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Posts Tagged ‘sacraments’

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 lost one class night to Hurricane Michael (Oct 10.) Last week, just as we were getting going, Mrs. Huber came in and asked if anyone would like more advanced altar server training. Almost everyone did, so we spent the class session in the church. We did have two students, Laney and Savannah, who did not have the chance to teach their part of the lesson from two weeks ago (https://stpeterccdgrade5.wordpress.com/2018/10/) , so after we returned from church, they had a chance to teach a short lesson on the Kingdom of God. .

Last night, we began our coverage of the Sacraments with a broad overview (Ch 3 in the text). We are still trying to get and keep the students engaged in the lesson of the night. The distractions created by the guys (not the girls) having their own side shows is lessening, but is still an issue. I am still spending too much time, energy and attention to admonishing them to “Turn around” or “Stop talking.” Mrs. Rudlophi has not been able to be there for the past several weeks, so I have been soloing.

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.

We divided the class into pairs and threes and asked them to read P 36 together and to answer three questions which they would find the answers in the text.

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)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had some discussion, but not as much as I am used to from previous classes. It was a good discussion and they seemed to grasp the concepts.

And as always, we ended by asking each student to cite something they leared during the class and rewarded their answer with a cookie.

Next Wednesday is Halloween. We will not have class. We will resume November 7.

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I have been very derelict in my responsibility to keep this blog updated. Sorry about that. Here is a catch-up.

Jan 31 — We completed our coverage of the Sacrament of Confirmation. We spent a fair amount of time discussing that this sacrament confirms what was done for them by their godparents at Baptism. Since our entire class was baptized as infants, we pointed out they had no say in whether they were to become Catholics or not. However, they will be old enough to make a choice for themselves to become a full time Catholic. We also  pointed out that most religions have a similar process when a child reaches their early teens.

Feb 7 — We had a special treat. One of Mrs. Scanlon’s second graders and his  younger sister had not been baptized as infants. Father Kavenaugh baptized the pair on Feb 7. Our class sat in and observed. Father did a great job explaining the steps and their meaning.

Feb 14 — Ash Wednesday. No class.

Feb 21 — I was out of town on family business. (My wife’s and my first grandchild was born in South Carolina last week. )  Mrs. Rudolphi took over the class and presented a lesson on prayer.

Feb 28 — This week’s class will be the first of two on the Ten Commandments.  These have been some of our favorite classes of the year. The subject brings out many, many questions and lots of great discussion. If parents ever thought they would like to sit in on a class, this would be the one to do so.

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We had a really good class last night. Mrs. Rudolphi and I are liking these kids more and more every week. They are bright, attentive, cooperative and engaged.

As the students arrived, we had them complete a crossword puzzle with answers from last week’s lesson. We had one somewhat funny coincidence. The answer for one of the words was to be “blessedtrinity.” One student answered “theholytrinity.” Not only is it the same thing, but the letter-count is the same, and the third letter is a “cross letter” and it is an “e” in each answer. We all got a chuckle out of that.

We continue to work on reinforcing their knowledge of the basic prayers. They had the Hail Mary down pat, so we moved on to the Lord’s Prayer.

The rest of the evening was spent on Chapter 3, which is a broad-brush overview of the Sacraments. 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. Most were not familiar with Holy Orders or Anointing of the Sick. It led to a good Q & A discussion. Many did not understand that it IS possible for someone to receive all seven Sacraments. And much to their surprise, there are actually a few married Catholic priests with families.

We divided the class into pairs and threes and asked them to read P 36 together and to answer three questions which they would find the answers in the text.

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)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Annointing of the Sick)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

It was a good discussion and they seemed to grasp the concepts.

We had volunteer read aloud from text and covered the concepts of Christian initiation (process of becoming a member of the Church) and a Common Vocation (a call for all Christians to live good and holy lives and to be witnesses of the faith.)

That got us only about half way through the chapter. Next week we will finish off.

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We had a change-of-plans last night. Mrs. Hubert organized a child-friendly Stations of the Cross service. So after meeting for a few minutes in the classroom and providing a little background and the Stations of the Cross, we headed over to the church. Father Paul and I shared the readings and all the CCD classes participated in the prayer section of each station.

I think it was a good experience for the class. In our discussion beforehand, it was apparent that no one in the class had ever been to a Stations service, or at least didn’t remember. Neither could anyone identify the significance of Good Friday.

After the service, we had only a few minutes until dismissal time. We spent it talking about the importance of the next few days (Easter Triduum) to Catholics, and how it is the most important few days in the Church year.

We will be meeting every Wednesday through our last class on April 27. Since we have lost two class periods to a power failure (Feb 24) and last night’s “special event.” That leaves us just four class sessions to cram in the last half of our coverage of Penance, along with Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders. So we will be sprinting to the finish line.

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Well, we certainly had an unusual CCD session last night. As your child probably told you, the fire alarm in the school went off at around 6:35 pm. It turned out to be a problem with the alarm, but we reacted as if it might not be. We corralled the students and headed towards the front door. Mrs. Hubert directed us into the gymnasium. I think she didn’t want 150 children wandering around the parking lot in the dark. After a few minutes in the gym, we headed out again, this time for the church.

We remained there until about 7:05, listening to the eighth grade Confirmation class practicing their spiel about their Confirmation-saint. Our class may have found it interesting, because they sat quietly and were well behaved.

We got back to the school around 7:10 pm, clearly not enough time to cover a full lesson. After taking a moment to get a plan together, we decided to go ahead and begin our lesson on the Eucharist. Wherever we left off, we would just pick up again in the next class on November 18.

The text began with an account of the Last Supper. We talked a little about the original Passover in the Book of Exodus and the evolution of the Jewish Seder meal. The Last Supper was both a Seder meal, as well as the first Mass. In describing the Last Supper, we emphasized the passage that is paraphrased in the Consecration (“This is my body…etc.”) The students were able to identify the passage as something they had heard at Mass.

We spent a fair amount of time talking about the concept of Real Presence. That is, our belief as Catholics that Jesus Christ is truly present in the consecrated host and wine and that Communion is not just symbolic. We contrasted this to the “Communion” as practiced in some Protestant churches which is considered symbolic. We used a crucifix and a statue of Mary as examples of symbols.

We pointed out that the Eucharist is really the central element of the Catholic faith. However, a moment later, when I asked the class what they think is the most important Sacrament, the answers I received were Baptism and Confirmation. Oh well.

No class next week, November 11, due the Confirmation Mass being held at the Church. We’re back on November 18, where we will pick up and, hopefully, complete our coverage of the Eucharist and Mass.

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Hello, parents!

Thank you for “tuning in.” I had no report on last week’s class, because I was travelling. Mrs. Rudolphi took the class and reported it went well.

Last night, we began our overview of the Sacraments. (Chapter 3 in the text for anyone following along at home.) As I mentioned in our initial get-acquainted session a couple of weeks ago, we are going to try to reinforce memorization of some of the essential Catholic prayers. We begin with the Hail Mary. We prayed it at both the beginning and end of class. It would be great if you would help support this at  home in the form of bedtime prayers or what-not.

After our opening prayer, we handed out a worksheet that contained a chart with two columns, labeled “Sacraments I have already received” and “Sacraments I expect to receive.” We asked them to refer to the list of the Sacraments in the text and to list their personal experience appropriately. We then talked about it. (We had one priest, one married person and several who believed they have already been confirmed.)

Then we broke the class into pairs and small groups and asked them to read page 36 and work together to find the answers to three questions, also on the work sheet.

–What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Vary’s by student.)

–What is the greatest gift of God’s love? (Jesus Christ)

–What is sanctifying grace? (See below.)

In our subsequent discussion, it took a little bit of talking to get the students to recognize the existence of God’s love in the world around them. After one student mentioned she had a pony, most of the rest of the class focused their thoughts on pets. We discussed it a little to get them to expand their perspective.

Most of the students were unfamiliar with the concept of “grace” or “sanctifying grace.” We defined it as simply God’s love. When we talk about “grace”, we are just referring to God’s love. To link it to the Sacraments, we compared God’s love to a parent’s love of their child. All the students agreed that they felt their parents’ love for them when they got a hug or kiss. We discussed other ways that they could feel their parents’ love, including fixing them meals, taking care of them in general, and so on. We described the Sacraments as God’s way of conveying his love to his people. Like a parent conveys their love with a hug and kiss, God conveys his love through the Sacraments. I think they “got it!” Score one for the home team.

We discussed that the Church has divided the Sacraments into three general categories:

–Sacraments of Initiation

–Sacraments of Healing

–Sacraments of Service

And we extracted a listing of each category from discussion with the students.

We had volunteers read the short summary of the Sacraments of Initiation. This introduced two concepts.

–Christian Initiation is the process of becoming a member of the Church. In Baptism, we initially join the Church. In Confirmation, we reinforce that membership. And in the Eucharist, we maintain and strengthen our membership.

–As Catholics we are called to a “common vocation” to holiness and evangelization. We discussed that as Catholics, we are called to live our lives the way Jesus taught, following the teachings of the Church, loving our fellow mankind, etc.  We asked them to brainstorm a little and think of some way they would respond to God’s love tomorrow. We had some good answers, but most involved saying a prayer. We discussed the concept and explored other examples.

Although, we had only covered half the chapter, that pretty much finished us up for the night. As will be our usual practice, we went around the room and asked each student to tell us something they learned that night. All were successful, and were rewarded with a cookie.

I will not be available to teach next week’s class. (After that, my schedule should settle down, and I should be able to be there nearly all of not all the classes.) Mrs. Rudolphi will take the lead again. The class will have a “field trip” to the church with the third grade class. Third grade teacher Mrs. Hogan will take the two classes on a “tour” and tell them about the stories behind the stained glass windows. Should be interesting. I wish I could be there  myself.  Please meet in the classroom as usual. If there is a change in the pick-up plan, we’ll let you know before next Wednesday.

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