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Posts Tagged ‘eucharist’

It was a bit of an odd class last night. We had only four students, but we didn’t generate a lot of energy so it seemed like an uphill struggle. We seem to go through this about this time every year — the mid-winter CCD blahs. I need to be a little more creative next week to promote better engagement.

We wanted to finish off last week’s lesson that we didn’t complete, and also to fill in some gaps that became evident in our discussion last week. Last week, most of the students had difficulty identifying and explaining the two parts of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We started by reviewing the order of the Mass. We pointed out that structurally, the Mass is a lot like going to a friend’s house for dinner with your family. You greet. You talk and listen. You bring a gift. You help prepare the meal. And then you have a meal. We distributed missalettes along with a worksheet. The idea was to find the answers on the worksheet by looking them up in the missalette. For example, “What is the first reading this Sunday?”

We then worked our way through the Holy Days of Obligation and other Church holy days, like Ash Wednesday. At this point, the students’ eyes were starting to glaze over. So we took a break and played several short videos on the Liturgical Year and Holy Days of Obligation.

Next week we are going to cover the structure of the Catholic Church and touch a little on the Bible.

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We had an interesting class last Wednesday. Our faith assessment exercise dealt with some basic Catholic teachings and practices.

The source of divine revelation? Scripture and tradition.

The Precepts of the Church. (ie: obligations as Catholics)

— Attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

–Confession at least once a year

–Receive the Eucharist during Easter Season.

–Observe days of fast and abstinence

–Help provide for the needs of the Church (time, treasure and talent)

The follow up discussion was interesting. Many of these concepts were foreign to the students, so we had some “I didn’t know that!” responses.

The faith assessment also included a section on the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. We explained the differences and asked the students to place each virtue in the correct category.

Theological – Faith, Hope and Charity (or Love)

Cardinal – Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude

We had to define most of them and explained that the Theological Virtues are gifts from God and concern our relationship to God. The Cardinal Virtues were actually first conceived by Plato and concern our relationships to fellow humans.

After a fair amount of discussion, we walked across the hall to view a video by a Father Barron on the Theological Virtues. The video is targeted for adults, but, as I told the students, they should be able to follow most of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuyKsaj6GbM&t=117s

When we returned to our classroom, we were just about out of time. We left them with a homework assignment. We would appreciate it if our parents would follow up on this. Our next class will deal with the Cardinal Virtues in more depth. Their assignment is to do a little internet research on the Cardinal Virtues, so they will have some background before they come to class. Here is a site with some information I have used.

http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/tp/Cardinal_Virtues.htm

Important scheduling information — We will have no class this week, since it would be the night before Thanksgiving. Also, we will not have class next week, November 30, as that is the evening of our parish’s Confirmation Mass. We will be back December 7.

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Three classes left to go. We’re in the home stretch, with two of our more interesting classes still ahead of us. Unfortunately, our lesson last week was not one of them. We covered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (Ch 18).

We hit several key points.

The Sacrament has evolved over the years when it was called “Last Rites” and was administered only to those on death’s door.

Anyone can receive the Sacrament, if they are seriously ill, facing surgery or other health issue

It can be received more than once.

The purpose of the Sacrament is to heal the recipient spiritually, not necessarily physically. Although, we did discuss the frequent link between mental and emotional health, and physical health. For example, we hear about people who just “worry themselves sick.”

The Sacrament is frequently combined with Reconciliation and the Eucharist. When a person is near death, he/she may be given a tiny piece of the Eucharist called “viaticum” (provisions for the road or journey).

We were sidetracked with an interesting set of questions, starting with one student asking what would happen if a person took excessive use of the Sacrament. When I asked her why someone would do that, she said, “I don’t know. Maybe as a way to get attention?” These kids are more astute than sometimes we give them credit.

Our next class will focus on the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is usually a fairly interesting class. The following week, we will do a lesson on prayer, which also is pretty good. We’ll finish up on April 27 with as visit from Monsignor Costigan, and maybe some pizza to celebrate the completion of another year.

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On Wednesday night, we completed our coverage of the Eucharist by focusing our efforts on the order of the Mass.

We began by re-emphasizing two important concepts from our last class two weeks ago. The first, and most important, is that Jesus Christ is truly present in for form of the bread and wine. The consecrated host and wine are not merely symbolic of Jesus, but he is actually present. The official term is “Real Presence.” We pointed to several symbols in the room, a crucifix, a flag and a statue of Mary, and talked about how these are not really Jesus, our country or the Blessed Mother. They are just symbols to remind us of them. However, when we participate in Holy Communion, we are actually bringing Jesus into us. The second concept is simply that the Mass and the Eucharist are synonymous. The entire purpose of the Mass is the Eucharist. One does not exist without the other.

In our last class, we explained that the first Eucharist was at the Last Supper, which was a traditional Jewish Seder meal. We continued the analogy of the Mass as a meal by comparing it to visiting another family for dinner — except, we are visiting God in his house. Typically, we would:

Greet the host and exchange pleasantries – Introductory Rites

Chat and visit – Liturgy of the Word

Bring a dish, bottle of wine, etc  — Offertory and Presentation of the Gifts

Help prepare the meal – Preparation of the Eucharist

Eat dinner – The Liturgy of the Eucharist

Say Good bye – Concluding Rites

We passed out a single-page outline of the Mass the students could take with them to Mass on Sunday to help them follow along.

We had volunteers read portions of the text dealing with Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. We then asked the students to pair-up with a partner and to read the page and a half of the text that covered the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We handed out a sheet with five questions, the answers for which could be found in the text. (basically one question for each paragraph) We asked them to work together to read the pages and to find the answers to the questions. When they were done, we discussed their answers.

As our final exercise, we distributed missalettes from the church and demonstrated how they could use one to follow what was happening during Mass.

And finally, as we usually do, we went around and asked each student what they learned that night. We handed out a colored-ink pen as a reward for an answer. Somewhat surprisingly, after all we had covered in the past hour, we had a little trouble extracting an answer from some students. But in the end, we got at least something out of each student and all went home with a new pen.

 

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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 just looked and realized that, once again, I did not post an update on last week’s class. I might be losing my mind.

In any case, last week, we covered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject is important, but the class wasn’t the most interesting. The major point we tried to drive home was that as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present (Real Presence) in the consecrated bread and wine. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic, as is practiced in some Protestant churches.

Given the importance of that sacrament, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little more time on it and reinforce the concepts. So we had the students complete the end-of-chapter exercises and then we discussed their answers. Several students, who were not there last week, had some difficulty, but they were allowed to look for the answers in the preceding chapter. Actually, the textbook publishers really make it fairly easy. Most of the answers to the review exercises are highlighted in red text in the book. We allowed them to work with a partner, but most of the class preferred to just work on their own.

We only had about 20 minutes left when we completed our discussion of the Eucharist. (I am the Les Miles of class time management. If you don’t recognize the reference, ask a college football fan.) I wanted to cover a short chapter on the liturgical year. We really didn’t have time to go step-by-step through the chapter. So instead we just talked a little about the liturgical year and the Church’s upcoming “New Years Day” on November 30 (First Sunday of Advent.)

We will have no class next week, as it is the evening before Thanksgiving. We’re back on December 3. The rest of our classes until the Christmas break will be devoted to preparation for the Christmas Pageant. The third grade will provide the actors and the fifth grade will provide the narrators. I polled the class to get an idea of who wants to read and who would just as soon be one of the shepherds or whatever.

What I really need from parents is an idea of who I can count on for our two “performances.” The first performance will be during the regular last regular CCD class session before the break, December 17. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that all the children will be available for that program.

The second program will be at the children’s Mass on Christmas Eve afternoon. I’m not sure of the exact time. We know that some of our students may not be available for that program because of travel plans, other family plans or whatever. So what I need to know is who will be available or not for Christmas Eve. I will sort out the readers and give them assignments based on that information. Some students may read at one program, and some may read at both. We’ll just have to see how the chips fall.

So parents, please send me an email and let me know if your child will be available to participate in the Christmas Eve program. We had one student who said her family might be travelling as early as the December 17 date. If this is also the case with any students, please let me know that also.

My email is: savannahmike1130 at gmail.com (Obviously, insert the @ sign in place of “at.”)

I will also be sending out an email to all the parents for whom I have addresses this weekend with the same request.

I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving holiday. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work with your fantastic children. See y’all in December.

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I didn’t write an update last week, but I didn’t even realize it until I sat down to write this update. Sorry ‘bout that. Actually, the two classes were really one lesson, just split into two weeks, so this should work. .

I’d like to start by praising this group of students once again. The class is fairly large — 18 at full attendance. They can be energetic and enthusiastic, but when it is time to calm down and listen, they can do that. They are generally interested in what we are doing and want to participate. What this means is we can create some lessons that are a little risky from a teaching standpoint, but more interesting for the students. For example, as I will describe below, last night, we had them role-play the Sacrament of Baptism, complete with water and oil (olive.) With some other classes, this could have degenerated into total chaos, but with this class it worked. We had no water fight and no one spilled the olive oil on anyone else. And hopefully, it is more interesting than just reading about it from the text. Please help us reinforce this behavior with your children.

Last week, we started a discussion of the Sacrament of Baptism. We began with a discussion of the three purposes of Baptism.

1.) To join us with God
2.) To bring us into the Church
3.) To wipe our souls clean or original and any other sins

We pointed out that usually a Baptism is administered by a priest or deacon, but in the event of an emergency, anyone can perform a Baptism. We mentioned that this is very unusual, and most often occurs in the case of a newborn infant that is not expected to live long enough for a priest to get to the hospital.

All of this opened the floor to a wide-ranging set of questions. We let this run its course, which pretty-much took the rest of the class period. This caused us to postpone our role-play exercise until the following week. On the other hand, if the students are asking appropriate questions, it means they are interested in the subject. I would rather discuss a topic that interests the students than to adhere to our own arbitrary timetable. This is time consuming, because we don’t usually just answer the question immediately. We will turn it around and ask the student, “What do you think?”, then involve other students and take the discussion from there.

Last night, we divided the class into three groups of five or six students. We showed them three pages in the text that describe the celebration of Baptism. We told them we wanted them to work as a team to teach and role-play this process. We had props, including a little water, some olive oil, candles and white tee-shirts (white garment.)

The actual presentations were a little chaotic. If you were watching them, you might not have learned much. However, since we had all three groups do the entire ceremony (rather than breaking it up), we hope they learned and will remember something through their participation.

Looking ahead, we have only one more regular class period before the Christmas break. The Advent program will be November 19. The class sessions between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be taken up by practice for the Christmas Pageant. Originally, I planned to cover the Eucharist before Thanksgiving. I need to take a look and see the best way to tackle the lesson schedule.

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