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Posts Tagged ‘gifts of the holy spirit’

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.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/faith-formation/know-faith/

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJjW3LXuHzo

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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We had no update for last week’s class, because I was not there. Lisa Fogarty took over the class for one evening. (I had an early morning meeting in Atlanta on Thursday morning and had to drive up on Wednesday and spend the night.) I was very happy to hear that Mrs. Fogarty had a great time with the class and was extremely complimentary of the students.

Mrs. F finished off Pentecost last week and made the connection between Pentecost and the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Last night, we picked up on that theme and covered some of the specifics of receiving Confirmation. The key points of discussion included:

  •  During Confirmation we restate our core beliefs (Baptismal promises.) We broke the class into smaller groups and asked them to brainstorm some of their core beliefs as Catholics.
  •  The role of Confirmation sponsors
  •  The meaning of the bishop’s words “…be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit”
  •  The meaning of the Sign of Peace

 In one of our discussions a couple of weeks ago, it was apparent there was some confusion over concept of the “Holy Spirit.” We talked about the Holy Trinity and emphasized that when we refer to the Holy Spirit, we are simply referring to God in his/her role of being with us every day.

 We finished up by introducing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord.) Again we broke the class into groups and assigned each group two or three of the gifts to discuss and come up with an explanation or example. We ran out of time on this exercise. We’ll devote a few minutes to this next week.

 Our main focus next week will be on the concept of prayer. Believe it or not, in past years, this subject has generated a fairly interesting class session. As always, parents are invited and welcome to sit in on any classes and participate (or not) at your comfort level.

 

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First off, my apologies for no update last week. I had work-related meetings in Atlanta that called me away. Mrs. Cathy Scanlon presented one of her programs, which I understand, went very well.

Last night, we were back in business. We finished off the second of our two chapters on the Sacrament of Confirmation. We got off to a rough, but somewhat amusing, start with our opening prayer. The prayer at the beginning of the chapter included a passage in Spanish that was intended to be sung. I am totally non-musical, so that was a non-starter. I thought we would just read it. I asked if any of our students spoke any Spanish, thinking they might be able to read it more easily than the rest of our English-speaking tongues. Two students claimed to speak a little Spanish. However, when it came time for them to read the passage, let’s just say they oversold their abilities. We stumbled through it and trusted that God would understand our hearts were in the right place.

We started with a quick review of our discussion of Pentecost from two weeks ago. We connected the effect of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to Confirmation in the modern day.

We discussed the specific parts of the Confirmation ceremony, including an emphasis on the Baptismal Promises. We pointed out that when people are baptized as infants, they don’t have any choice in the matter and that their godparents make the promises for them. As part of Confirmation, they have the opportunity to make those promises themselves. We broke into the groups and had the groups list and then share some of the key beliefs they hold as Catholics.

As we continued our discussion of the elements of Confirmation, we passed out sheets with three questions on them, and asked the class to read a section silently and to answer the questions on the sheets, which we then discussed.

We emphasized that Confirmation brings the candidates into full initiation in the Church and that from that point on, they are considered adults in the faith.

Finally, we talked about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord). Relating back to Pentecost, we pointed out how the Holy Spirit changed meek and terrified Apostles into bold and brave messengers of God’s word.

As usual, we ran out of time before we ran out of material. We continued our practice of ending class by asking each student to name one thing they learned that night. A cookie is the reward. Some students had to struggle with the question, but all eventually were able to name one thing. Small victories.

The the way, it has taken a while, but I think the class is finally starting to “click” a little with Mrs. Rudolphi and myself. While a good number of the students remain very active and “chatty”, they appear to be a little more engaged and comfortable working with us. Even some of the quieter students, who avoided attention and participation during the fall, are coming out of their comfort zones and participating in discussions. Mrs. Rudolphi continues to be a great “enforcer,” trying to keep a lid on the extraneous chatter, comments and note-passing while I focus more on the lesson.

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The subject matter for last night’s class was not the most compelling, but we had a pretty good session anyway.

The overall subject was Grace, which we described as God’s love. We compared it to parental love. (This is a reinforcement of the discussion we had on October 6.) The Sacraments are God’s way of conveying his Grace / Love to us. We talked about how a demonstration of parental love (a hug, a word of encouragement, etc) can provide motivation. Similarly, Grace / God’s love gives us the strength and motivation to live good lives, etc.

We read the story of St Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. We discussed how this was a vivid demonstration of receiving Grace. We talked about how God only rarely hits someone in such an unmistakable manner. Rather than shouting, God usually whispers, and it is we who must listen.

We lightly touched on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We didn’t spend much time on them. That is a sufficiently large subject that we could spend several class sessions on them, and we don’t have time for that.

We read the story of Sister (Saint) Katherine Drexel, a missionary to Native Americans and African Americans in the late 19th and early 20th century.

We finished up with a “quiz bowl” reviewing some of the material we have covered to date.

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