his or her place. They are also expected to be involved in the child’s life, especially their spiritual life.

We left the class with a small “homework” assignment. Before the next class, they are to find a way to shine the light of Christ they received at Baptism with some person or persons. Next week, we will ask them what they did. You may wish to remind your child of this.

Also, next week, we will finish off the chapter on Baptism and conduct a role-play where students will walk through a mock Baptism ceremony.

When I mentioned this to the class, several jumped in and asked “with a real baby?” We won’t do that next week, but that is something we have done in the past. Monsignor has presided over at least two real Baptisms, in church, with the family, but during a Wednesday evening CCD time slot. Usually, most if not all the other classes attend. Initially some were skeptical of this, but the two times we did it, it worked out great. Monsignor Costigan walked through the ceremony and explained the significance of each step. And the roughly 150 students present, were totally well behaved. The difficulty with doing this every year is finding a set of parents who are willing to have their child’s Baptism performed on a Wednesday evening. So parents – If you know of a family who should be having a child baptized between now and the end of April, and might be willing to be part of the program, please let me know.

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This week’s class worked out well. The material wasn’t fascinating, but the students were engaged, and we had a good discussion.

We started off with a guest speaker, Dick Lee from St. James parish. Dr. Lee works with me at Skidaway Institute. He also runs the Serra Club vocations essay contest for seventh graders. He was at St. Peters to give a check and certificate to Maddie Conn for third place in the diocese-wide CCD division. Since Dr. Lee knew I teach sixth grade, he asked me if he could stop by for a few minutes and promote the essay contest to the students who will be eligible to participate next fall.  Dr. Lee talked about vocations and the essay contest for about ten minutes and then turned the class back over to us.

Our faith assessment quiz this week dealt with the Church’s structure. There were a couple of questions about the pope, and then a match-quiz exercise on the meaning of various church terms, like ecumenism, infallibility, diocese, deanery, etc. The full list can be found on the parish web site.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-11-church-leadership-structure/

During the course of our discussion, we spent some time talking about Pope Francis. Most of the class did not know he is a Jesuit, or what a Jesuit is, or even what a religious order is, so we talked about religious orders for a while. I was a little surprised that no one could name the two prominent religious orders in Savannah, even when I hinted there was school named after one of them. They are, of course, the Benedictines (Order of St. Benedict) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

When we discussed the match-game (Match the term in one column with the explanation in the other column.), they redeemed themselves. Many were able to match the term with the definition, or at least come close (eg: diocese vs. archdiocese or dogma vs. infallibility).

It doesn’t sound very excited, but the students were engaged and asked a lot of questions.

We finished up with an eight minute video on the life and background of Pope Francis.

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Our students (five) were lively and engaged last night, even on an evening when their teacher was not at the top of his game.

We continued our march through the faith assessment as groundwork  for serious Confirmation prep starting next year in seventh grade. If you would like to see the information we are using as our guide this year, you can find it on the parish Website here.

Our subject last night was the Sacraments. I would have thought that it would be a fairly easy topic, seeing as we spent all of last year (5th grade) covering them. We distributed a quiz that asked the students to define grace, and then to list the seven Sacraments by category (Initiation, Healing and Service of Communion) and provide a short definition. We then discussed the results, which were mixed. We had a fairly wide ranging discussion with questions like…

“Can a person receive all seven sacraments?” (Yes)

“Can a person receive Annointing of the Sick more than once?” (Yes)

And so on.

We then played a short (about three minutes) video about grace and the various types of grace. After we watched it once, we told the class, that we would play it again, and this time, they should really try to pull at least a couple of concepts or ideas out of it. After our second viewing, we discussed the ideas the students pulled from the piece. It went well. Since the idea of playing the video twice came to me on a whim, I’m glad it worked out.

The overall message of the class was that the Sacraments are a means God uses to convey grace. As our final exercise, we divided the class into a group of two (boys) and three (girls) (self-selected, by the way) and asked them to draw a picture of one of the white boards that depicts he conveyance of grace through one of the Sacraments. They could pick whichever Sacrament they want. Both groups did well, and the girls even did a short skit to complement theirs.

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I had no entry last week, because I was out of town for work. Mrs. Van Brimmer took over the class and taught the Rosary. I understand it went very well.

We had our usual group of six students last night, as we continue to work our way through the “Faith Assessment” questions and answers. These are basic elements of the Catholic faith that our students should be familiar with before Confirmation. You can see the entire program here.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/faith-formation/know-faith/

Last night, we were on the “Miscellaneous Questions” section. We had the students take the quiz to start, to see what they already know, and to make them think about the questions. Then we discussed them.

  1. What does catholic mean?
  2. Transubstantiation is:
  3. Can a non-catholic receive communion at a Catholic mass? Why or why not?
  4. What is the distinction between the Virgin Birth of Jesus by Mary and the Immaculate Conception?
  5. What is fasting and abstinence? In which liturgical season are these generally practiced?
  6. Where do you find the letters INRI? What do they stand for?
  7. Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord and Wisdom are the seven __________?

If you don’t know the answers, feel free to click the link above and learn.

Given the importance of transubstantiation to our Catholic faith, we supported that concept by watching a video by Bishop Robert Barron on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJjW3LXuHzo

We finished up with a little throwback in Church history. In the past, we had discussed that prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Mass was said in Latin. Although I had explained that everyone had a translation available, the class never seemed to grasp the idea. A few weeks ago, when helping my siblings clean out some boxes at my father’s home in Pittsburgh, I came across my original St Joseph’s Sunday Missal, with all the Sunday masses in two columns, English on the left and Latin on the right. I passed it around the class. The students were very interested.

This continues to be a small, but great group of students.  They are engaged and behaved. We can talk about things, have open discussions and even joke around without the entire lesson running off the rails. They are fun and interesting to work with. Mrs. Rudolphi and I look forward to each week.

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We had a small group last night, only four students. Our goal was to teach the Stations of the Cross. We started out with our faith assessment quiz (fill in the blanks) and quickly discovered there wasn’t much for us to teach. Of the 42 possible answers among the three students who completed the exercise (One student was late.) there were 41 correct answers. No shabby.

Nonetheless, we persevered on. We walked across the hall to the library to watch a short video on the stations. We then walked over to the church. We distributed booklets to all the students and we conducted a Stations ceremony. We had the students read the narrator’s part and all read the prayer at the end of each station.

We finished a little early. We returned to the classroom and chatted about several other Stations-related issues.

Next week, our faith assessment and our class will focus on some key Catholic teachings including the “Precepts (rules) of the Church” and the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. These are most likely not top of mind topics for our students. It would be great if they could do just a little research on these topics before we hit next week’s class.

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Again, sorry for taking so long to get this written and posted. It’s just been a busy week.

We kicked off the 6th grade CCD year with a good class last week. We have a small group right now, only six students, but I believe we will pick up an additional handful in the coming weeks.

Getting things started has been an interesting experience. Unlike our past 11 years of teaching 5th grade, our curriculum is not dictated or guided by the Sadlier (publishing company) text. Because 8th grade Confirmation takes place so early in the year at St. Peters, we will be starting initial Confirmation training. That also means we are feeling our way a little. For at least the first part of the year, we will be focusing our teaching in three main areas.

1.) Faith Assessment – This is a review of the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and the kinds of information each student should know before Confirmation. We will be taking it one bite at a time.  So each week, we will send home with each student a “quiz” or questionnaire. They should research the answers to the questions and return it the following week when we will discuss the material. For your information, the questions and answers can be found here.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/faith-formation/know-faith/

However, we would greatly appreciate it if you would NOT simply direct your child to this site where the answers are right there to copy. If they have to do just a little work, like maybe a Google search or looking it up in the Confirmed in the Spirit text, it is more likely they may remember the material.

2.) Saints – We have been introducing our students to the concepts of saints, patron saints and picking a saint’s name for a Confirmation name. During most class sessions, we will show a short (usually around three minutes) video of some saints’ story.

3.) Confirmed in the Spirit – This is our working text for Confirmation prep. Since this might be helpful to the students in preparing their weekly Faith Assessment “homework,” we will send this home with them. Please, help your child to remember to bring it back to class with them on Wednesday.

And as we have done in the past several years, we will end each class by asking each student to tell us one thing they learned that night. A reasonable response will result in some reward, sometimes a cookie, sometimes a doo-dad (glow stick, pencil, prayer card) or whatever.

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