Posts Tagged ‘trinity’

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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I am back in the USA and ready to get the 5th grade CCD class rolling. I understand Father John led the class for the two weeks I was gone.

After our opening prayer, we began with chapter one of the text. I pointed out to the students that each chapter is built around four distinct “We believe” statements that are highlighted in purple in the book. This divides the week’s lesson into four, more or less, equal segments. For chapter one, the four statements were:

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus shows us God’s love
  • Jesus invites people to follow him
  • Jesus’ disciples continue his work

We had volunteers read the passages under the first statement. They covered Jesus’ baptism and the Holy Trinity. We spent some time talking about the Trinity and the idea that God can be one God and three persons. We used St Patrick’s famous shamrock example. We also compared the three persons to the different roles all of us have in our life. For example, the students are, depending on the situation of the moment, sons and daughters, students, athletes, friends, brothers and sister, etc., but they are still just one person.

We had the students read the material associated with the second statement silently and discussed some of the ways Jesus showed his love.

We tried something different for the last two statements. We split the class of 14 students into groups of 2 and 3 and assigned each group a paragraph or two to read and understand. Then we had each of the teams teach the message in that passage to the rest of the class. The students did better than I thought they would for the first time we tried it. The material dealt with Jesus’ disciples, past and present; the Apostles; the Kingdom of God and the parable of the mustard tree.

That technique seemed to have some promise, but it is time consuming. We ran out of time before we had a chance for review and reinforcement. We’ll tackle some of that next week before moving on to the next chapter.

Parents – thank you for sharing your children with us. Please feel free to sit in on any class and see what we’re doing.

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Sorry. After all the buildup about this site, I’m afraid I didn’t post anything last week. a

a. ) I left for an out of town trip very early Thursday morning and did not have internet access until Monday night.

b.) We really didn’t do anything except organizational issues. Altar server coordinator Irene Nave stopped by to talk to the students about becoming altar servers.

We got things started off quickly last night.

After six years of teaching this class from the same book, we changed to a different publisher this year, so Mrs. Rudolphi and I will be feeling our way a little.

After an opening prayer, we started with the first of our “We Believe” statements – “Jesus is the Son of God.” We read the story of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River and the appearance of God in all three persons of the Holy Trinity. This got us discussing the concept of the Trinity. We discussed that the concept is a mystery that we can never fully comprehend. We presented several explanations with the idea that they may get close to the truth of the Trinity, but not fully explain it. This included the famous St. Patrick’s explanation of the shamrock.

One student said he always thought of the Trinity as being like a sandwich – one sandwich with several ingredients. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the Trinity described as a sandwich, but I thought it was extremely insightful.

About that time, Father John stopped by to meet the class. He talked about the altar service. He also gave the students some additional thoughts on the Trinity. They had lots of questions.

When Fr. John left, we only had about ten minutes left in the class. We quickly covered our second major point to this chapter – “Jesus shows us God’s love.”  Jesus showed us how to live our lives by the way he lived his. The textbook referenced the story of Jesus healing the blind begger. Through this story, we explained that Jesus did not associate with the rich and powerful of his time. He befriended the poor and the outcasts.

I tried to turn that into a lesson the students could take home with them, by talking about the dynamics in most groups of 5th graders. In any class, there are typically some popular kids and also some less popular. While most kids would like to be part of the popular crowd, that is not what Jesus would want us to do. Our students could follow Jesus by being kind to and befriending all the kids in their class or school, not just the “cool” or popular ones. We didn’t have enough time to really talk about this, so I’m not sure how well that concept was received.

Next week, we’ll do a short review of last night’s material, and then finish up the chapter. The session should be more discussion and activity focused.

At the end of class, one of our students asked if she could address the class. She told her fellow students that she and her mother would be conducting a food drive close to Thanksgiving and asked them to contribute. We’ll be back with you with more specifics as they become available.

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Mike writes:

Last night wasn’t the best class we’ve had this fall.  I wasn’t on my best game and the kids, as Susan said, “had ants in their pants.” They weren’t bad or misbehaved. We just had trouble getting engaged. That’s life. Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you.

Content-wise, we backed up and covered the chapter we missed last week (Chapter 2 in the text book.)

We started by talking again about the importance of participating in the Church community, and not just sitting on the sidelines and watching. The text showed pictures of people participating in the mass.

We began a soft introduction to the concept of the sacraments. The key concept was that the sacraments are a means of receiving God’s grace. In the course of discussion, we elaborated on two concepts.

When the text mentioned “grace,” I asked the class if they knew what that was. I received blank stares. So we backed up a little and talked about love and people who loved them. We asked the students about times they felt they were receiving their parents’ love more than others. They came up with occasions like when their parents care for them, hug them, fix their favorite meal, do things with them, and so on.  We described “grace” as God’s love for them, and the sacraments as an occasion for them to receive and feel God’s love.

The text emphasized the Holy Trinity, which brought up a whole additional concept foreign to most of the students. Beyond the basics of the Sign of the Cross, no one could really describe the concept of God and the Holy Trinity. We asked, “So how can God be one being but three persons?” One student very astutely answered, “Because he is GOD!” Using that as a springboard, we talked about the nature of God and the Trinity with three concepts.

1. It is beyond our abilities as humans to totally understand the full nature of God. And, yes, God can be one being and three persons because he is, well, God.

2. We told that because of that we could not provide them with a totally accurate description of the nature of the Trinity, but there two examples that may approach the truth. The first was St. Patrick’s description of the Trinity as being like a shamrock with one stem but three leaves.

3. We also asked the students to think about some of the various roles they have in life. They came up with concepts like son, daughter, grandchild, friend, student, soccer player, Scout, band member and others. They are one person, but they have various identities depending on what they may be doing or who they are with. We compared this to God. When we think of God as the Creator, that is the Father. When we think of God as the Savior, that is Jesus, the son. And when we think of God as the source of continuing love and grace, that is God the Holy Spirit.

We finished off with a five minute “quiz bowl,” to reinforce some of the lessons. For whatever it is worth, the students’ retention is really excellent. Something is sticking. There is hope! Back next week.

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