Posts Tagged ‘grace’

We had a really good class last night. Mrs. Rudolphi and I are liking these kids more and more every week. They are bright, attentive, cooperative and engaged.

As the students arrived, we had them complete a crossword puzzle with answers from last week’s lesson. We had one somewhat funny coincidence. The answer for one of the words was to be “blessedtrinity.” One student answered “theholytrinity.” Not only is it the same thing, but the letter-count is the same, and the third letter is a “cross letter” and it is an “e” in each answer. We all got a chuckle out of that.

We continue to work on reinforcing their knowledge of the basic prayers. They had the Hail Mary down pat, so we moved on to the Lord’s Prayer.

The rest of the evening was spent on Chapter 3, which is a broad-brush overview of the Sacraments. We started by handing out a work sheet with two columns, labeled…

Sacraments I have received

Sacraments I expect to receive at some time

We asked them to fill in the boxes based on their own experience. We used this as a springboard to explain each Sacrament. Most were not familiar with Holy Orders or Anointing of the Sick. It led to a good Q & A discussion. Many did not understand that it IS possible for someone to receive all seven Sacraments. And much to their surprise, there are actually a few married Catholic priests with families.

We divided the class into pairs and threes and asked them to read P 36 together and to answer three questions which they would find the answers in the text.

What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Many good answers)

What is the greatest gift of God’s love? (Jesus)

What is sanctifying grace?

This led to a good discussion of grace. Most had just a scant understanding, and the definition in the book didn’t help much. We explained grace as simply being God’s love for them. To bring it to life, we asked if there were times that they felt their parents love more than others. Many good answers, like hugs, comforting moments, and so on. We used this concept to explain that the Sacraments are God’s way of transmitting his love to us, just like a parent transmits his or her love through a hug or a kiss.

We showed the class that the Sacraments are divided into three categories.

Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Annointing of the Sick)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

It was a good discussion and they seemed to grasp the concepts.

We had volunteer read aloud from text and covered the concepts of Christian initiation (process of becoming a member of the Church) and a Common Vocation (a call for all Christians to live good and holy lives and to be witnesses of the faith.)

That got us only about half way through the chapter. Next week we will finish off.


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Our students (five) were lively and engaged last night, even on an evening when their teacher was not at the top of his game.

We continued our march through the faith assessment as groundwork  for serious Confirmation prep starting next year in seventh grade. If you would like to see the information we are using as our guide this year, you can find it on the parish Website here.

Our subject last night was the Sacraments. I would have thought that it would be a fairly easy topic, seeing as we spent all of last year (5th grade) covering them. We distributed a quiz that asked the students to define grace, and then to list the seven Sacraments by category (Initiation, Healing and Service of Communion) and provide a short definition. We then discussed the results, which were mixed. We had a fairly wide ranging discussion with questions like…

“Can a person receive all seven sacraments?” (Yes)

“Can a person receive Annointing of the Sick more than once?” (Yes)

And so on.

We then played a short (about three minutes) video about grace and the various types of grace. After we watched it once, we told the class, that we would play it again, and this time, they should really try to pull at least a couple of concepts or ideas out of it. After our second viewing, we discussed the ideas the students pulled from the piece. It went well. Since the idea of playing the video twice came to me on a whim, I’m glad it worked out.

The overall message of the class was that the Sacraments are a means God uses to convey grace. As our final exercise, we divided the class into a group of two (boys) and three (girls) (self-selected, by the way) and asked them to draw a picture of one of the white boards that depicts he conveyance of grace through one of the Sacraments. They could pick whichever Sacrament they want. Both groups did well, and the girls even did a short skit to complement theirs.

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Hello, parents!

Thank you for “tuning in.” I had no report on last week’s class, because I was travelling. Mrs. Rudolphi took the class and reported it went well.

Last night, we began our overview of the Sacraments. (Chapter 3 in the text for anyone following along at home.) As I mentioned in our initial get-acquainted session a couple of weeks ago, we are going to try to reinforce memorization of some of the essential Catholic prayers. We begin with the Hail Mary. We prayed it at both the beginning and end of class. It would be great if you would help support this at  home in the form of bedtime prayers or what-not.

After our opening prayer, we handed out a worksheet that contained a chart with two columns, labeled “Sacraments I have already received” and “Sacraments I expect to receive.” We asked them to refer to the list of the Sacraments in the text and to list their personal experience appropriately. We then talked about it. (We had one priest, one married person and several who believed they have already been confirmed.)

Then we broke the class into pairs and small groups and asked them to read page 36 and work together to find the answers to three questions, also on the work sheet.

–What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Vary’s by student.)

–What is the greatest gift of God’s love? (Jesus Christ)

–What is sanctifying grace? (See below.)

In our subsequent discussion, it took a little bit of talking to get the students to recognize the existence of God’s love in the world around them. After one student mentioned she had a pony, most of the rest of the class focused their thoughts on pets. We discussed it a little to get them to expand their perspective.

Most of the students were unfamiliar with the concept of “grace” or “sanctifying grace.” We defined it as simply God’s love. When we talk about “grace”, we are just referring to God’s love. To link it to the Sacraments, we compared God’s love to a parent’s love of their child. All the students agreed that they felt their parents’ love for them when they got a hug or kiss. We discussed other ways that they could feel their parents’ love, including fixing them meals, taking care of them in general, and so on. We described the Sacraments as God’s way of conveying his love to his people. Like a parent conveys their love with a hug and kiss, God conveys his love through the Sacraments. I think they “got it!” Score one for the home team.

We discussed that the Church has divided the Sacraments into three general categories:

–Sacraments of Initiation

–Sacraments of Healing

–Sacraments of Service

And we extracted a listing of each category from discussion with the students.

We had volunteers read the short summary of the Sacraments of Initiation. This introduced two concepts.

–Christian Initiation is the process of becoming a member of the Church. In Baptism, we initially join the Church. In Confirmation, we reinforce that membership. And in the Eucharist, we maintain and strengthen our membership.

–As Catholics we are called to a “common vocation” to holiness and evangelization. We discussed that as Catholics, we are called to live our lives the way Jesus taught, following the teachings of the Church, loving our fellow mankind, etc.  We asked them to brainstorm a little and think of some way they would respond to God’s love tomorrow. We had some good answers, but most involved saying a prayer. We discussed the concept and explored other examples.

Although, we had only covered half the chapter, that pretty much finished us up for the night. As will be our usual practice, we went around the room and asked each student to tell us something they learned that night. All were successful, and were rewarded with a cookie.

I will not be available to teach next week’s class. (After that, my schedule should settle down, and I should be able to be there nearly all of not all the classes.) Mrs. Rudolphi will take the lead again. The class will have a “field trip” to the church with the third grade class. Third grade teacher Mrs. Hogan will take the two classes on a “tour” and tell them about the stories behind the stained glass windows. Should be interesting. I wish I could be there  myself.  Please meet in the classroom as usual. If there is a change in the pick-up plan, we’ll let you know before next Wednesday.

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I had no update on last week’s class, because I was out-of-town on vacation. Mrs. Rudolphi took over and did a fantastic job, as I understand.

Last week’s focus was on the chapter that provided an overview of the seven Sacraments. This is very important, as it is the overview of the entire year. Among other activities, Mrs. R broke the class into groups and had each group teach one of the sub-sets of the Sacraments.

Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation

Sacraments of Healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick

Sacraments of Service of Communion – Matrimony and Holy Orders

Mrs. R told me it went better than she expected. That’s always a nice surprise.

Last week’s lesson was sufficiently important, we thought it worthwhile to spend last night reviewing and solidifying it. We began by allowing the students to work with a partner and complete two review activities in the text book. One was a word-scramble. The other was a combination of T-F and matching. We then spent the rest of the class discussing the quizzes. This gave us the opportunity to review some more complex terms and concepts. Like…

Sanctifying Grace – No one could really explain this concept, which was no surprise. We described grace as simply God’s love for us as individuals. We compared it to a parent’s love. We asked the class to think of times when they really felt their parents’ love, such as when they are praised, given a hug, and so on. An act like a love and kiss is a parent’s way of conveying love to a child. The Sacraments are God’s way of conveying his love (grace) to each of us.

Common Vocation – Firstly, we described the meaning of “vocation.” The common vocation is essentially our calling to holiness and evangelization. We discussed evangelization a little. We pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean preaching. It also means showing you follow God by the way you love your life and the way you treat other people.

We issued one assignment for the week ahead. We asked the students to look for opportunities to serve God by the way they treat other people. Next week, we will ask them what they did in the week that demonstrated service to some other person. We suggested it may be something as simple as picking up a book another student drops on the school bus.

We spent a little more time discussing the meanings of the three categories of Sacraments and why they are called that.

The Sacraments of Initiation are all beginnings of one type or another.

The Sacraments of Healing each involve a spiritual healing.

The Sacraments of Service (of Communion) involve service. We asked the class “who is being served by whom” in Matrimony and Holy Orders. They had a little difficulty grasping that in Matrimony, the husband and wife serve each other. They got the Holy Orders concept of serving both God and man a little easier.

So, this week, please ask your son or daughter, what they have done or are doing to demonstrate they are serving God through their actions towards others. Next week, we’ll start getting more in depth into Baptism.

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We had a fairly wild class. We tried something different, and it really didn’t work very well. Lesson learned.

The subject was the Sacrament of Baptism. We skipped over the first of the two chapters in the text that deal with Baptism. So we started with some basic information. We talked about the three main effects of Baptism.

1. Provides a source of God’s love (grace.)

2. Wipes us free from sin. Short discussion on the concept of Original Sin.

3. Initiates us into the Church, God’s family, the Body of Christ.

We then divided the class into four groups and assigned each group one section of the next chapter (five) to read and prepare to teach to the rest of the class.

Group one focused on the differences between baptizing adults and older children versus infants. Also talked about preparation for Baptism and godparents.

Group two focused on the initial parts of the Baptism ceremony including Sacred Chrism, the Sign of the Cross and prayers.

Group three dealt mostly with the significance of water in the Sacrament.

Group four focused on the manner of applying the Holy Water (immersion vs sprinkling) and the significance of the white garment and candle.

We did this on a small scale a few weeks ago and it worked out fairly well. Unfortunately, last night it was very difficult to get most of the students to focus on the task. They were much more interested in chatting and joking with their friends, even if they were not part of their group. I take the “blame” for that. I should have seen it coming, but by time it was obvious it wasn’t working, there was not sufficient time in the class period to change course. We plowed on through to the finish. However, we are going to carefully think about it before we try this teaching technique again.

We finished up, as we have for the past several weeks, by asking each student what they learned that evening. Every child was able to cite some topic we had discussed with very little duplication among them. I realize asking a student to name just one thing they learned is not setting the bar very high. Nonetheless, it is rewarding to get that small piece of feedback.


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We had a good class last night, active and involved, but not out of control. This was really only my second full class session with them. I am just now starting to get to know the students – their strengths and weaknesses; those we are quick to respond and those who need to be drawn out, and so on. The whole process improves when we get to know each other a little better.

The main theme for the entire year in 5th grade CCD is the Sacraments.  We began our efforts in this direction with a broad overview of the seven Sacraments. We asked the students to make a list of the Sacraments they have already received and those they expect to receive in the future.

As we got into the text, we ran up against a number of terms and concepts that were pretty-much new to the class.

  • Evangelazation
  • Vocations
  • Sanctifying Grace
  • Initiation

So we had to take a detour and discuss the meaning of these terms.

The term “evangelization” was a new one to nearly all the students. After defining the concept, we brainstormed on different ways they, as fifth graders, could answer the call to evangelization.  We suggested the best way to evangelize is simply to live a good life and serve as an example.  “Actions speak louder than words.”

We discussed the concept of a “vocation” as a calling and provided some examples.

We discussed “sanctifying grace.” We described “grace” in general as simply God’s love. We compared it to the love of a parent to their child, and continuing the metaphor, we asked the class to think of times when they felt their parents’ love more than others. (ie: getting a hug, comforting, praising, etc.) Just as a hug is a way a parent can convey his or her love to a child, the Sacraments are God’s way of extending his love (grace) to us.

We discussed the three categories of Sacraments:

  • Sacraments of Christian (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
  • Sacraments of Healing (Penance/Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had time to briefly go over the three categories and discuss each Sacrament.  Next week, we’ll do a little review/reinforcement and then move on to a more detailed study of Baptism.

We finished up with a practice I may make a regular part of the program. At the beginning of class, I told the students that I would be asking each of them a question at the end of class, “What did you learn tonight?” Just before the end, I asked the question and went through the class for answers.  Everyone answered with something we had covered, and were rewarded with a chocolate chip cookie. They seemed to like that. Maybe we’re on to something.  🙂

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We are not making very fast progress through the curriculum, but we sure are having some interesting classes. We are having lots of discussions, questions, etc.

We started with a quick overview of Chapter 3 of Matthew. Only a few students had read it before the class. Your help reminding your child about that weekly assignment would be greatly appreciated. This week’s assignment is Chapter 4.

Since it has been a couple of weeks since we covered the first half of the chapter, we continued with a review of the main points.

We covered the Seven Sacraments —  broken down into the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) and Communion of Service (Matrimony and Holy Orders.)

We discussed the concept that we receive Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments.  Again, we described “grace” as simply God’s love. We compared God’s love to parental love. Through the Sacraments, we receive God’s love, in a similar fashion that a child receives and feels his/her parents’ love through actions like a hug and kiss. As Mrs. Rudolphi put it, “The Sacraments are God’s way of giving you a hug.”

We discussed the concept of a vocation as a calling. We talked about how, as Catholics, we share a common vocation to holiness and evangelization. Of course, the term “evangelization” was a new one to nearly all the students. After defining the concept, we brainstormed on different ways they, as fifth graders, could answer the call to evangelization.  We suggested the best way to evangelize is simply to live a good life and serve as an example.  One student correctly described it as being a “role model.” We emphasized that they should not go out of their way to call attention to their actions, ie: showing off. Rather, just do the right thing (What would Jesus do?) and let their actions be their message.

Several weeks ago, we briefly covered the Sacraments of Initiation. So last night, we did an overview of the remaining four. There wasn’t much discussion of Reconciliation, as the students were already familiar with it.

We had many questions about the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. We pointed out that modern medicine has accepted that there is a definite connection between a person’s mental/spiritual outlook and their physical health. So Anointing of the Sick serves two purposes. Together with Reconciliation and the Eucharist, it prepares a person for the possibility (or imminence) of death, but it also can serve a healing role in a spiritual sense.

The students had greater difficulty getting their minds around the Sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders. They seemed to understand that through Holy Orders, a priest enters a life of service. They had a little tougher time understanding that a man and woman enter a life of service to each other through Matrimony.

We had a lot of discussion about why priests are not allowed to marry (most of the time.) One of the students asked if, instead of getting married, a priest just “had a regular relationship?”  Yikes! That one came out of the blue. We talked a little about the hierarchy of deacons, priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope. And, of course, we mentioned that Savannah has a new bishop.

We finished off with a story about the exceptions to the “no married priests” rule. Yes, there are some married priests. Ask your child about it. See if anyone was listening.

By the way, our text is published by Sadlier Publishing Company. If you are interested, you can find some outlines and other material at their Web site. We are using the  “Project Disciple – We Believe” curriculum.

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