Classroom Notes: 2017-2018

Pentecost

Birthday of the Church. As the Scripture readings proclaim, the Disciples were gathered around Mary, our Mother, and the Holy Spirit came to them in the form of wind and fire, inspiring them to burst out of the upper room where they were hiding from fear. They went out to proclaim the Good News of Jesus, the Savior of the world. This Birthday event is for all of us as we live our faith in our families, neighborhood and our world.

Seeing the Sacred in the Secular

Our second and third grade Catechist gave her class a tangible image of God in a form that is likely to be frequently in their hands.  They are called fidget spinners and are a very popular toy.  The three sides represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  When spun, the image becomes unified as the One God.  St. Patrick with his shamrock would have been proud of our second and third graders, their Catechist and her fidget spinners.

CLOW (Children’s Liturgy of the Word) Bears Fruit

Jesus reminds us that he is the vine and we are the branches.  We must remain firmly attached to Jesus in order to bear fruit.  This imagery came to life for the children in CLOW as they prepared symbols of the fruit they might bear.  The fruit we bear is love, good deeds and prayers.  As we allow Jesus’ words to stay with us, we can know that our prayers will be answered.

First Communicant Banners

There are three children from the Christian Formation Program who made their First Holy Communion this year.  They are learning about the Mass, and how the Liturgy of the Word prepares us for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The First Communicants prepared banners with the help of their family.  Pray with them  and for them that they may always honor the Sacrament and keep it in the forefront of their lives.

 

7th & 8th Graders Study the 10 Commandments

The Ten Commandments were brought down the mountain by Moses.  These commands from God, though written in ancient times, are for all people at all times.  The 7th and 8th grade class has been thinking about how the commandments offer them guidance during their middle school years.  It is in this kind of study that the commandments come alive for us.

Lenten Journey

The children in Christian Formation are getting some help in for their Lenten journey.  The calendar suggests how to incorporate symbols of Lent into a visual aid.  Every week there is something to add to the prayer table that reflects the Sunday gospel.  Sand invokes the desert, a rock stands for the mountain, a candle provides light.  There is living water, and a plant to show new life.  These provide a reminder to pray and a visual focus for prayer.  Lent is a time for renewal through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Let us support each other as we work to renew our faith.

7th & 8th Grade Learn About the Apostles

The liturgical seasons of the Church year include Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time.  These seasons celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord.  During Ordinary Time, we focus on the life and teachings of Jesus.  For example, during Ordinary Time, we study Jesus calling his apostles.  The 7th and 8th grade class learned a mnemonic to help them remember the names of the twelve apostles.  We share it here:

B -    Bartholomew
A –     Andrew
P –     Philip, Peter
T –     Thaddeus, Thomas
I -      John, James, Judas, James
S –     Simon
M –     Matthew

Advent

The Sunday morning classes have been learning about Advent, the preparation for Christmas.  They made Advent wreaths to help mark the time. They studied other people who were part of the history of Jesus.  Then they directed their thoughts to the immediate circumstances of Jesus’ birth and set up a creche.  These symbols in our homes help us to focus on the meaning of Christmas in our life.

Preschool

Our youngest students have been thinking about giving thanks.  They were tasked with naming the people (and pets) in their life for whom they are particularly grateful.  We have all been given so much, and our lives are fuller and more joyful when we recognize these people and things.  We identify their source as the God of all, who loves us.

Grade K-1

The Kindergarten and 1st Grade class members, under the direction of Karen Eisenberger and Katie Miroslaw, have been working on ways to understand, connect with and celebrate the Mass. In October, the class identified and discussed some of the objects that help us pray at Mass including the choir, the hosts, pews, ambo, crucifix, candles and much more. They are learning the parts of the Mass so that they may participate more deeply in the Mass. The children are beginning to imagine themselves on the altar, as future altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers and/or priests.

The Pope, The Environment, and Us – Mini Retreat

Many of the children of the parish joined their parents and elders at the parish retreat at Havenwoods State Forest in early October. The retreat was intended to highlight the papal encyclical Laudato si’ in which Pope Francis encourages us to recognize the natural world as a gift from God that must be cherished and protected! Havenwoods State Forest land was heavily used, eventually becoming a missile site, but is now being returned to a more natural state. A craft activity involved choosing and painting a rock, to have as a durable reminder of appreciation for God’s creation. These rocks are currently in church as prayer offerings at the statue of St. Therese.