I couldn’t be happier with how my first session went last evening, thanks to a great group of kids, a highly organized DRE, and a wonderful aide (my wife!)
I ended up with 9 students having lost one boy and gaining one girl, so now, I have 6 girls and 3 boys. They come from 5 different schools but have “traveled” together through religious education at St. Cajetan for 6 years and have a great chemistry and comraderie. They were very bright, cheery, talkative, and well-behaved, so kudos to their parents and to their previous catechists!
Here’s a brief summary of highlights:
- The kids tend to straggle in at different times beginning as early as 30 minutes before class (because some of their parents are catechists). That made for some nice chit-chat time.
- They took to the opening procession as Joanne led them around the room to set up the prayer table. They were excited about bringing in their own symbols next week (one girl raised her hand and shared that she already knows what symbol she’s going to bring).
- They shared some wonderful intercessions as part of the opening prayer. I attribute that to having them write out their prayer intentions as soon as they find their seat. This year, I am having them jot down 2 things: who/what they want to pray for; what they are thankful for. This went very nicely.
- They had fun trying to solve the “secret code” in order to get a cold bottle of water! We used that as a way of introducing the notion theme that “God Keeps NO Secrets!” The opposite of keeping secrets is REVELATION and the Bible is a source of God’s revelation.
- We prayerfully presented them with their Finding God textbooks and Bibles saying, “The Word of the Lord” to each as we handed them their books to which they responded, “Thanks be to God.”
- We then read from chapter 1 of Finding God which provides an overview of the Bible. I used a ball toss to select the readers of each paragraph (they love doing that) and also used “clue cards” to highlight key words in the text which they then taped to the board to form a “word wall.”
- They were very energetic as I sent them to the board in teams of 3 to see how many names of Bible characters they could brainstorm in 2 minutes. Each team came up with between 15-20. From there, however, I challenged them to find the story of David and Goliath in under 2 minutes and, as usual, none could. I said that this is one of the problems we are going to tackle starting next week.
- I then introduced the concept of “sacred space” to them, inviting them to find a corner of the room to get comfortable in as I led them in a guided reflection. They adapted to this extremely well. In all, we did about 10 minutes in quiet, reflective prayer.
- Following this, I gave a short quiz to see if they grasped the big ideas of the session and Joanne then reviewed it with them. I was impressed with how well they did. They are a bright group!
- We then distributed their take-home binders and went over their first homework notification sheet which they are to return with a parent’s signature next week.
- We finished with a brief closing prayer and they blessed themselves with holy water on their way out. They left with a very good spirit and with lots of energy.
I’m blessed to have such a good group of kids and I look forward to spending the year with them!