Posts Tagged ‘pentecost’

Here is a wrap of up our last two classes.

Jan 17, 2018 – Monsignor Costigan was our guest speaker for this class. Since we were coming out of our lesson on the Eucharist, he focused much of his time on the Eucharist and the structure of the Mass. We had prepared a one-page outline of the order of the Mass which we passed out to the class and encouraged them to take it to Mass with them.

Jan 24, 2018 – This was the first of two classes on the Sacrament of Confirmation. It focused primarily on the Pentecost. We started by asking a simple question, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” Somewhat to our surprise the class got the right answer immediately – God. (The last time I asked that question of a fifth grade class, it took about ten minutes to drive them to the right answer.) We read the Biblical account from Acts out of the text and discussed the way the Holy Spirit completely transformed the scared and timid Apostles and turned them into brave ministers of God’s Word. We talked a little more about the symbols of Pentecost and Confirmation.

We then broke the class into two groups and had them read a page from the text. We asked each group to develop a series of questions, like a quiz, for them to ask to the other team. I expected this to last only a few minutes, but the class was really into it. They were engaged and, hopefully, learning while they came up with both questions and answers. So we turned it into a “quiz bowl” and let it run to the end of the class.

I guess it was effective, as none of the children had any trouble coming up with an answer to “what did you learn tonight?” and earning a cookie.

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My apologies for the long gap in updates. I was unable to teach the first two classes in January due to a work-related travel and a family crisis. I was back last week to finish up our coverage of the Sacrament of Confirmation (Chapter 9).

We opened by reviewing the story of the Pentecost which Mrs. Rudolphi covered in the previous weeks. Not everyone was in attendance for those lessons, so it was worth repeating the story and the effect the Holy Spirit had on the apostles. We connected that story to Confirmation.

Before going any further, we asked one key question, “So, just who is the Holy Spirit?” As expected, there was some confusion. The simple, one-word answer is “God.”

We followed the chapter in the text, mixing up volunteers reading, and pairs reading together and extracting the answers to some questions from the text, which we then discussed. The last part of the lesson dealt with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.) We discussed each one and had the class complete a match-game exercise linking each gift to a description of it.

We will not have a regular class for the next two weeks due to the parish mission and Ash Wednesday. We will be back February 17 with the first of two classes on the Ten Commandments. This is always a fun and interesting subject to teach. I am looking forward to it.

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Our classes resumed last week, but I had to be in Atlanta for work, so I missed it. Mrs. Rudolphi took over the class and began a lesson on Pentecost and Confirmation.

I was back last night, for the first regular class I have taught since before Thanksgiving. We had a real light turn-out, only 8 students of our total class of 19. I had intended to spend most of the class covering the Sacrament of Confirmation. However at around 430 pm Mrs. Hubert sent out an email advising us of a Rosary service in the church at 6:30 pm. Since I strongly suspected most of our students are not extremely familiar with the Rosary, I thought they would benefit from participating for a short while. I covered the basics of what the Rosary is all about while Mrs. R located and distributed some extra Rosary beads. Off we went. We arrived before the Rosary started and stayed for two or three decades. Then we returned to class.

Mrs. R lead a short review of last week’s lesson, and then we talked a little about the role of Confirmation and its relationship to the Pentecost.

Frankly, it wasn’t the best class we have had. A little flat. We will try to do better next week.

By the way, next week we will step outside the current textbook for the first of two classes focused on the Commandments. Based on past years, these are usually fairly interesting lessons. Usually, the students have lots of questions and we have very interesting discussions. I’m looking forward to it. We hope to see your child there.

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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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So far the 2014 edition of CCD is just full of surprises. First we had a schedule change to have class last night. Then, shortly before we started class, Mrs. Hubert gave us a “Safe Touch” outline she wanted us to cover. The presentation focused on the children’s personal safety. Mrs. H gave us this list of advice to present to the class.

  •  If someone makes you uncomfortable about anything; tell an adult you trust. (This is somewhat ironic, since I think the entire class was squirming a little during this discussion.)
  • You have the right to say no to an adult if it he/she will hurt you in any way. You always tell your parent or someone you trust about these experiences.
  • People who have your best interest at heart do not want you to feel bad.
  • Do not look at things that are not for people your age. If someone wants you to look at a book or movie that is not for children, do not do it.
  • Always let your parent know where you are.
  • Stay in the designated area at school, church events, sporting events, etc.
  • If you go somewhere, have a buddy you always stay with.
  • If you get in an uncomfortable situation with a stranger and need to get away from someone, say no and run away. Do not be afraid to attract attention.

I led the discussion, but Mrs. Rudolphi was a tremendous help by providing a female and mothers’s viewpoint. We had some discussion and questions stemming from those main points, but nothing that jumped out as a major issue.

 That discussion took up about half the class, so we had time for only a half-lesson afterwards. We began our two-chapter coverage of the Sacrament of Confirmation with a discussion of the Pentecost.

Mrs. R and were a little taken aback when we began our discussion and I asked the class, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” I got blank stares back as a response. I went around the room to solicit an answer and no one could even come close to identifying or describing the Holy Spirit. This is not good. I think we will do a basic review of “This is God” in our next class session.

We read and discussed the account of Pentecost in the text book and then broke the class into two groups. We had each group role-play and act out what they read about.

 The class seems to enjoy the role-playing exercises. However, from a teaching standpoint, it is our hope that, having gone through a role-play exercise, the students are more likely to actually remember we had covered in class.

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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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Hello, parents! Most of you received an email or a take-home note from me yesterday. I am trying to establish an email-list for communicating with you about schedule changes and other important information. If you did NOT receive either an email or a note, would you, please send me an email with your address, so I can add it to my list? My personal email is savannahmike1130@gmail.com.

One note — I will continue to use this blog/Web site to provide you with updates on the class activities. I plan to use the email list only for urgent announcements, like a class schedule change.

We had a good class last night, especially for it being the first class since the Christmas break. The focus of the class was the Pentecost and its significance as the earliest start of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

After reading an account of the event, we broke the class up into groups of 5 or 6 and had them role-play and act out the Pentecost. The students really got into it and did a good job. It was especially interesting to see how they represented the roaring wind and the flames.

We transitioned from Pentecost into an initial discussion of Confirmation, including…

  • The role of the Holy Spirit
  • That the sacrament is a milestone on becoming an adult in the eyes of the Church.
  • That most religions have some sort of ceremony for early teens where they “confirm” their desire to be a Catholic (or whatever) and transition into full membership in the Church.
  • The role of sponsors.
  • Why a candidate picks a Confirmation name.

In another effort to keep them involved, we again divided them into the same three groups and had them read a passage and select two questions from the material. They asked the rest of the class the questions and solicited answers. It went pretty well. Good questions, too. We’ll probably try that again in the future.

I will not be able to lead the class next week. Mrs. Rudolphi will be there. Mrs. Cathy Scanlon will present a program for the class, most likely in the church. However, deliver and pick up your child in the school, as usual.

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