Posts Tagged ‘communion’

We started the class a little differently this week. We have had a small problem lately with classroom behavior. It hasn’t been terrible, but some of the antics have been distracting, both to the rest of the class and to me. We usually go through this about this time every year.  Mrs. Hanzel has not been able to help out since the Christmas break, so I have been on my own. I realize that the CCD class comes at the end of a long day for them. Their regular school is their “job.” Our class is like overtime.

So I asked the class for their cooperation. I don’t expect or want them to just sit there with their hands folded. We want a lively class with a lot of exchange, but we need some better focus. I try to present lessons that, while not necessarily entertaining, are interesting. We engage in activities like role playing that break up the routine. That doesn’t work when several students are trying to make themselves the center of attention. I asked them to work with me, pay attention and avoid activities that disrupt or distract. For the most part, it worked. I did have to call out two young ladies, who ironically, were late for class and didn’t hear the message. When I was making a point, one who was sitting in the front row, stood up, turned around to her friends and used both hands to point to herself. I addressed her and told her about my talk before she got to class. I told her and the class that was exactly the kind of attention-seeking, distracting activity I was talking about.

For the lesson, we finished our discussion of the Eucharist by focusing on the Mass. Most of the class agreed that they really didn’t understand what was going on. To start off, we compared the structure of the Mass to visiting some friends with their family. In this case, we are visiting in God’s house.

— We start a visit by going to the door and being welcomed by our hosts. This is like the introductory rites.

— Typically, we visit and chat with our friends. This like the opening prayers and the readings. We talk to God and God talks to us.

— And since we never show up for dinner without bringing something, we do the same at Mass. This is the offertory and presentation of the gifts.

— Eventually, we and the host prepare the meal and we sit down and eat. This, of course, is the consecration, Eucharistic prayer and communion.

— And finally, we say good bye and go home. The same at Mass.

We passed out a one-sheet outline of the Mass. It included a column indicating when we sit, stand and kneel. Typically, we stand when we are praying, sit when we are listening and kneel during the most sacred part of the Mass.

We played a video that covered a lot of the same information, but it reinforced the lesson. These Catholic Central videos are energetic and interesting. They may be slightly advanced for 5th graders, but not by much. The class seems to enjoy them. You can watch the one from this week here.

We finished up by passing out the missals/hynmals we use in the church, and showed the class how to use the missal to follow along with the Mass.

Next week, we will begin a two-week lesson on Confirmation.

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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.


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.


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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Sometimes you beat the bear and sometimes the bear beats you. I’m afraid it was my turn to be beaten Wednesday night. The class was reasonably well behaved; that was not the problem. Whether it was the subject material, my teaching efforts or some external force, we just couldn’t get the class engaged. When I mentioned this to Mrs. Rudolphi after class she agreed, but said “Don’t worry about it Mike. I think maybe three of them were listening to you.” In any case, we plow on.

The class was the first of two on the Eucharist. We discussed the origin of the sacrament at the Last Supper, and explained the Last Supper as a celebration of the Jewish Passover. We emphasized that through the Eucharist we are:

Nourished in the Word of God

Joined more closely to Christ and one another

The grace of Baptism grows I us

We are strengthened to love and serve others.

We explained the concept of a covenant, and described the original covenant between God and the Jewish people. We also described how, at the Last Supper, Jesus disposed of the old covenant and created a new covenant for his followers. We celebrate this covenant in the Eucharist.

We discussed the Eucharist’s role as a memorial, a meal and a sacrifice. We had the class break up into pairs to work together. They read a passage from the text and listed ways the Eucharist fits into each of these roles.

We read the story of Jesus appearing to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. The disciples did not recognize Jesus until they stopped for a meal. When Jesus broke the loaf of bread, suddenly the disciples recognized him. We compared this story to connecting with Jesus through the breaking of bread in the Eucharist.

We particularly emphasized the key Catholic belief that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. (Real Presence) We pointed out that while many Protestant churches have communion services, they believe the bread and wine (or grape juice) only represent Jesus. We believe that while the bread and wine do not change chemically, Jesus is truly present there.

We briefly discussed he concept of Jesus as the “bread of life.”

We gave out two “homework” assignments.

  1. To ask their parents to take them to Mass this weekend, and, when they receive the Eucharist, to think about the concepts we discussed.
  2. If they have not already done so, read all of the Gospel of Matthew through Chapter 8. We’ll have a short quiz at the start of class next week.

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