Dear Friends in Christ:
Quí Ông Bà và Anh Chị Em thân mến trong Chúa Kitô:
Estimados Amigos y Amigas en Cristo:
The month of October is designated as Respect Life Month by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (USCCB). The U.S. Bishops stated in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities (Nov. 2001): “We proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self & others; that society, through its laws & social institutions, must protect & nurture human life at every stage of its existence.”
In order to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death and to organize for its protection, the Bishops develop educational materials on pro-life issues. Starting next week, we will run a six week series on different life issues. This weekend we conclude with the last article on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
I ask that the entire parish pray for abundant blessings on our newly revamped CCE process. As the baptismal rite for children states, parents are called to be the best of teachers in the ways of faith. Parents have the primary privilege and obligation to pass on the faith to their children. Parents have the most vested interest in their children falling in love with Jesus and receiving an understanding of the faith. Therefore, this year we are asking parents to review each week a chapter from the CCE books, help their children to grasp the material and help them with the questions and activities in the text. By doing so, faith becomes a family affair. The faith of the parent is strengthened and reinforced by the teachings of the faith and the Church.
When the child comes to Sunday sessions, the information learned at home is reinforced and supplemented by basic concepts, Scriptures and Catholic Faith Words that are presented in the chapters of their texts. The Church’s year of feasts, seasons and music plus Catholic Social Teachings are also presented. The Sunday sessions are more interactive filled with activities and games so that the students learn the faith in a more engaging manner. The sessions are no longer classroom style: a catechist (teacher) “lecturing” with the students passive and most likely bored. The following is a summary of what occurred recently in the 6th-8th grades:
“What a great turn out and a fun experience today. We opened the class with a prayer of Hail Mary. Today's lesson was emphasized on reading from the bible: The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32) and the meaning of the parable.
· Each child was given a bible, and they learned where to find Luke from the New Testament.
· They learned the difference between the Old & New Testament (before/after Jesus was born).
· They learned how to look for a scripture as "chapters" and "verses."
· 21 children read each verse from the Gospel.
· We discussed how forgiving the father was to his son who wasted all the money while the older son felt jealous that a party was given when the youngest son came back to redeem himself.
· We related this parable with "Our Father" who is forgiving of our sins as long as we repent. One way to do so is through the sacrament of reconciliation.
· The children also learned the three (3) Liturgical years (A, B, C), and why we read from Luke today:
· We reviewed the four (4) Gospel authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
· Year A - the church reads from Matthew's Gospel
· Year B - the church reads from Mark
· Year C - the church reads from Luke - and we are currently in year C
· John’s Gospel is read on special occasions
The new liturgical year begins with Advent, which is usually in November. After reading and discussing the Gospel, we moved to the most fun activities: a game of "pictionary." The children were divided into two teams, and each team selected someone to draw on the board to guess the words they learned from the reading and from the general church teachings. The children enjoyed it immensely.”
Most seem to see the great value of this new process. As with any change, there are still challenges to be worked out. We are here to assist all parents and their children, by providing the tools to fall in love with Christ and His Church and the teachings! Please pray for this worthy goal!