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Posts Tagged ‘consecration’

Well, we certainly had an unusual CCD session last night. As your child probably told you, the fire alarm in the school went off at around 6:35 pm. It turned out to be a problem with the alarm, but we reacted as if it might not be. We corralled the students and headed towards the front door. Mrs. Hubert directed us into the gymnasium. I think she didn’t want 150 children wandering around the parking lot in the dark. After a few minutes in the gym, we headed out again, this time for the church.

We remained there until about 7:05, listening to the eighth grade Confirmation class practicing their spiel about their Confirmation-saint. Our class may have found it interesting, because they sat quietly and were well behaved.

We got back to the school around 7:10 pm, clearly not enough time to cover a full lesson. After taking a moment to get a plan together, we decided to go ahead and begin our lesson on the Eucharist. Wherever we left off, we would just pick up again in the next class on November 18.

The text began with an account of the Last Supper. We talked a little about the original Passover in the Book of Exodus and the evolution of the Jewish Seder meal. The Last Supper was both a Seder meal, as well as the first Mass. In describing the Last Supper, we emphasized the passage that is paraphrased in the Consecration (“This is my body…etc.”) The students were able to identify the passage as something they had heard at Mass.

We spent a fair amount of time talking about the concept of Real Presence. That is, our belief as Catholics that Jesus Christ is truly present in the consecrated host and wine and that Communion is not just symbolic. We contrasted this to the “Communion” as practiced in some Protestant churches which is considered symbolic. We used a crucifix and a statue of Mary as examples of symbols.

We pointed out that the Eucharist is really the central element of the Catholic faith. However, a moment later, when I asked the class what they think is the most important Sacrament, the answers I received were Baptism and Confirmation. Oh well.

No class next week, November 11, due the Confirmation Mass being held at the Church. We’re back on November 18, where we will pick up and, hopefully, complete our coverage of the Eucharist and Mass.

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I’m a little late posting an update for last week’s class. I was traveling for work Thursday and Friday of last week and, to be honest, didn’t think about it over the weekend. Oops.

We had a small group turn out last Wednesday, maybe only 10 or 12 students. We started off the first of two chapters covering the Eucharist. We covered several key points.

–The first Eucharist was at the Last Supper, which in turn was a Jewish Passover meal (Seder.) We talked a little about the origin of the Passover celebration and the Passover story in Exodus. We had a lot of questions about why God would kill the Egyptian first-born sons, which didn’t help us stay in topic. My fault.

–We connected the words in Luke’s Gospel account of the Last Supper to the words used in the consecration in the Mass. We emphasized Jesus’s command to “Do this in memory of me.”

–We discussed the concept of the Real Presence, that Catholics believe that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. This differs from what most Protestant faiths profess, that their “holy communion” is simply representative of Jesus’s body and blood, not a Real Presence.

–We emphasized that the Eucharist is at the very center of what it means to be a Catholic.

I’d like to tell you that I was making a significant impact on the students, but in truth, I think everything I was throwing out was bouncing right back at me.  It wasn’t working. Then we changed the subject.

We were talking a little about the connection to Passover and Jewish history. Students started asking questions about the Bible and the focus switched to the biblical account of creation (Adam and Eve, etc.). There seemed to be a lot of interest, and since I was making such great progress with our earlier topic (sarcasm), I decided to head off in a totally different direction. (We’ll pick up where we left off with the Eucharist this week.)

Most of the students were very confused about the relationship between the biblical account of Creation and what they learn in school. They didn’t understand why Adam and Eve weren’t eaten by the dinosaurs. So we talked a little about how Genesis was written for a group of illiterate, nomadic goat herders who lived in tents in the desert. Those people had no concept of the Big Bang, DNA, evolution or anything of that nature. We told the class that Genesis tells us that God created the world and everything in it, and that what he created is good. However, the Bible is a religious book, not a science text. So it’s up to science to explain what “tools” God used and how he did it. The creation story in Genesis should be viewed as a broad story with a strong underlying truth. The details are left to science. As such, Genesis is not really in conflict with their science classes.

This probably sounds a lot like “intelligent design,” however, I pointed out again, we are teaching a religion class, not a science class.

This week, I want to finish up just a little more on the Creation story and then complete the half-taught lesson on the Eucharist.

An important scheduling note – NEXT WEEK, February 13, is Ash Wednesday. There will be no CCD class. We ask parents to bring their children and join them for Mass at 7 pm.

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Our mission last night was to finish up our lesson on the Eucharist. Our focus was on the Mass, or more specifically, the elements and order of the Mass. I suspected that many in the class really had little idea of what was happening in the Mass, the flow, the purpose of various parts, and so on. So I put together and distributed a two-page “Order of the Mass” and issued each student a missalette.

We started by talking about the recent changes in the priest’s prayers and our responses, and the reasons behind the changes. We talked about the old Latin mass and the changes of the Second Vatican Council.

We compared the Order of the Mass to the students going with their family to visit another family or relatives for dinner. In the Mass, we are visiting God’s house, but the general concept can be similar. For example:

When we go to someone’s house, we are welcomed, just as we are at Mass.

When we go to someone’s house, we start out by talking and visiting. In the Mass (Liturgy of the Word), we also exchange communication with God. Our prayers (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) we address God, and in the readings, God addresses us.

When we visit someone’s house for dinner, we always bring something like dessert or wine. In the offertory, we present gifts to God.

The comparison becomes even closer in the Preparation of the Gifts and the Eucharist itself.

I don’t know how well that idea sunk into the class, but we tried.

We walked through the order of the Mass, referring to both the simple outline I had drawn up and also the missalette. We pointed out several spots in the missalette where it can be difficult to follow.  For example, there are four Eucharistic prayers, and you never know which one the priest will use (although it seems as if #2 seems to be the most common.)

We are continuing our effort to try to get all the students engaged in each class. On some evenings, we are more successful than others. As in most groups, there are a number of students who have their hands up constantly, and, frankly, are fairly demanding of attention. On the other hand, there are also some students who are semi-comatose. They occupy a seat and breathe the air, but that is about it. I wish I could pull some of these kids into the flow of the class.  However, with the class size (25 at full strength) and the relatively short time we have together, there really isn’t much time for the individual attention that would require. I am not suggesting these kids are behavior problems.  I just know that these students are learning nothing in the hour they are spending at CCD each week. That’s a shame.

I am certainly not going to “name names” in this forum. However, as a parent you are always free to call me to see how your child is doing. My contact information is under the “About” tab at the top of this page. Also, you are always more than welcome to sit in on any of our classes.  I promise; I won’t ask you any hard questions.  🙂

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