Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘easter’

We had a change-of-plans last night. Mrs. Hubert organized a child-friendly Stations of the Cross service. So after meeting for a few minutes in the classroom and providing a little background and the Stations of the Cross, we headed over to the church. Father Paul and I shared the readings and all the CCD classes participated in the prayer section of each station.

I think it was a good experience for the class. In our discussion beforehand, it was apparent that no one in the class had ever been to a Stations service, or at least didn’t remember. Neither could anyone identify the significance of Good Friday.

After the service, we had only a few minutes until dismissal time. We spent it talking about the importance of the next few days (Easter Triduum) to Catholics, and how it is the most important few days in the Church year.

We will be meeting every Wednesday through our last class on April 27. Since we have lost two class periods to a power failure (Feb 24) and last night’s “special event.” That leaves us just four class sessions to cram in the last half of our coverage of Penance, along with Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders. So we will be sprinting to the finish line.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

We are approaching the finish line. Only two more classes left in the CCD year.

 

Last night, we covered Holy Week, especially the Eastern Triduum and Easter. We started by asking the students to name some ways they show they express love to someone, and then said we would be talking about how Jesus expressed his love for all of us.

 

We began by having the students both read aloud and silently some material in the text covering Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

 

–We talked about the meaning of the term “Paschal Mystery.”

 

–We discussed why the resurrection is the center of the Christian faith.

 

–We compared the Mass on Holy Thursday to the Last Supper, which is essentially the basis of our modern Mass.

 

–We talked about the practice of washing feet, in Biblical times and now on Good Friday.

 

–We discussed why the cross is the central image of Christ’s suffering and death.

 

–We talked about the veneration of the cross ceremony on Good Friday evening.

 

–We indicated that Holy Saturday is usually a quiet day, leading up to the celebration of the resurrection at the Easter Vigil Mass.

 

We transitioned to an entirely different chapter in the text to discuss Easter.

 

–We compared the feeling of Lent of sacrifice and penance, culminating with the remembrance of Jesus’s death and burial to that of Easter, a joyous celebration.

 

–We had three volunteers role-play a dialogue from the text describing the scene on the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene and others went to Jesus’s tomb only to find an angel waiting for them.

 

–We discussed the signs of Easter, like white and gold vestments, Alleluias, and the readings from the Acts of the Apostles.

 

–We also talked a little about how Jesus appeared to many people during the next 40 days.

As always, we finished by asking each student to name one thing they learned in that class, and rewarded all reasonable answers with a cookie. Last night, that process went exceptionally well.

 

Next week we will cover Holy Orders. Our final class will be April 30. We will do something special, but I’m not sure just what yet. I have two weeks to think about it.

Read Full Post »

We had a pretty good, but not great, class last night. Normally the subject of the Sacrament of Matrimony generates many more questions and much more discussion. Last night our group was pretty flat.

 

So we tackled Matrimony and marriage. Some of the key points we discussed included:

 

–Matrimony is probably the single sacrament, along with Holy Orders that will have an effect on your subsequent life every day. Your choice of a spouse is probably the single most important decision you will make in your life.

 

– 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. We discussed some historical trends on gender equality and also the way the genders are perceived in other parts of the world, like the Middle East.

 

– 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.

 

– 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 Catholic Church takes Matrimony very seriously. The Church believes the union is intended to be permanent. It is difficult to get out of a Catholic marriage, but it is also difficult to get into it. Priests screen and counsel couples to try to make sure they know what they are getting into and are making a good decision. You can’t just show up at a parish office and ask to get married this afternoon, like you can at the county courthouse. Mrs. Rudolphi shared her experience of getting married. At the time, she and her husband were of different faiths. One minister declined to marry them because he thought that would be too much of an difference to overcome.

 

–We discussed some of the specifics of the marriage ceremony and also the concept of fidelity. We also discussed the concept that in Matrimony, the bride and groom are the actual celebrants and the priest is a witness and blesses the union.

 

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. In other words, as we reinforced, “Your parents’ biggest job is to be your parents. Don’t make that job unnecessarily difficult.”

 

We have three more classes left. We will actually teach lessons in the next two, and probably do something fun and special for the last class. Next week, we plan to cover Holy Week and Easter. We’ll finish up the Sacraments with a discussion of Holy Orders the week after Easter.

 

Read Full Post »

I have assembled a schedule of lessons for the rest of the CCD year. Just so you’ll know, this is highly optimistic. There are all kinds of things that can and will divert us from this plan, but at least it gives us a yard stick to measure how far behind we are at any time.

By the way, several years ago, we arranged for a family in our parish to have their newborn son baptized on a Wednesday evening. We used the Baptism ceremony as a teaching tool. It worked out very well for both the CCD classes and the family. Monsignor Costigan did everything the same as he would otherwise. The ceremony was held n the church with no shortcuts. The only differences were that Monsignor explained what he was doing and its significance at each step. And the child had about 150 honorary godparents in attendance. That child’s older sister happens to be in our class this year. We would love to do this again this year, if only we can find parents with a child in need of baptizing who are willing to go along with it. If you are such a parent, or you know someone who might be willing, please let me know.

Here is the tentative class schedule.

 Oct 30 – Eucharist 1 Ch 10

 Nov 6 – Eucharist 2 Ch 11

 Nov 13 – Liturgical Year & Advent Ch 6 & 13

 Nov 20 – Advent Project (family)

 Dec 4 – Christmas Pageant prep

 Dec 11 – Christmas Pageant prep

 Dec 18 – Christmas Pageant program (Family)

 Jan 15 – Confirmation Ch 8

 Jan 22 – Confirmation Ch 9

 Jan 29 – Prayer – Ch 12

 Feb 5 – Ten Commandments (not in textbook)

 Feb 12 – Ten Commandments

 Feb 19 – Reconciliation Ch 16

 Feb 26 – Lent and Easter Triduum Ch 20 & 21

 March 19 – Lent Project (Family)

 March 26 — Anointing of the Sick Ch 18

 April 2 – Matrimony Ch 24

 April 9 – Holy Orders Ch 25

 April 16 – Easter Ch 27

 April 23 – Open

 April 30 – Last Class

Read Full Post »

It was great having the opportunity to meet with this year’s 5th grade CCD class last night.  Mrs. Rudolphi was travelling on business yesterday, so my wife, Patty, came along to assist.

We have a fairly large class. It looks like roughly 20 students as of right now. We typically pick up a few extra in the first weeks of class.

We started with opening prayer, the Hail Mary. My first “lesson” of the year was to teach the students how to properly pray the Sign of the Cross. Too many children at this age have no appreciation for the significance of it, or even realize it is a prayer.  They will quickly wave their hand in the general direction of their forehead and chest and mumble a few words. I showed them how to pray the Sign of the Cross slowly, with their handing touching their forehead, navel, the left shoulder and the right shoulder.

The next item of business was to take a picture of each of the children. I use these “head shots” to create a picture sheet of the class with their names. It allows Mrs. Rudolphi and I to connect names and faces a lot more quickly. Before I started doing this, we had to use name tags for several weeks. Remember, we only have them for less than an hour, and with a week in between classes. It’s hard to remember 20 new names and faces without a little help.

We talked about the general curriculum, which for 5th grade is the sacraments.

We discussed the class rules, which are pretty easy.

1.)   Show up.

2.)   Participate.

3.)   Don’t act like a jerk.

We emphasized the importance of respect, for both their fellow students and us, the teachers.

I could tell from our brief exposure last night that most of the students are fairly well behaved and eager to participate.  However, as expected, there are a few who can be a little rowdy and seek to be the center of attention. We’ll work with them. If that is not successful, we’ll turn to their parents to deal with them.

Parents – Please understand. We do not want to be unnecessarily strict. We like to make the class as fun as we can. And many of our discussions are fairly informal and free ranging. However, we have a relatively short period of time with the students each week. We also feel a strong need to pull everyone, even the quiet kids, into class discussions and activities. We really don’t have the latitude or the patience to compete with students who are disruptive, need to be the center of attention or feel the compulsion to entertain the class with their clowning around.

We still had roughly 30 minutes remaining in the class period, so we taught a short lesson on the liturgical year. We compared the liturgical year to the calendar year and also to other non-calendar years, like the school year and sports seasons. After going through the six seasons of the liturgical year, we finished up with a participation exercise. We read one-sentence descriptions of the various seasons (ie: This season begins on Ash Wednesday.). Whoever first identified the season got up and joined the “team” of other students who had ID’d that season.

We have a smart board in the room and I want to make use of it. Last night, however, there was some password problem that kept it out of operation.

As I mentioned in my last posting, I will not be able to attend the next two class sessions. I’ll be back on October 10. The students should still meet in the classroom at 6:30 pm. Mrs. Rudolphi will be there to organize things. As it stands right now, Father John is preparing a class for next week. Mrs. Cathy Scanlon will take them to the church for a class session the following week.

As I have mentioned before, we invite and encourage parents to sit in on the class at any time.

 

Read Full Post »

Another busy class session last night. We had pretty-close to a full house, with a new student thrown in.

We finish up the Sacrament of Baptism last week, but in the rush to close out the chapter before the end of class, we pretty-much glossed over the important symbols of Baptism (water, sacred chrism (oil), a candle and a white garment.) I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the students to the concept of symbols and their importance in the Church.

We talked a little about the concept of symbols and then I distributed an exercise. I asked them to think of symbols they encounter in their everyday life and draw it on one side of the paper. On the other side they should write what the symbol represents. I had drawn an American flag and the initials “USA” on the top line as an example. The class came up with some pretty good ideas.

From there, we listed the four symbols of Baptism and discussed their meanings.

  • Water – Cleans the soul. Washes away sin.
  • Candle – Light (love) of God.
  • White Garment – A sin-free soul.
  • Sacred Chrism – A physical representation of the Gift of the Holy Spirit

When we finished that, we shifted gears completely and introduced the class to the liturgical year.  We started with a story about a Native American boy who was obsessed with studying and getting ahead and never took time to play with his friends or enjoy life. His grandfather took him fishing to convey a message that there is a time for everything and that he shouldn’t be so focused on just one thing.

We talked about the various ways we keep track of the year, like the normal calendar, sports seasons, the school year and so on. We described the various seasons of the liturgical calendar and their meanings.

We had a little difficulty conveying the reasons why the liturgical calendar doesn’t match up with the regular calendar the same way every year. To that end, we described how the date of Easter moves around, from late-March through late-April, and the formula for the way the date is selected. (Easter is the first Sunday of a full moon, following the vernal equinox. The Church has standardized the date of the full moon in the lunar cycle, the 14th day of the cycle,  and the day of the equinox, March 21, even though it may not be exactly astronomically correct in some years. )

As always, we had a bunch of questions and a lot of discussion. It’s a little rowdy, but for the most part, the class is paying attention and getting involved. Mrs. Rudolphi and I are trying our best to spread things around and include more of the class in the various discussions.

And a final note – one of our students, Alexis, and her mom are collecting canned food for the homeless. They will collect the cans next week during CCD. Your child should have given you a flier.

Read Full Post »