Yesterday, Crackerjack's CCD class held an All Saints Day Party - and boy was it fun!
This was such a lovely time. As Catholic homeschoolers, our CCD experience has been limited thus far ... We study our religion at home, right alongside our academic subjects. We've read Bible stories to our children since they were babies. We prepare for and attend weekly Mass. We mark and honor the liturgical calendar. In short, our faith is so interwoven in our everyday life, I have not felt CCD necessary for my boys. It can be a very nice social opportunity, though, as we have come to find out!
In most parishes, participation is required during sacrament years. (CJ makes his First Holy Communion next May.) When Bookworm made his FHC years ago in our old parish, he went to the class - and it was nice, but a big surprise to me was that they didn't encourage family participation. For instance, they would not allow the chidren's books to go home. That (as I'm sure you can imagine), drove me batty.
Crackerjack started his CCD program last month at our new parish, and on that first day I asked if we could bring home his book. How pleased I was to hear the happy and emphatic response "Yes! Please do!" I knew we were in a good place. :)
And now for a few - oh, who am I fooling - many words about the party!
Crackerjack chose to dress as Saint George, who is his favorite saint (due to the whole knight-dragon-sword-and-shield status). He was *thrilled* when Sister, who greets all the students at the door, exclaimed as he walked in:
"A-ha! And here we have Saint George!"
CJ beamed and turned to me with a whisper - "She knows who I am!"
Surprisingly, not all the children dressed as saints - but those who did were a delight! At the beginning of class, each costumed child was asked to step forward and talk a bit about whom they were dressed.
Crackerjack brought up his sword, book, holy card and slain dragon (he left his shield at the table with a friend). Fully prepared, he looked up at his teacher and said,
"I'm Saint George ... and I don't know anything else."
Other saints of the day included:
~ Saint Agnes, dressed in a pink sheath and carrying a lamb ~ "I died when I was 12 and I liked God better than boys because I never got married."
~ Saint Anthony, who insisted he was also Saint Agnes, because he misread his mother's handwriting.
~ Saint Francis, dressed in a brown robe and carrying an armful of stuffed animals (which were certainly not his but bleonged to his sister should anyone wonder).
(And overheard at the table: "Hey, that robe looks like the ones they wore in Star Wars! They must have been monks!")
~ Saint Joseph, dressed in an oversized graduation gown, who had a similiar repsonse to Jack's ("I'm Saint Joseph and that's all I know.")
Anyone who dressed up got a prize. Here is Crackerjack and a few friends trying to decide which to choose - plastic bug or tootsie roll? The plastic bug won out.
Next it was on to the craft of the day ~ a Pumpkin Carving Prayer! This was really a very nice idea (see the prayer at the end of the post). We read aloud the prayer through each carving step. The kids mostly enjoyed pulling out the seeds and insides(and running back and forth to wash their hands in the restroom).
Crackerjack, however, kept a safe distance from those "pumpkin guts."
Finally he decided to help by making the nose. You can tell he's really concentrating because of the tongue. (Bill calls that "a Michael Jordan" - who apparently did this when making a shot.)
Voila! The finished pumpkin!
And here is the lovely prayer, with instructions:
As I carve my pumpkin, help me say this prayer:
Open my mind so I can learn about You;
(Cut off top of pumpkin.)
Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do.
(Remove pumpkin insides.)
Open my eyes so Your love I will see;
(Cut eyes in heart shapes.)
I'm so sorry for turning up my nose to all You've given me.
(Cut nose in shape of cross.)
Open my ears so Your words I will hear;
(Cut ears in shape of Bibles.)
Open my mouth so I can tell others You're near;
(Cut mouth in shape of fish.)
Let Your light shine in all I say and do.
(Place a lit candle inside.)
The children made these little prayers into bookmarks; here is CJ coloring his. After he finished, he folded the paper in half and glued the two sides shut. The teacher punched a hole at the top and tied on a piece of raffia. What a nice autumn memento!
Ooh, and I must mention the neat snacks that were served:
I missed what they were called, but as CJ's kind teacher explained them to me, they sound very simple to make (and they were delicious to eat):
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Lay pretzels on a baking sheet and place an unwrapped Hershey's kiss on top. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press an M-n-M candy on top. Yum!
And while the group snacked and finished their bookmarks I was asked to read Crackerjack's book aloud to the children - Saint George and the Dragon. This has long been Crackerjack's favorite book - and it's battered and bent enough to prove it - but the other children had never heard it. If you know this book, you know the story and the pictures are riveting. I think CJ was proud to share his book (and his mom) with his friends. :)
As always, thanks for sticking with me for such a long post, (one of these days I'll write a short one) and for taking this peek at our day! We have a whole week till the real All Saints Day and we're already quite excited!