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Posts Tagged ‘liturgy’

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 continued our trek through the elements of the Catholic faith as detailed in the parish’s “Faith Assessment.” Last night’s subject was liturgical celebrations. We covered such things as the two parts of the Mass, the liturgical year, holy days of obligations, etc. You can take a look at the material — questions AND answers on the parish Web site here.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-10-liturgical-celebrations/

Many of these were “head scratchers” for our students. This surprised me a little, because I know they have been exposed to this material in the past. We taught some of it during the fifth grade year we shared. I really didn’t expect anyone to have trouble identifying Ash Wednesday, for instance.  That’s all the more reason Mrs. Rudolphi and I try to find ways to make the material we teach “stick” with the students after they walk out the door. Sometimes we are more successful than others, I guess.

Monsignor Costigan paid us a visit, which is always interesting. He quizzed the class on some of the Church’s holy days. We called him back in a few minutes later, when we had a question about the Paschal Candle. I thought it was at the front of the church, but one of our students, an altar server was sure it was at the back. Monsignor Costigan cleared that up and we were both right. The Paschal Candle is beside the altar during Easter Season and then moves to the back of the church for the rest of the year. I really should pay closer attention.

We finished up a little early so the students could visit the book fair. Next week, we will finish up on the liturgical celebrations and maybe get into the Church’s leadership and structure.

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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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Sorry for being a day late on posting this summary. Yesterday was just busy.

We had a good class session Wednesday evening. The subject was the second half of our examination of the Mass. But first we reviewed some of last week’s material. We covered the Opening Rites and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, focusing on the three readings and the responsorial psalms.

Last week we asked everyone to go home and look up the meaning of the word “psalm.” An extra cookie was promised as a reward to anyone who got it right. Some students did the assignment, and some did not. In the confusion of extracting the answers, I lost track of who had the correct answer and who did not. We gave everyone an extra cookie, which was probably a bad idea. Mrs. R said she knew who had the answers and who did not. I probably should have listened to her.

By the way, “psalm” originally meant a musical piece played by a stringed instrument. We accepted “song” or anything close to that.

We had the students read to themselves the section in the text that covered the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites. We handed out a sheet with four questions on it. They were to answer the questions based on the information they read in the text. Then we discussed.

We finished by discussing the closing blessing, typically something like, “The Mass is ended, go forth and serve the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We talked about the idea that the blessing is really a set of marching orders, to take the spirit of the Mass and carry it with us throughout the week. We broke the class into groups of two or three and asked them to brainstorm ways they could serve God and their neighbors during the rest of the day and week.

When we asked the first group what they had come up with, they asked if they could present it as a charade. With most of my past classes, that would have been a non-starter. However, with this class I thought it was worth a shot. In fact, it worked out just great, so much so they all wanted to go around a second or third time.

We finished off with some important announcements, which are in a separate posting. Please take note of these.

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Last night, we tackled he second of our two lessons on the Eucharist.  Actually, we didn’t finish up, so we’ll close it out next week. The basic idea of last night’s lesson was to walk the class through the Mass, explaining the structure, prayers, etc.

Last week, 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 read our way through Chapter 11 in the text, covering the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. That opened the discussion to about a million questions.  We made a point of trying to extract most of the answers from the class, rather than simply answering them ourselves.

We broke off the Q&A, promising to get back to it next week, because I really wanted to introduce the students to the missalette. We borrowed some from the church for this purpose. We gave the student some basic instructions about how to use the missalette to follow along with the Mass. I’m not sure we made a real strong impression with this part of the lesson. The groundwork is there, but it’s not real deep. I encourage parents to work with your child the next few times you attend Mass to show him/her how to use the missalette.  They will get a lot more out of Mass if they have some idea of what is happening.

Next week, we will finish up on the Mass and, if we have time, probably do something with the liturgical year or advent. It all depends on the volume of questions. I don’t say that in a negative sense. Given the choice between introducing a new lesson and directing a discussion that interests the students, we’ll go with the discussion every time. If the class is engaged and interested in a discussion, they will get more out of it. And it’s more fun.

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Hello, 5th grade CCD parents!

Mrs. Rudolphi and I are looking forward to teaching your child’s CCD class on Wednesday evenings.

The 5th grade curriculum will focus on the liturgy and the sacraments. While we have some material to cover, including some memorization, we also hope to make the short time we will spend together rewarding and enjoyable for your child.

It has been our experience that, when they get going, 5th graders and full of interesting questions. If it has anything remotely related to God, the Church, religion, or living, we will talk about it.

Please understand I will have your child for less than an hour just once a week. You can do several things to help us make this a productive experience for your son or daughter.

  • Ask your child if we have given them a task to do during the week and assist them with it.
  • Please have your child to the school before 6:30 p.m.
  •  Please support us and encourage your child to come to CCD class willingly and with enthusiasm.

As we will be covering the sacraments, including matrimony and anointing of the sick, our class discussion may come in close contact to real-life events in your child’s life (death in the family, divorce, etc.) If there is something I should know in order to be appropriately sensitive, please tell me.

We have only three class-rules, and we hope you will help us reinforce these to your children.

1. Show up.

2. Participate

3. Don’t be a “jerk.”

(You might be surprised how well 5th graders understand Rule #3. It almost never requires any further explanation.)

You are most welcome to sit-in on the class at any time.

I hope you will stay abreast of what’s happening with your child on Wednesday evenings. To help you do so (and for the fourth year), I have created this blog/Web site.  I will try to keep it updated on a weekly basis with reports on the class activity and announcements. You might wish to bookmark this site for future reference.

The full rundown of last year’s class is here on the site, so if you would like to get an idea of what is ahead, you can look backwards and see.

The fifth grade class will be teaming up with the third grade to present the Christmas pageant. If things go according to plan, the pageant will be presented twice – once during the regular CCD class time and once at one of the Christmas Eve masses. When the dates draw closer, I’ll keep you apprised of scheduling. The biggest issue will be to coordinate the Christmas Eve reader-team with your family plans.

If you have not already done so, please provide me with your email address. (My email is below.) Last year, when we were trying to organize the Christmas pageant, it became glaringly obvious that trying to communicate with parents through the filter of a 10 or 11 year-old just doesn’t work. I will use the blog to communicate routine information. I’ll only use the email to notify you of things like schedule changes and the like.

As we have done for the past several years, we ask that you come to the classroom to pick up your child at 7:30 p.m. Please do not instruct your child to leave the building on his or her own and meet you in the parking lot. If you have a situation that makes it difficult for you to come into the building, like a sleeping baby, just let us know. One of us will walk your child(ren) to your car.

Feel free to contact Mrs. Rudolphi or myself for any reason. Our contact info is under the “About” tab at the top of this page.

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We tried something a little different last night in an effort to get the class engaged and interested, but it didn’t work. It seems we hit a point like this about this time nearly every year. For what reason, I don’t know. It probably has a lot to do with the teacher, but for better or worse, I’m stuck with who I am.

The primary focus of the class last night was the Mass. As a follow-up to our discussion of the Eucharist last week, we were going to go through the various parts of the Mass and try to convey an understanding of the prayers, purposes and meanings.

At the beginning of the session, I told the class I had two directions we could go. One was fairly traditional, and not that interesting. The other would be more involved and probably more interesting, but it would require their cooperation to make it work. I would decide which way to go about ten minutes into the session, depending on how well they were cooperating.

The first ten minutes went rather well. Volunteers read aloud and we discussed the introductory paragraphs of the text. The class was fairly calm, so I decided to take a try at the “riskier” course of teaching. We counted off the class into four groups. We assigned one part of the Mass to each group. (Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites.) We gave the groups a piece of poster-board and markers and instructed them to read about their assigned Mass section in the text and to create a poster to depict it. They would then present their poster to the rest of the class and teach them about their assigned part of the Mass.

We had high hopes for this. We really thought it was a good idea. We went around to each of the groups, trying to encourage and coach them. Unfortunately, that did not help. Left to their own devices, the groups descended rapidly into chaos. One group made a little progress. The remaining three were very ineffective. They were much too involved with cutting-up with their friends, and arguing over what color marker to use, that they didn’t read the material we had provided. When it came time to make a presentation to the rest of the class, they didn’t have a clue.

It’s pretty clear that small-group activities are not working well. The class dynamics are not helped by a small number of students who are very needy of attention and are either actively disruptive or so driven to be the center of attention that they just roll over the quieter students.

The next few weeks will be very full. Since last night’s lesson was a bomb, we will attempt to cover it again next week in a more controllable format. We will also start on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for the students to receive the Sacrament in a few weeks.

For the next several weeks, Father John will be taking one class at a time and hearing confessions of our students, He will start next week with the 7th grade and work his way down. The fifth grade is scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the regular class session on March 13. We are going to make a strong effort to prepare our students for this and hopefully relieve some of the anxiety I know they will feel. However, parents, please be aware that this will be coming up on March 13.

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