Eighth Grade Catechism: The Roman Catholic Church

  1. Mr. Drury
    1. Some advanced degrees
    2. Database programmer by trade
    3. We're St. Thomas parishioners. Kids were in St. Thom catechism program.
    4. com.gmail@drury.arthur
    5. 408-3572 or 439-1630
  2. Our topic: The Roman Catholic Church
    1. What are it's institutions, sacraments, & traditions?
    2. Where did they come from?
    3. More importantly, what can anything so ancient have to do with us?
  3. The Catholic Church Big Idea: We're in this together. The true Christian life is a life of participation in the sacramental life of the Church.
    1. Viewed as human institution:
      1. Catholicus : Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning universal, the Grand, Unified Vision of the World.
      2. Apostolic. Traditions that transcend & unite cultures & generations. Stewardship.
      3. One. Unified & unique.
    2. Viewed theologically:
      1. Holy. Church as the sacred in the ordinary. Sacramental.
      2. The Blessed Sacrament. Liturgy is shared worship revolving around the Real Presence of the risen Lord at Mass. Not unlike Incarnation itself: Divine united with natural.
      3. Church as Bride of Christ. Marriage-like covenant uniting Creator & creatures, sacred & profane, in one Body of Christ.
      4. Church Universal, uniting living & dead, heaven & earth
  4. Our Catechism Class Big Idea: You're in it, too.
    1. What does that have to do with us?
      • Q: Why would you care? Why spend a whole year discussing The Catholic Church Big Idea?
      • A: Because it's who you are, it is a central part of your identity. It isn't chosen but inherited, like the color of your eyes. It isn't a paint job or something put together with hammer & nails; it's the grain of the wood.
    2. Eighth graders are old enough to ask themselves who they are or who they might be.
    3. What we will consider: You yourself are an imporant part of the Catholic unity; & that Catholic unity, in all its meanings, is an important part of who you are.
    4. Put another way, Roman Catholic Christianity & its traditions have a great deal to say about who we are or who we could be.
      1. If I see myself as part of the People of God, what does that imply about who I am?
      2. If I assist at Mass today, how does it bear on who I am today?
      3. What is it like to be guided through the year by the Liturgical calendar, with
        1. Seasons (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost)
        2. Lectionary cylce
        3. Saints' days & feasts
    5. The Church is experiencing a worldwide renewal of a specifically Roman Catholic Christian identity. However, it's also experiencing virulent opposition & even persecution.
    6. Put differently, Catholic Christianity is a powerful counter-cultural force in society.
      1. A central value of modern civilization is personal autonomy, but Catholic culture emphasizes connections, dependencies, responsibilities.
      2. Catholic connectedness includes traditions, connections to other generations, past & future. But, our culture isn't very friendly to tradition:
        1. The New: Our scientific, technical, commercial society focuses on innovation, the latest thing.
        2. Progressivism: So-called progressive politics is similar in that it's always looking forward, breaking with the past. It always promises that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.
        3. Individualism: Americans are individualists; we admire originality, creativity, self-sufficiency more than fidelity to old ways.
        4. Entertainment: Always chasing novelty.
        5. Relativism: Old-fashioned civil tolerance between faiths is sometimes magnified into a kind of relativistic principle that inhibits us from embracing our own traditions wholeheartedly.
      3. So, what does it mean to embrace Catholic traditions in a world that trusts in self-sufficient rationality, such as modern science?
      4. More generally, consider a unity not mentioned above because it has become problematic:
        1. What is relationship between Church & surrounding society?
        2. Should we judge the Church by standards of current generation, or other way around?
  5. It's a very ambitious agenda, including:
    1. Thirty centuries of human history
    2. Every country & people in the world
    3. Good & evil
    4. Life & death
    5. Heaven & earth
    6. Windows & Macs
  6. Rules: Based on my experience teaching this class for several years, I lay down the following simple rules:
    1. Pay attention. You'll be glad you did.
    2. Don't be disruptive. You'll wish you hadn't.
  7. Weekly format
    1. We will spend about half of each class studying the Gospel verses that will be heard at the following Sunday Mass. Goal: Learn a little about how to read the Bible.
    2. List of weekly topics from Blessed Are We.
    3. Since the source & summit of specifically Catholic Christianty is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a big part of our exploration of the Catholic Church will be study of the Mass.
      1. What's going on at Mass?
      2. How should we understand it, or at least begin to think about it?
      3. Why is it so important?
    4. However, from experience, I have learned that students can't grasp what's being said about Mass without experiencing it. Accordingly, as part of this class we will attend Mass together several times.
  8. Questionnaire. A few questions about some of our topics that you will be able to answer by the end of the year.
  9. Instead of Getting to Know You, please write The Best Thing About That Kid.

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