Archive for the ‘catechesis, CCD, religious education’ Category

Vatican praises The Simpsons

March 17, 2010 3 comments

I’m not a huge fan of The Simpsons, but I just watched a episode about Bart going to Catholic school called “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star.” [S16E21] In the classic Simpsons’ satire, Bart & Homer become Catholic while Protestant Marge tries to bring them back. WOW! A great episode to use with high school discussion groups. This episode touches on all kinds of questions about faith and religion (and there’s lots of paintball in it, too!).

I also found an article about the Vatican praising The Simpsons show.

Animated US television show, The Simpsons has gathered praise from the Roman Catholic Church for their “realistic” way of dealing with religion and spreading happiness among viewers. An article published in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano has lauded the long-running show, insisting “many today wouldn’t know how to laugh” if the series hadn’t been aired, reported Contactmusic.

The newspaper story thanked the show’s producers for depicting family patriarch Homer’s struggle with his own faith through its 20 years on the small screen. “Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets His name sensationally wrong. But these are just minor mistakes, after all; the two know each other well,” the article said. The story also insisted that The Simpsons success is due to its “realistic and intelligent writing”.

The same newspaper had recently paid tribute to ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, for highlighting the “sacrifice” needed for good to triumph over evil.

WOW! Who would think The Simpsons would be watched at the Vatican?  What next, Family Guy?

CCD 7th: God the Son (day 17)

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we reviewed God the Father (from last week) and focused on God the Son (chapter 5 in our book).

(A) Reviewed God the Father. Played the video clip from Martian Child (see last week’s summary).  Reviewed homework assignment … think of an example of a movie clip demonstrating a “good dad.”  From that, we brainstormed why our relationship with God the Father becomes so wounded that we stop trusting the unconditional love He has for us.

(B) Discussed prayer “Core Wounds.” In our diagram of the Christian Heart (body, mind, soul), our life experiences can develop “core wounds” that hurt our lives physically, psychologically and/or spiritually.  They are shown as X’s on our diagram.  These wounds are actually “LIES” that affect our future relationships, especially with our Heavenly Father.  A common example, even shown in movies, is how our hurt relationships with our earthly father affect how we view the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father.  Wounds can keep us from trusting His loving plan for our lives.

(C) Who is Jesus? We showed a movie clip from the 1996 Sylvester Stallone movie called Daylight.  It’s the scene when the rescue worker (Stallone) first encounters the trapped people.  Only getting 1 rescuer is not what the trapped people expected.  This disappointed reaction is similar to the one Jesus received from people as they came to discover Him as the Messiah.  The idea came from clip ideas.  Click the link to get discussion questions.

Here is a trailer for the movie.  The actual clip used is here (but it’s in a foreign language).

Good discussion as we imagined the roles of the people, the Messiah and what our reactions would be in their shoes.

Homework: (1) Chapter 5 assessment questions on the last page.
(2) handout “How the Bible describes Jesus” … look up passages
(3) bring textbook + Bible + journal

CCD 7th: God the Father (day 16)

January 31, 2010 1 comment

In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we touched on God the Father (chapter 4 in our textbook).  I finally got to bring in my laptop and play a few movie clips.  Awesome topic.  — I was really looking forward to today!

(A) Opening prayer song reflection was He is Yahweh by Dean Salyn.

(B) God the Father is always present & knows what’s best for us & forgiving. Showed a clip from Lion King (1994), when Simba takes Nala to the Elephant Graveyard after father Mufasa warns against and ends up saving them from the 3 Hyenas.  The focus is the discussion between father and son at the end.  [Idea from with discussion questions.]

(C) God the Father has unconditional love for me. Showed the movie trailer for the John Cusack movie Martian Child (2007) about a sci-fi writer wanting to adopt a child who thinks he’s a Martian sent to observe Earthling life.  The focus clip is when the child breaks something and thinks he’s bad and will be sent away.  The father assures him that “Nothing you can do will change the way I feel about you.” and then proceeds to break other “things” showing they don’t matter as much as him.  Awesome clip!  — I had to “pause” when leading the discussion … it easily resonated how I hear my Heavenly Father’s voice.

Discussion was great.  [Idea from with questions.]

(1) Chapter 4 Assessment questions,
(2) Pray the Lord’s Prayer each day this week,
(3) Give an example of a movie clip with a “good dad.”

catechists … prepare for Advent

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

I found a great blog called Catechist’s by an 8th grade catechist named Joe who “knows his stuff” and provides resources and discussion about catechesis.  He’s been in ministry for 30+ years and does online seminars called “webinars.”  Check it out … especially if you’re a catechist.

In the above video, I especially like the following (I’ll use it in class next week)

Jesus’ Three Comings:  In …

  1. History — when Jesus came Man (incarnation)
  2. Mystery –as Jesus comes to us today in many ways, especially in the Eucharist
  3. Majesty — as we look forward to His triumphant return at the end of time

Lots more on his site.  Check it out!

CCD 7th: Parent child Jeopardy + Angelus + BAPTiSM prayer types (day 10)

November 22, 2009 1 comment

Today, in our 7th grade Pre-Confirmation class, parents were invited to come to class for orientation of the upcoming year and review of the last 9 classes.  We opened with a review of “incarnation” and the “Angelus” for an opening prayer.  Then I reviewed the different prayer types with B.A.P.T.i.S.M..  Then we played Jeopardy!

“Angelus” Prayer
(The Angel of the Lord)

[Lead:]  The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
[ALL:]  And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
HAIL MARY, full of grace …

[Lead:]  Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
[ALL:]  Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
HAIL MARY, full of grace …

[Lead:]  And the Word was made flesh,   [bow during]
[ALL:]  And dwelt among us.
HAIL MARY, full of grace …

[Lead:]  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
[ALL:]  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

[Lead:]  Let us pray.
[ALL:]  Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
Thy grace into our hearts;  that we,
to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
through the same Christ Our Lord.

Types of prayersB.A.P.T.i.S.M.

  • BLESSING – invoke God’s power for a person, place or activity
  • ADORATION – the “created” before the Creator
  • PRAISE – glory God (for who He is)
  • THANKSGIVING – gratitude (for what He does)
  • i ASK for ME (petition) + OTHERS (intercession)
  • SORRY – ask of forgiveness
  • MEDITATION – tuning into God, reflection (through quiet prayer, Sacred Scripture, lectio divina, liturgy of the hours, Rosary, holy icons, imagery, books of daily devotion, lives of saints, works of spirituality, etc.)

The MASS includes ALL these types of prayer

We played Classroom Jeopardy! with teams of parents & kids.  With almost perfect attendance, only 5 kids came without parents and everyone seemed to have a great time playing.  Most categories were facts we’ve covered in class like “Jewish Roots,” “Gotta Have Faith,” “Facebook Jesus,” “Catholic Pop Quiz,” “Catholic Prayers,” “Angels & Demons,” and “A.R.R.R. You Listening?” Then there was the more entertaining categories like “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Anything Goes,” and the favorite “Candy Bars.” A great time for all.  I can’t wait to bring the parents back soon!

CCD hs: grace + sin + service journal (day 9)

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

In our high school Confirmation class, we reviewed everything we learned to date using handouts of outlined points covered each day (basically our catechist notes).  I then covered GRACE, SIN, and CONFESSION.  The visual illustrations are my own (in parenthesis) that I used to teach these “highly religious” words to 7th graders years ago.  (If you have any other suggestions or comments, please let me know.)

Holy = to be set apart and united with God.

Grace = free and undeserved gift of God’s love and life.  (like “air”)

Sanctifying Grace = supernatural gift from God where our sins are forgiven & are made holy. First receive thru Baptism & continually sanctified through all sacraments.  (like “clean air“)  Lost by mortal sin.

Actual Grace = God’s impulse to help in our everyday lives.  (like “sweet smells”)

Sacramental Grace = graces specific to each sacrament.  (like “satellite TV”)

Sin = freely choosing to do something that we know is wrong and against God’s will; we can sin in thought, word, action, or by omission.  (like “rejecting air”)

Mortal Sin = serious offense that breaks our relationship with God & His grace. (like “holding your breath”)  Requirements are …

  1. it must be a grave matter
  2. we must know we are sinning
  3. we must freely choose to sin

Venial Sin = a less serious offense that weakens our relationship with God.  (like “smoking”)

Sacrament of Reconciliation = by confessing mortal sins with a contrite heart to a priest (in persona Christi = in the person of Christ), we are reconciled with God and with the Church, the Body of Christ.  Penance is the whole cycle of conversion, forgiveness and making reparation (repaying any debt) for our sins.  This strengthens us to resist future temptations.


  1. Spend some time reflecting on your actions and do a thorough examination of conscience.
  2. Go in the confessional & greet the priest.
  3. Make the sign of the cross together.
  4. Begin: “Bless me Father for I have sinned.  It has been (time) since my last confession.”
  5. Confess your sins.
  6. Priest will speak to you and/or share something from Scripture.
  7. Priest will give you your penance.
  8. You will say the Act of Contrition.
  9. Priest will pray the prayer of absolution.
  10. Thank the priest & leave confessional.
  11. Spend some time doing your penance.

We finished the class by giving examples on their “Christian Service” Journal reflection that is due next time.

CCD 7th: Review ALL classes (day 9)

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we REVIEWED all our previous classes to date.

Here are links to previous classes:

All these links are indexed on my Uth + CCD tab (at the top of this blog) for all classes.


  1. bring parents next class,
  2. bring Bible, if you have one already,
  3. review notes with parents in preparation for playing Jeopardy!

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