Last night was our second Confirmation intensive (a 2-hour session made up of five 10-minute mini-sessions sandwiched in between an opening and closing session in their “homerooms.”) Thank God, things went pretty well once again. Here are the highlights:
- half of the kids forgot it was an intensive. When I clarified that they were staying till 9 o’clock, a half-dozen cell phones were promptly whipped out to call home to re-arrange pick-up times!
- the kids were in a good frame of mind…they generally and sincerely seem to enjoy our gatherings. The usual level of giddiness was present, resulting in the usual amount of pauses that I employ when speaking in order to regain their attention!
- in our homerooms, we began by focusing on our ability to “talk the talk” – namely, being able to articulate our faith as stated in the Nicene Creed. I challenged the young people to memorize the Creed by Confirmation. I hope to follow up on that.
- in the mini-sessions, they spent 10 minutes with each catechist, completing activities focused on putting our faith into action (walk the walk) – the spiritual works of mercy, the corporal works of mercy (they assembled a mini-booklet with symbols/pictures representing each work of mercy), justice (they took a poverty quiz and then discussed it), service (they discussed their service experiences whether completed or planned), and the Beatitudes (they completed a crossword puzzle with phrases from Matthew’s Beatitudes).
- the time really flies with the mini-sessions, but they (the sessions) are so focused on a specific theme, that the kids come away with a concrete notion of some basic principles of our faith.
- Pacing is one of my problems…I typically bite off more than I can chew. My first mini-session went overtime resulting in the next class waiting outside the door. Luckily we allow 5 minutes for movement in between sessions (when it really takes about 30 seconds!) so it was easy to correct my pace and get back on schedule.
- My other problem is that I’ve been committing one of the “mortal sins” of catechists: I’ve been putting all of the supplies for our activity on the table that they gather around – scissors, glue, staplers, paper, etc. Of course, these become toys for them to play with as soon as they are seated and I expended a lot of energy getting them to leave them alone and to focus. Shame on me! I need to find a better way to have supplies standing ready without having them within reach of the kids.
- At the end of the evening, I borrowed Mary Kay’s idea (a fellow 8th grade catechist) of requiring each young person to state something that they did and learned this evening. Thankfully, they each provided something, some better than others. A few kids just offered brief answers like “The Beatitudes” or “Service” while a few others said things like “I learned that nearly 20% of children in American live in food-insecure households” or “I learned the difference between charity and justice.” They obviously heard what my fellow catechists said about these issues.
Next week, we have our third intensive with a focus on the number 7: the 7 deadly sins, the 7 virtues, and the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit! More on that as we get closer.
P.S. totally unrelated, here’s a pic of me from the Loyola Press Christmas party…I grabbed one of my co-workers’ pair of shades and did my best to look cool, failing miserably! 🙂