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Posts Tagged ‘vocation’

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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I had no update on last week’s class, because I was out-of-town on vacation. Mrs. Rudolphi took over and did a fantastic job, as I understand.

Last week’s focus was on the chapter that provided an overview of the seven Sacraments. This is very important, as it is the overview of the entire year. Among other activities, Mrs. R broke the class into groups and had each group teach one of the sub-sets of the Sacraments.

Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation

Sacraments of Healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick

Sacraments of Service of Communion – Matrimony and Holy Orders

Mrs. R told me it went better than she expected. That’s always a nice surprise.

Last week’s lesson was sufficiently important, we thought it worthwhile to spend last night reviewing and solidifying it. We began by allowing the students to work with a partner and complete two review activities in the text book. One was a word-scramble. The other was a combination of T-F and matching. We then spent the rest of the class discussing the quizzes. This gave us the opportunity to review some more complex terms and concepts. Like…

Sanctifying Grace – No one could really explain this concept, which was no surprise. We described grace as simply God’s love for us as individuals. We compared it to a parent’s love. We asked the class to think of times when they really felt their parents’ love, such as when they are praised, given a hug, and so on. An act like a love and kiss is a parent’s way of conveying love to a child. The Sacraments are God’s way of conveying his love (grace) to each of us.

Common Vocation – Firstly, we described the meaning of “vocation.” The common vocation is essentially our calling to holiness and evangelization. We discussed evangelization a little. We pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean preaching. It also means showing you follow God by the way you love your life and the way you treat other people.

We issued one assignment for the week ahead. We asked the students to look for opportunities to serve God by the way they treat other people. Next week, we will ask them what they did in the week that demonstrated service to some other person. We suggested it may be something as simple as picking up a book another student drops on the school bus.

We spent a little more time discussing the meanings of the three categories of Sacraments and why they are called that.

The Sacraments of Initiation are all beginnings of one type or another.

The Sacraments of Healing each involve a spiritual healing.

The Sacraments of Service (of Communion) involve service. We asked the class “who is being served by whom” in Matrimony and Holy Orders. They had a little difficulty grasping that in Matrimony, the husband and wife serve each other. They got the Holy Orders concept of serving both God and man a little easier.

So, this week, please ask your son or daughter, what they have done or are doing to demonstrate they are serving God through their actions towards others. Next week, we’ll start getting more in depth into Baptism.

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We had a good class last night, active and involved, but not out of control. This was really only my second full class session with them. I am just now starting to get to know the students – their strengths and weaknesses; those we are quick to respond and those who need to be drawn out, and so on. The whole process improves when we get to know each other a little better.

The main theme for the entire year in 5th grade CCD is the Sacraments.  We began our efforts in this direction with a broad overview of the seven Sacraments. We asked the students to make a list of the Sacraments they have already received and those they expect to receive in the future.

As we got into the text, we ran up against a number of terms and concepts that were pretty-much new to the class.

  • Evangelazation
  • Vocations
  • Sanctifying Grace
  • Initiation

So we had to take a detour and discuss the meaning of these terms.

The term “evangelization” was a new one to nearly all the students. After defining the concept, we brainstormed on different ways they, as fifth graders, could answer the call to evangelization.  We suggested the best way to evangelize is simply to live a good life and serve as an example.  “Actions speak louder than words.”

We discussed the concept of a “vocation” as a calling and provided some examples.

We discussed “sanctifying grace.” We described “grace” in general as simply God’s love. We compared it to the love of a parent to their child, and continuing the metaphor, we asked the class to think of times when they felt their parents’ love more than others. (ie: getting a hug, comforting, praising, etc.) Just as a hug is a way a parent can convey his or her love to a child, the Sacraments are God’s way of extending his love (grace) to us.

We discussed the three categories of Sacraments:

  • Sacraments of Christian (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
  • Sacraments of Healing (Penance/Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had time to briefly go over the three categories and discuss each Sacrament.  Next week, we’ll do a little review/reinforcement and then move on to a more detailed study of Baptism.

We finished up with a practice I may make a regular part of the program. At the beginning of class, I told the students that I would be asking each of them a question at the end of class, “What did you learn tonight?” Just before the end, I asked the question and went through the class for answers.  Everyone answered with something we had covered, and were rewarded with a chocolate chip cookie. They seemed to like that. Maybe we’re on to something.  🙂

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