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Posts Tagged ‘sacraments’

We started rehearsals for the CCD Christmas Pageant last night. Before we did that, however, Mrs. Hanzel had a short quiz on the material about the sacraments we have been discussing for the past several weeks. We were a little disappointed about the poor retention. We were somewhat surprised at how many of the students could not name either one of the two priests at our church. (“I don’t know who they are because I don’t ever go to church.” What? Seriously!)

As in year past, we are providing the narrators for the presentation while the third grade provides the “actors.” We have nine or ten speaking parts depending on how we divide it up. Last night we had eight volunteers to read and two who preferred to abstain. There were four students absent last night. I suspect we will pick up one or two readers from that group next week.

The class did very well. We have a few who need to speak up, but generally they did well. And they were so well behaved that Mary Zimmer, the music director who was preparing for choir practice, came over to compliment them.

So here is what our schedule looks like for the next few weeks.

11/20 – Drop off and pick up at the church.

11/27 – No Class

12/4 – Parish Penance Service. Attend with family.

12/11 – Dress rehearsal. Drop off and pick up at the church.

12/18 – Christmas Pageant. Please have your student at the church no later than 6:15 pm.

12/25 and 1/1 –No class

1/8/2020 – Back to work.

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I skipped last week’s summary, but it was real simple. Mrs. Hanzel taught a lesson on the rosary, and we prayed a decade. Had a wide ranging discussion and answered a lot of questions.

Last night, we had a combination class. For the first half of the class period, we discussed the church/liturgical calendar and the seasons (Lent, Advent, etc.) We compared it to other ways of tracking the year, such as the calendar year, a school year, sports seasons and so on. We emphasized the Easter Triduum (three days) which lasts from Holy Thursday evening to Easter evening. The events of these three days are the basis of the Christian/Catholic religion and without those events, we would not be Christian. We also discussed how and why Easter moves around on the calendar.

During the second half of the class we had a quiz bowl. The idea was to challenge the students to try to recall what we have been teaching, and hopefully reinforce some of those lessons. Mrs. Hanzel divided the class randomly into three teams (3-3-4). I had prepared a bunch of questions on slips of paper, which each team pulled out of a bowl. Some of the questions were real easy and some were tougher. Not surprisingly, there were some serous “duh” moments. We also had some pleasant surprises. On at least two occasions a team answered with a response I wasn’t looking for, but was also correct. Although he teams were picked randomly, one team consisted of three of our four boys. They cleaned up and won by a wide margin.

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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 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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