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Posts Tagged ‘religious education’

We had an odd class on Wednesday. I don’t think the first half was very successful, but the second half, which consisted of watching some videos, had a greater impact.

We used the Faith Assessment that dealt with Bible characters as the basis for our discussion.

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

Unfortunately, our students’ familiarity with that subject, especially from the Old Testament was very weak. Ironically, if it were not for the necessity of covering the faith assessment as preparation for Confirmation, the Old Testament would have been the main subject for the 6th grade curriculum. So after struggling through that, we played four short videos from a series I found. The first two explained the Book of Genesis, and the second, the Book of Exodus. They were animated and fairly well done, and the class was entranced.

You probably have already received the schedule for the rest of the year from other sources, including the hand out we passed out on Wednesday, but just in case, here it is again.

CCD -Only Seven Classes Left

Wednesday, March 15, 2017-No Class. Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Wednesday March 22, 2017-Family CCD. Classes meet with family in the Church for Stations of the Cross

Thursday March 23, 2017-Family Parish Penance Service @ 7pm in the Church.

Wednesday March 29, 2017-Class

Wednesday April 5, 2017-Class

Wednesday April 12, 2017-Class

Wednesday April 19, 2017-Class

Wednesday April 26-Last Class

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This week’s class worked out well. The material wasn’t fascinating, but the students were engaged, and we had a good discussion.

We started off with a guest speaker, Dick Lee from St. James parish. Dr. Lee works with me at Skidaway Institute. He also runs the Serra Club vocations essay contest for seventh graders. He was at St. Peters to give a check and certificate to Maddie Conn for third place in the diocese-wide CCD division. Since Dr. Lee knew I teach sixth grade, he asked me if he could stop by for a few minutes and promote the essay contest to the students who will be eligible to participate next fall.  Dr. Lee talked about vocations and the essay contest for about ten minutes and then turned the class back over to us.

Our faith assessment quiz this week dealt with the Church’s structure. There were a couple of questions about the pope, and then a match-quiz exercise on the meaning of various church terms, like ecumenism, infallibility, diocese, deanery, etc. The full list can be found on the parish web site.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-11-church-leadership-structure/

During the course of our discussion, we spent some time talking about Pope Francis. Most of the class did not know he is a Jesuit, or what a Jesuit is, or even what a religious order is, so we talked about religious orders for a while. I was a little surprised that no one could name the two prominent religious orders in Savannah, even when I hinted there was school named after one of them. They are, of course, the Benedictines (Order of St. Benedict) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

When we discussed the match-game (Match the term in one column with the explanation in the other column.), they redeemed themselves. Many were able to match the term with the definition, or at least come close (eg: diocese vs. archdiocese or dogma vs. infallibility).

It doesn’t sound very excited, but the students were engaged and asked a lot of questions.

We finished up with an eight minute video on the life and background of Pope Francis.

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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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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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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 were back last night for our first real class since early November. Wow! Our subject last night was the Cardinal Virtues. The activity started slow, but it picked up and the students got involved.

We wrote the virtues on the white board and then went through them individually, probing the class’s  knowledge and explaining them. We explained that unlike the Theological Virtues we discussed several classes ago, the Cardinal Virtues are not directly linked to God. They refer to the way we act towards our neighbors. They were first discussed by Plato in The Republic (although I couldn’t remember that title last night.)  In simple terms…

Prudence – Making good decisions, especially between right and wrong.

Justice – Respecting the rights of others and giving everyone his or her rightful due. We pointed out though, that Christian teachings of love may dictate that you should give someone more than they are entitled, but not less.

Fortitude – The strength to do the right thing, even under difficult circumstances.

Temperance – Moderation and the ability to control physical desires.

We had six students, so we divided them into two groups and asked them to devise a role-play skit to demonstrate either Prudence or Justice. When that was complete, we repeated it with Fortitude and Temperance. The students got into this exercise very well and we had some excellent skits that demonstrated they seemed to get the concepts we had discussed.

We walked across the hall to the library and played a short video that was produced by a couple of teens in which they also acted out skits to demonstrate the virtues. It was a little goofy, but I think it helped reinforce what we had done a few minutes earlier.

Back in the class, we distributed paper and pens. We asked the students to think of someone in their family who was a good example of one of the virtues. We asked them to write a letter or a card to that relative, thanking them for their example and telling them what they mean to them. We went around the room and asked each student what relative they addressed and why. Some wanted to read their letter, but others did not, which was OK. We suggested they either give or mail their letter to the addressee.

Both Mrs. Rudolphi and I will be unavailable next week due to work conflicts. Mrs. Ann Van Brimmer (Abby’s mom) we teach the class. The subject will be the Rosary. We will have string and bead rosaries available, however if your child has a set off rosary beads, have them bring it to class.

 

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