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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

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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Sorry for the late post. We had a good class session last week. We are all still getting to know each other, so I expect our interaction and class participation will pick up in coming weeks.

We tackled chapter one in the text. We discussed Jesus’s baptism and the role of John the Baptist.

We discussed the Holy Trinity. We explained that as mere humans, we cannot understand the concept of three persons in one God, but we gave a couple of examples to help draw the students close.

With about 15 minutes left on the clock,  we took two pages from chapter 1 and divided it up into four sections. We asked the students to pair-up with a partner and assigned each team one section to read, understand and to teach back to the rest of the class. We ran out of time before we completed this, so we will pick up where we left off this week.

And as we do during nearly all our classes, we asked each student to cite something they learned that evening. All wee able to come up with something and were rewarded with a cookie.

We sent the students home with a Mass activity sheet for them to complete on Sunday. we will collect them this week and distribute another week’s worth.

Somewhat to our surprise, it actually went very well. They students really got into the exercise and exhibited energy and creativity. Yea!

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I missed my summary for last week. We covered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. We also went over to the church for a “personal safety” talk by Mrs. Lisa Fogarty.

This week, our topic was the Sacrament of Matrimony, including the outlines of a Catholic marriage and family. Sometimes this can be a sensitive subject, so we started off with a warning. I don’t know the details of all our students’ families, and don’t really need to. However, it is quite likely there are students in our class who have experienced divorces and/or other unusual family situations, with their parents or other members of their family. I emphasized that while we would be teaching the Church’s position on marriage, the students should not take anything as a criticism or judgment on any particular people or situations.

Some of the key points we discussed were:

— Jesus thought enough of the importance of marriage to perform his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.

— Marriage has been part of the human experience since the very beginning – ie: Adam and Eve.

— Boys and girls, and men and women are different but equal.

— A Catholic marriage is intended to be a permanent commitment. We talked about some short-lived celebrity marriages and the popular concept of a “starter marriage,” but indicated the Church believes you should enter into a marriage fully aware and prepared and with the full intention of making it a life-long commitment. We discussed the concept of a covenant.

— While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them.

— We discussed the difference between a promise and a vow. A promise is made between one person and another. A vow is a promise made to God. The marriage commitment is a vow.

–The difference between a civil marriage and a religious marriage. A wedding before a judge may cover the legal aspects of marriage, but is very different than a religious marriage, where two people stand before God and promise to maintain a life-long commitment. A Catholic marriage covers both the civil and religious aspects. We were asked whether you could have a civil wedding and then later have a religious wedding. We gave several examples of how this happens.

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a little strange.

We threw out some suggestions and got them thinking. Several students mentioned the obligation to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations.

We introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

Next week will be the final CCD class session. Father Kavanaugh will be a guest speaker to talk about his life as a priest. We will have a pizza snack and drinks.

This has been a fantastic year from Mrs. Rudolphi’s and my viewpoint. Our students have been active, engaged and a lot of fun. I hope we are as lucky as this with future groups.

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As expected, we had a very interesting class last week.
Our main focus was the Ten Commandments. We had lots of discussion and lots of questions.

We started with a story, telling the class the background that lead to God delivering the Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai. We had volunteers read the passage from Exodus 20 that is the first mention of the Commandments. (Despite my warning, the references to an “ass” (ie: jackass) and “alien” caused more than a little giggling.)

We distributed list of the traditional “Ten Commandments” that demonstrated how some different religions count them. For example, Catholics count the God-related commandments as the first three, while many Protestant churches count them as four. On the other end, Catholics divide the last two “you shall not covet…” Commandments into two separate statements, while most Protestant sects combine them into one. We pointed out this only a concern if they are talking to a Protestant friend about the 4th Commandment, for instance. A Protestant would be talking about the Commandment to respect the Sabbath, while the Catholic would be honoring his father and mother.

As we walked through and discussed the first five Commandments, we talked about some of these points.

With the first Commandment, we spent some time talking about false gods. In the time of Moses, the issue was not to worship the sun, the Earth, a statue, etc. We asked the students to think about some of the false gods people may encounter today. They came up with ideas like money, drugs, alcohol, fame, celebrities, and so on. We connected the Commandment to relevant issues today.

The second Commandment, to not take the Lord’s name in vain, was fairly easy for them to grasp.

We talked about the concept of a Sabbath and why most Christians consider Sunday the Sabbath, rather than the “seventh day” (Saturday.) We pointed out that many early Christian leaders wanted to make a distinction between their older Jewish faith and their new Christian religion. Designating Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, as the Sabbath was one way to do that. We also discussed that in today’s culture, we have largely gotten away from the concept of resting and avoiding work on the Sabbath, and not necessarily for the better.

As we discussed the fourth (Honor your father and mother.) Commandment, we emphasized several points. The Commandment may seem fairly obvious to fifth graders because they are still very dependent on their parents for the essentials of living. However, even ten and eleven year-olds may need to be reminded from time to time to love, respect and obey their parents. We pointed out that the main thrust of the Commandment was not towards children, but rather towards adults, especially adults whose parents are older and may depend on them. Role reversal. At the time the Commandments were written, it was not unusual for older, dependent tribe members who became a burden to be rejected or abandoned to die. While we typically don’t do that today, the Commandment is especially important when parents or grandparents grow older and need the younger family members love and assistance.

We finished up with “You shall not kill.” As expected, that prompted questions about exceptions, like war, accidents and self-defense. Then one of our students suggested that euthanasia (Although, she did not use that word.) would be acceptable with a terminally ill person. That tossed us back a little. We talked some about the sanctity of life and that life is a gift from God. We ran out of time before we ran out of the subject. We will be taking it up first-thing on Wednesday. Should be fun.

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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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