Posts Tagged ‘original sin’

This continues to be a very good group, and Mrs. Rudolphi and I are enjoying our Wednesday evenings very much. Last night, we finished up the Sacrament of Baptism.

Since last week’s lesson covered the mechanics of Baptism, last night we focused a little more on the theory. We presented and discussed the three main functions of the sacrament.

1.) Joins us with Christ.

2.) Brings us into the Church.

3.) Wipes us free of all sin.

We spent a little time discussing Original Sin and, frankly did not do a very good job of it. We discussed the story of Adam and Eve and emphasized that the story as related in Genesis should be looked at for the message, not the literal account. The Garden of Eden story was a way to explain how a perfect, all loving God placed his creations into a world full of suffering, death, etc. God started out with a perfect world (Eden). It was man who exercised his free will to disturb the plan. That Original Sin is passed down through the generations.

Monsignor Costigan stopped by later in the class, and we asked him to address Original Sin. His explanation was much better than mine. He explained that Original Sin isn’t really a sin. It is simply the state of being born without the presence of God’s grace.  Baptism brings the recipient into contact with God and fills him/her with His grace. (I guess that shows why he is a monsignor, and Mrs. R and I are one-hour-a-week CCD teachers.)

We also discussed the four main signs or symbols of Baptism and their meanings..

1.) Water (Cleansing us from sin.)

2.) Sacred Chrism (oil) (Holy Spirit)

3.) White garment (Purity)

4.) Lit Candle (The light of Christ in our life.)

We allowed the class to pair off with partners to complete the review/quiz section at the end of the chapter. We were about to start discussing the quiz when Msgr. Costigan stopped by. He did answer a question one student asked several weeks ago, that Mrs. R and I just didn’t know. It had to do with the pipe system in the church that is used to wash the chalice and other items used in the Eucharist, and also for disposing of unconsumed consecrated wine. The pipe returns the liquid directly into the Earth and not into the sewage system.

I think we will move on to the Eucharist next week, but I’m not sure. When I have the chance to look at my notes, I’ll post a new entry to let you know.


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As Mrs. Rudolphi and I discussed after class this week, we aren’t making much progress through the text, but we are having some interesting class sessions. The students are full of questions and enjoy the discussions. Since fifth grade is not a sacramental preparation class (as are first, second, seventh and eighth), we don’t feel a real need to stick strictly with the text. If the class wants to question and discuss a subject that is vaguely related to religion, God, morality, etc,  we’ll run with it.

We do have one problem we need to address. There are a handful of students who have really taken the advice to “get engaged.” However, more than half of the questions and comments tend to come from that handful of the students. We (I) need to do a better job of spreading it around and getting the more quiet students involved. That will be a goal next week.

On another down-note, we did not discuss the class’s reading assignment, chapter four of the Gospel of Matthew, because only two students admitted to have actually read it. Please give us some help on this at home. Each chapter is quite short and shouldn’t take the student more than a few minutes to read it. We asked them to double-up this week and read both chapters four (last week’s assignment) and five (this week’s assignment.) Parents – please give your child a little nudge. Thanks.

This week’s class was the first of two sessions on the Sacrament of Baptism.  We discussed the concepts that Baptism is the first sacrament to be received and no other sacrament can be received without Baptism. Baptism brings the recipient into the Church (Body of Christ, community, etc.) We also discussed how Baptism wipes our souls free from sin, but we can receive it only once. After that, we have Penance/Reconciliation for forgiveness.

One student asked why an infant would need to have his sins forgiven when he hasn’t had the chance to commit any. That opened the discussion of original sin. Many of the students didn’t think it was fair that God would penalize someone born today for the sin of Adam and Eve. We pointed out that is why have the Sacrament of Baptism.

A student asked why we are typically baptized as babies. Why not, he asked, wait until you are about to die and then get all your sins forgiven at the same time. This led to a lively discussion that largely focused on the idea that you never know when your life may end.

One student then asked how it is that we know all these teachings (all Christian teachings) are true?  This led to a discussion of the concept of faith, which, to be honest, I don’t think we handled very well. Towards the end of the class, Father John stopped by, so we kicked the question over to him. I’m not sure he answered it much better. I’m betting this question will come up again.

Next week, we plan to finish up the Sacrament of Baptism.  Hopefully.

By the way, parents, you are always welcome to sit in on the class and observe, and/or participate as you wish.

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We have several fewer CCD classes this year than last. So last night, rather than reviewing and expanding on the Beatitudes, we moved on to the first of the Sacraments we will be covering – Baptism.

We started off with an extra activity. We discussed the importance of the Latin language in Catholic tradition and history. Then we began learning to pray the Glory Be (Gloria Patri) in Latin. We’ll do this each week. Hopefully, through repetition, they will actually be able to recite it on their own by the end of the year.

This particular chapter has somewhat of a split personality. It covers two significant issues.

1.) Jesus’s incarnation as both God and man.

2.) The role of Baptism in removing sin and initiating us into the Church (Body of Christ.)

We covered the story of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River. We had the class brainstorm examples from Jesus’s life that demonstrate his identities as both God and man.

God – resurrection, miracles, curing the sick, etc.

Man – born, family, died, tangible, etc.

We brainstormed reasons why Jesus, who was free from sin, wanted to be baptized in the first place.

The class was very surprised to learn that Baptism is the only Sacrament that does not require a priest, and  we discussed examples.

We finished off with the stories of two saints, a Catholic priest who died in a Nazi concentration camp (Maxmillian Kolbe), and a French nun (Rose Duchesne) who ministered to Native Americans in Kansas in the early 19th century.

Next week, we move deeper into Baptism.

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After a week off, we ended up in a wide ranging discussion, from the meaning of The Lord’s Prayer to the origin of sin.

We began by finishing up the last chapter on The Lord’s Prayer. For many people, especially children, prayers are simply words to be memorized. They recite a prayer without really knowing the meaning of what they are saying. We walked our way through the Our Father and talked about the meaning of each line.

We moved to the next chapter. It started with an exercise that involved a list of personal characteristics, some good (generous, kind, respectful, etc) and some less desirous (selfish, rough, lazy, etc.). The students were asked to circle ten attributes that applied to them, both good and bad. It provoked an interesting discussion. Surprisingly, they were quite willing to grab onto some of the negative labels. I’m not sure what that means.

From there, we went on to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the origin of sin and evil.  We covered free will, heaven, hell and purgatory. We talked about what their impressions of heaven and hell might be.

The key point to the discussion was that our happiness and reward / punishment in the next life will depend on the choices we make in this one.

We have no class next week, March 31, due to Holy Week.  When we come back on April 7, we will cover the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.  This is actually one of our better class sessions. We will talk about the four stages of forgiveness and get into some role playing. In the past, the classes have gotten very engaged. I hope the same for this group. So if you are not doing anything on Wednesday, April 7, come on by and join the fun.

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We have been putting new floors in our house this week, so both the house and my life are in disarray. Sorry for the late post. But moving on…

We had an interesting class Wednesday.

Our plan to conduct a Baptism demonstration was delayed, but there is some good news attached to that. A parish family with a child in CCD and another newborn baby, have agreed to allow the baby’s Baptism to be a part of the CCD program. We will do that in two weeks, on January 27. That should be very cool.

Father Mariusz stopped in and answered questions for nearly a half hour. He connected well with the students. He answered some of the questions that the students have asked Mrs. Worthington and myself, but would be better being answered by a priest, including:

  • What’s the story with “original sin?
  • What happens to a baby who dies before being baptized?
  • Why don’t priests get married?

Mrs. W asked Father M if priests ever had any fun. The students were impressed and surprised that Father M has a Wii and plays “Guitar Hero.”

When Father M left, we had only about 20 minutes left in the class, not enough time to do a full lesson. So we played “Catholic Hangman” for awhile.

Next week we talk about the concept of “grace,” and God’s “tough love” on St Paul on the road to Damascus.

The Baptism is scheduled for January 27.

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