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September 15, 2019

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Nostra Aetate

50 YEARS AFTER ITS PUBLICATION

The ministry of the Word is a fundamental element of evangelization through all its stages, because it involves the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God.

“The word of God nourishes both evangelizers and those who are being evangelized so that each one may continue to grow in his or her Christian life”

(National Directory for Catechesis [NDC] [Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005], no. 17).

 

Fall In-Service - Deacon Keith Davis

 

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The Fall Catechist In-Service

by Deacon Keith Davis, Ed.D.
Director, Ministry Resource Center
Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Human beings, men and women, were created in the image and likeness of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] no. 1702). This truth has been held and taught by the Church for 2000 years.It is a major doctrine expounded on through the centuries by all the great Fathers and Mothers and Doctors of the Church. Pope Francis said it this way:People "are God's handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God's glory" (Evangelii Gaudium [EG], no. 274). Our human dignity is founded on this principle and on the fact that we were created out of God's infinite love for us. Again, Pope Francis helps us to understand this: "To believe in a Father who loves all men and women with an infinite love means realizing that he thereby confers upon them an infinite dignity" (EG, no. 178).

As previously stated, this is not something new. The principle of human dignity has been impressed on students for decades. Our Catholic education system, catechetical programs and youth ministry programs have emphasized that all people are worthy of God's love and, therefore, are worthy of our love, too. This is the source of the great commandment of Christ - to love God and to love one another.Just as God's love is indiscriminate, so we are called to love those who are created out of love in God's image.

It is incumbent on educators (including parents) to assist the faithful of all ages to understand that our basic human dignity is derived from this principle - that we are created out of love in God's image. This principle is also the "basis for our moral vision" as Catholics (Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB). It is imperative that we, as educators, not only teach this principle but that we live our own lives in accordance with its precepts as outlined by the Church.

This in-service will assist us in understanding the principle of human dignity as a moral imperative by looking at Catholic Social Teaching in light of the Ten Commandments. In other words, we will look at the concept of human dignity in the context of our most basic understanding of morality as outlined in the Decalogue. While this may seem a bit unusual to some of us, it is a concept that is clearly articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In preparation for the in-service, both the facilitator and the participants should reflect on two resources: The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching as outlined by the USCCB and Protecting Human Dignity: The Ten Commandments by Stephen M. Colecchi. The discussion and activities of the in-service rely on the concepts outlined in these two resources.

Purpose

To assist catechists to recognize that Catholic Social Teaching is rooted in the Ten Commandments. This in-service will take approximately 2 and 1/2 hours.

Materials Needed

  • Tables and chairs set up for small group discussion;

  • Table and coffee, tea, juice, and other refreshments

  • Flip charts and markers for each table;

  • Copies of the Stephen Colecchi handout for each participant;

  • Copies of the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching for each participant;

  • Copies of the small group discussions for each table;

  • Copies of music sheets/worship aids for each participant;

  • The video "In the Footsteps of Jesus;"

  •  TV or projector with screen;

  •  Video player with speakers;
  • CD player (or musicians);

Suggested Music:

  •  Anthem - Tom Conry - Oregon Catholic Press

  •  We are Called - David Haas - GIA Publications

  • Whatever You Do - John Angotti - World Library Press

Advance Preparation

  1. Assign someone ahead of time to prepare the opening prayer service.

  2. If the video is shown, preview it so for familiarity.The DVD is titled:"In the Footsteps of Jesus" which is available from the USCCB bookstore (Product Code: 5-444 ). Otherwise, the facilitator should prepare a short presentation based on The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

  3. Copies of the Seven Themes should be made available to all participants ahead of time or as they arrive.

  4. The article:Protecting Human Dignity: The Ten Commandments by Stephen M. Colecchi should be duplicated and given to each participant either ahead of time or as they arrive.

  5. If possible, assign participants to small groups based on the age group that they teach.

  6. Copies of the small group instructions should be available for each member based on the group they are assigned.

  7. Prepare an evaluation form to assist you in future planning.

  8. Musicians and a music leader may be recruited or a CD player will be needed for the songs.

  9. The song words or music sheets as well as any worship aids should be prepared ahead of time for the participants.

  10. A closing song should also be prepared as a sending forth.

Schedule

This in-service day is offered in one 2 and 1/2 hour session with the following components:

  • Welcome, Gathering and Opening Prayer (30 minutes)

  • Part 1:The First Five Commandments (45 minutes)

  • Break (15 minutes)

  • Part II:The sixth through the tenth Commandments (45 minutes)

  • Closing song and evaluation (15 minutes)

1. Welcome (5 minutes):

Greet the participants and explain to them the purpose of the gathering as stated above. Explain that they will reflect on how the Ten Commandments provide a framework for understanding human dignity and that they will be asked to come up with some creative approaches to helping their students engage in the topic. The first session will focus on the first five commandments and the second session on the last five commandments.

2. Opening Prayer Service (15 minutes):

  • Gathering song

  • Opening Prayer

  • Reading:Matthew 22: 34-40

  • Reflection

  • Prayers of Intercession

  • Closing prayer

  • Closing song

3. Presentation on Catholic Social Teaching (10 Minutes):

If possible, have the group watch part I of the video "In the Footsteps of Jesus" which outlines the seven principles of Catholic social teaching. This will help in the discussions that follow.If this is not possible, review with the group the seven principles.

4. Part I - small group activity on the first five commandments (45 minutes):

Divide the group into five small groups and assign each group of the first five Commandments.If the group is large, form more small groups so that there are six or fewer members in each group. In this case, more than one group will be working on each of the Ten Commandments. Ideally, the small groups will be formed among catechists/teachers who teach in similar grade levels. If the total size of the group is less than 10 persons, you may want to discuss each commandment in the large group, one at a time, and eliminate the small group discussion. See the resource guide for handouts that pertain to each of the groups. After twenty minutes of discussion (see resource guide), each group will share the results of their discussion with the large group (20 -25 minutes). Make sure to save the notes from each group.

5. Break (15 minutes)

6. Part II - small group activity on the second five commandments (45 minutes):

Using the same groups from session I, assign each group one of the last five Commandments, giving them the resource guide handout that pertains to their group.After twenty minutes of discussion (see resource guide), each group will share the results of their discussion with the large group (20-25 minutes). Collect the notes from both of the sessions. These can be summarized and given to the participants later.

7. Evaluation (10 minutes):

Have the participants evaluate the experience either verbally or by passing out a prepared evaluation form.

8. Closing song (5 minutes).

Family Option

This activity can work well in a family setting. Have everyone watch the video as described above or have someone make a presentation on the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Take each of the commandments (see the resources) one at a time and discuss them one by one, using the article by Stephen Colecchi:Protecting Human Dignity - The Ten Commandments. The questions from the resource guide may need to be adapted for optimal family discussions.

Notes

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Libreria Editrice Vaticana–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000.

Evangelii Gaudium. Pope Francis. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013.

In the Footsteps of Jesus. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, 2003.

Protecting Human Dignity: The Ten Commandments. Stephen M. Colecchi. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, 2015.

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005.

Resources

Handout A - Small group instructions for Part 1:

Form five small groups around the grade level that the catechists teach (primary, middle, etc.). The groups are given one instruction for the first round of discussions and the second instructions are given for the second round of discussion.Each participant should have a copy of the article: "Protecting Human Dignity: The Ten Commandments" by Stephen M. Colecchi and a summary of "The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching" (USCCB) for reference.

Group "A"The First Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me" (CCC, no. 2084).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the First Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): How are the atrocities against Christians affecting you as a Christian? What are some ways you can help your students understand what is happening in the Middle East in regards to religious freedom?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. What is the root of human dignity?
  2. How is God's providential care for us, his redemption of us, and his call to live life in this world so that we can live forever with him in the next supportive of human dignity?
  3. Is it becoming more difficult to stand for Catholic faith in God and moral conviction about His teaching in the United States?
  4. How does the restriction of human freedom undermine human dignity and the human right to worship God in society?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper. Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "B" The Second Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" (CCC, no. ).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Second Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): In what ways are your students influenced by false notions of God portrayed in our culture through media and society in general?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How is the name of God invoked for purposes inimical to human dignity? At home? Abroad?
  2. How is the name of God blasphemed by mistreating another human person?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper. Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "C" The Third Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (CCC, no. 2168).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Third Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes):How are your students influenced by economic inequality, unjust labor practices or cultural pressures that take away from "family" time?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. Do I participate in Sunday Mass, thus worshipping the dignity of God and offering thanks to God for my own human dignity?
  2. Do I order my week so as to provide enough time for prayer?
  3. How does my work become less prayerful because of economic pressures, unjust labor practices, or cultural practices which undermine human dignity?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "D" The Fourth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (CCC, no. 2197).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Fourth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): In what ways do your students see themselves as part of a family?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How is the dignity of the family under attack today?
  2. How is the dignity of parents undermined by disobedience and/or lack or respect?
  3. How can the dignity of other members of the family (grandparents, children, relatives) be undermined by inappropriate behavior?
  4. How can human dignity be fostered by cultivating the family as a domestic church?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "E" The Fifth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not kill" (CCC, no. 2258).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Fifth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes):What direct affects do the current wars have on your students? How is aggression handled in your classroom?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How does abortion and physician-assisted suicide destroy human dignity?
  2. Does capital punishment undermine human dignity?
  3. How are wars related to unfaced human struggles in respecting or protecting human dignity?
  4. How does unharnessed anger lead to the egregious denial of human dignity in murder?
  5. How do young people learn to challenge the aggressive drive into strong, loving behavior?
  6. How does the harassment of another person or the bullying of that person violate his or her human dignity?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Handout B - Small Group Instructions for Part II:

Retain the groups from Part I and repeat the activity using the following handouts, one per group.

Group "A" The Sixth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not commit adultery" (CCC, no. 2331).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Sixth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): How is the objectification of persons influencing the behavior of your students?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How does chastity promote the dignity of the human person?
  2. How do adultery, fornication, and homosexual actions denigrate the dignity of the human person?
  3. How does pornography undermine human dignity by treating the other person as an object for sexual gratification?
  4. What concrete measures would help young people be chaste?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "B" The Seventh Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not steal" (CCC, no. 2401).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Seventh Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): How aware are your students in regards to poverty? How has poverty affected their lives?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How does misusing human beings to increase personal profit constitute "a sin against the dignity of persons and the fundamental rights?"
  2. How does a "throw away culture" lead us to denigrate both human dignity and the natural environment?
  3. How does atheistic socialism deny human dignity?
  4. How can undisciplined capitalism deny human dignity?
  5. How does stealing what is rightfully another's, except in extreme need, violate human dignity?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "C" The Eighth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (CCC. no. 2464).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Eighth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): How has social media affected the lives of your students in terms of gossip or the spreading of lies?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How do gossip, rash judgement, detraction, and calumny erode the human dignity of another?
  2. How does lying undermine both one's own dignity and the dignity of others?
  3. What concrete practices of cheating mark the lives of students today?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "D" The Ninth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not covet . . . your neighbor's wife" (CCC, no. 2514).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Ninth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): In what ways does our culture make it difficult for your students to appreciate modesty?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How does purity of heart enhance and protect human dignity?
  2. How does lust violate human dignity?
  3. How does modesty encourage respect for human dignity?
  4. What concrete practices would help young people in this area?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Group "E" The Tenth Commandment

One of the members reads the following out-loud: "You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor's" (CCC, no. 2534).

Refer to the Colecchi article under the Tenth Commandment section.

Brainstorm (five minutes): How do your students experience the effects of greed in their lives?

Discuss (ten minutes):

  1. How does envy and greed work against a respect for human dignity and the rights that flow from it?
  2. How does detachment enhance human dignity?
  3. How does envy and greed promote human conflicts and even wars?
  4. What are the concrete ways to counteract envy and greed in the lives of young people?

Choose the best ideas from the group and write them on the flip chart paper.Assign one person from the group to present your discussion to the large group.

Resource A:

Protecting Human Dignity: The Ten Commandments. Stephen M. Colecchi. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, 2015.

Resource B:

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005.

 


Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to duplicate this work without adaptation for non-commercial use.

Excerpts from Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, copyright © 2013, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV). Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved.



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