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confessionAll too often religious education programs help prepare children for their First Reconciliation but struggle to assist the parents in preparing their children.  They, after all, are the primary educators or might I say     “prepare-rs”.  This year I really wanted to look at our First Reconciliation parent meeting in a different way.  I wanted to touch parents lives so that in return they would be able to impact their children.  I found a very powerful video and showed it (outline below).  I didn’t want the meeting to just be me or someone talking up front, but since all these parents are part of our church family I wanted them to grow together and share their lives together. That is why I then had them interact at tables with small group discussion questions.  Below I have additional details regarding what I did but first and foremost it was about touching the hearts of the parents because if we can engage their hearts and minds it will naturally overflow onto their children.  I was grateful to hear that it was well received and parents were in fact touched by what they experienced.

 

I opened with a prayer and then went right into this video:

Forgiveness Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9J6xOT3Ldw

Then I had parents answer some questions about the video and about how theyprodigal Sonpic
have taught their kids about forgiveness and hope to prepare them as they
prepare their child for their First Reconciliation.

Following the small group discussions our Pastor spoke for about 5 minutes encouraging parents and then I showed the following video:

Sacrament of Reconciliation Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtbpOERgMvk

Afterwards, I shared a few thoughts and went into some specifics from a folder of material we give about helping their children prepare for their First Reconciliation.

I ran out of time but I wanted to then share this video:

Beautiful Things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is6weMrenls
picturegirl

 

 

What do you do to impact the parents at meetings like this?  I’d love to hear from you!


student smilingLast night I had the privilege of teaching my son’s 2nd grade class.  It was our first night and we began with introductions/announcements in the church from the DRE.  Then we had about a half hour with the children and parents in class.  This is what I did:

I. Set the chairs up in a circle so we could do an ice-breaker/get to know you game. I used one of those beach balls that have various questions on it.  The kids, especially the boys, like it (but they were a little rambunctious).

II. Then we shared with them how excited we were to have them in class this year.

III.  I invited everyone over the the sacred space area where we stood around it and read a passage from the Gospel and then I related it to them preparing for their First Reconciliation.  We prayed together and had a few moments of silence so they could think of one thing that wanted to change this week (obeying Mom and Dad, being kind to brother/sister, not complaining, etc.).

IV. Then we shared with parents the joy it is for us to be able to partner with them in their child’s faith formation.

It’s going to be a great year and I’m excited to be back in the classroom.  Being a DRE myself and always on the administrative end I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to be a classroom catechist!

What did you do on your first day of class?


forgiveWhat do you do when you have parents together for a First Reconciliation Preparation Meeting?

I’ve done various things in the past.  Last year I showed a few video clips and one of our priests talked a little bit.  I also handed out materials for parents to do with their children and gave suggestions for how to make it a special and meaningful time of preparation.

If you have any specifics on what you do I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks,

William


pointingOne of the latest issues in the sports world that has been spoken of non-stop in the last 24 hours is the domestic violence occurrence by Ray Rice to his now wife Janay Rice (when the event occurred they were not yet married).   Here is what she had to say about all the media reports:

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.

“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his butt off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravens nation we love you!”

 

Taking her comments at face value her response should fill us with great sadness.  In a world that is intolerant to others being judged and condemned Ray Rice is being cast as less than human and worthless.  Yes, we should be outraged by his actions and the domestic violence going on in our communities.  It is good that the Media is speaking about the horror and evil of domestic violence.  However, at what point do we portray an individual unjustly?  Justice is “that which is owed to another”.  God has given each and every person human dignity.  Each of us are created in the image and likeness of God.  The Gospel Message is for sinners.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost (cf. Lk. 19:10).  We can and should judge actions but we owe each and every person the respect they deserve.  Repentance and forgiveness are both significant aspects of the Christian Message.  The Media thrives on the hype and drama of events like this one, but they are doing little good speaking about it in the manner they are.  Ironically the individuals in the Media can be the harshest at judging others.  Reminds me of what Jesus said: “You blind guides”.

Catechetical Take Awayprodigal son1

1. Judge actions and speak of how are decisions/actions can separate us from God and our neighbor.

2. Acknowledge the dignity of each and ever person – we are so much more than the actions we do.  Our value and worth goes far far deeper.

3. Forgiveness.  A person is a person no matter what right?  Ray Rice made a very serious error in judgement that has resulted in serious consequences.  But he has expressed sorrow and could be just as repentant as St. Mary Magdaline or St. Peter.  Pope Francis put in very well:

How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!

 

Let us pray for Ray Rice.  Let us pray for those who perform acts of domestic violence to change their ways.  Let us pray for a more merciful world where each and every person can come to know and respond to the Father who has great plans for us (cf. Jer. 29:11).


notsofast

 

 

I thought I was going to be able to launch a new blog domain but have encountered some difficulties.  I will still post here for a little while and I’ll update you on my progress.

                                                           ~ William 

 

“The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, “the mystery of Christ.” Catechizing is in a way to lead a person to study this mystery in all its dimensions: “to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery…comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth …know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…(and be filled) with all the fullness of God.”

~ St. John Paul II: Catechesis in Our Time


Next week I will be switching to a new domain/blog.  It’s called Catechesistoday.com .  Look for it next week.

 

Have a blessed weekend!  Let us pray for our brothers and sisters being persecuted and killed for their faith in the Middle East!

 

In Christ,

William O’Leary

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