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Posts Tagged ‘religious instruction’

What happened to last week’s class? I would have sworn I had posted a report.

In any case, we began our coverage of the sacraments with a lesson that summarized he concept and lightly touched on each one. 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. This began a wide ranging discussion with many, many questions that dealt with the sacraments and other religious and church-related issues. It was a fun exchange.

Last night we finished up our overview of the seven sacraments. We have noticed we spend a lot of time simply on vocabulary. On every page of the text, there are important concepts described in words most, if not all of the class simply don’t understand. Last night, I was thinking of words like reconciliation, reconcile, sanctifying and initiation.

We had the class read page 36 of the text to themselves, while looking for the answers to three questions. We then discussed them.

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) We discussed how Baptism begins us on our journey; Confirmation firms our resolve; and Eucharist recharges our spiritual batteries whenever we partake in the Sacrament.)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick) We discussed how God’s love, transmitted through the sacraments have a spiritually healing effect.)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony) We discussed how each sacrament involves service. At one point in the discussion of Holy Orders, we talked about bishops, priests and deacons. In describing what deacons could do, one student asked if they could perform exorcisms. Where did that come from? The question was an honest one, but I was not prepared to answer it. I don’t know anything about exorcisms except what I see in movies. I kicked that can down the road until either Father Kavanaugh or Monsignor Costigan pay us a visit.

We finished up with the end of the chapter exercise, a combination of T-F questions and matching columns. We used the ensuing discussion as our “what did you learn tonight?” exercise and rewarded the students with a cookie.

Next week, Mrs. Hanzel will be introducing the class to the Rosary.

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This was our second to the last class for the CCD year. We are charging towards the finish line.

We opened the class with a short review of last week’s lesson on the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Then we moved on to the main topic of the class, the Sacrament of Matrimony, including the outlines of a Catholic marriage and family. Sometimes this can be a sensitive subject, so we started off with a warning. I don’t know the details of all our students’ families, and don’t really need to. However, it is quite likely there are students in our class who have experienced divorces and/or other unusual family situations, with their parents or other members of their family. I emphasized that while we would be teaching the Church’s position on marriage, the students should not take anything as a criticism or judgment on any particular people or situations.

Some of the key points we discussed were:

— Jesus thought enough of the importance of marriage to perform his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.

— Marriage has been part of the human experience since the very beginning – ie: Adam and Eve.

— Boys and girls, and men and women are different but equal.

— A Catholic marriage is intended to be a permanent commitment. We talked about some short-lived celebrity marriages and the popular concept of a “starter marriage,” but indicated the Church believes you should enter into a marriage fully aware and prepared and with the full intention of making it a life-long commitment. We discussed the concept of a covenant.

— While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them.

— We discussed the difference between a promise and a vow. A promise is made between one person and another. A vow is a promise made to God. The marriage commitment is a vow.

–The difference between a civil marriage and a religious marriage. A wedding before a judge may cover the legal aspects of marriage, but is very different than a religious marriage, where two people stand before God and promise to maintain a life-long commitment. A Catholic marriage covers both the civil and religious aspects. We were asked whether you could have a civil wedding and then later have a religious wedding. We gave several examples of how this happens.

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a little strange.

We introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

Next week will be the final CCD class session. Monsignor Costigan will be a guest speaker to talk about his life as a priest. We will have a pizza snack and drinks.

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We had a last minute change of plans for last night’s class. Originally, we planned to cover the first of two lessons on the Ten Commandments. However, at 6:32 pm, there were only three students in the room. In the past, our classes on the Commandments have been some of the best of the year, with lots of questions, discussions and engagement. I didn’t want more than half the class to miss out on it. Meanwhile, Monsignor Costigan was presenting a program in the church that Mrs. Hubert said would be appropriate for our age range. We changed our minds several times, as more students arrived (7 of 8 total), but we ended up going to the church and listening to Monsignor after all.

Monsignor had several good themes, including prayer, which Mrs. Rudolphi covered with the class last week, and forgiveness, which will be a serious topic for us in a few weeks. The class was well behaved and answered several of Monsignor’s questions.

Next week, we will tackle the Commandments, regardless of our attendance.

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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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Happy New Year, and welcome back!

We started off 2012 with a good class last night. As we got going, we did ask the class to make a stronger effort to listen to our discussions and to actually follow along when another student is reading aloud from the text. Sometimes I think some of the students just “zone out” when we are reading from the text., I (half-jokingly), pointed out, it can be frustrating to tell someone “The sky is blue.” But when you ask them a minute later, “What color is the sky?” you get a blank stare. While we do try to generate a lot of information through discussion, we also have to pull information out of the textbook.

Before the break, we had started on the Sacrament of Confirmation.  We had discussed the Pentecost and the relationship of that event to Confirmation. Last night, we began by reviewing that to refresh everyone’s memory.

We compared Confirmation to Baptism in two ways.

— We described Baptism as the first step to entering into the Church community, and Confirmation is the second half of the process.

— We also discussed Confirmation as an opportunity for them to make a commitment to God and the Church.  Since most children are baptized as infants, they really don’t have a say in the process. Their baptismal promises are made by their godparents; their parents select their godparents; and they don’t choose their own name. In Confirmation, they make their own commitment; select their sponsor; and choose a Confirmation name. We pointed out that most other religions have some kind of commitment ceremony around the time a child turns 12-14.

As expected, the idea of taking another name was fascinating to the class, and we spent probably too much time discussing that.

We talked about the need for preparation to receive Confirmation and emphasized that it is a two-year process, beginning in seventh grade. We walked through the actual process of the sacrament.

We finished up with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but to be honest, I don’t think that concept stuck with the class very well. It is a subject that could easily occupy an entire class session to get across.  At least they have been exposed to the concept, if they don’t fully understand it.

We’re done with Confirmation. We’ll start the next class with a short review and then move on.

Our readings of the Gospel of Matthew have fallen off, just because we have been busy with other material and haven’t remembered to make assignments. We’ll talk about that next week and resume the assignments. I think we’re up to around Chapter 7. If you would like to encourage your child to read and review those first chapters before next week, that would be great.

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