During the summer of my neophyte year (I came in to Mother Church during the Easter Vigil Mass of the Jubilee Year 2000.) our director of religious education asked me to teach 6th grade CCD. She told me that the year covered the Old Testament. I felt incapable, but I said that I would do my best. I continued on for four more years teaching 6th grade CCD, learning as I taught.
Then, for a while, I entered parish-based renewal ministry and did not teach CCD, until this year — how surprised I was to end up with a small class of 5th grade girls at our new parish. One afternoon this winter, one of the girls told me that she was having trouble with a fellow student at her public elementary school. The problem was that this student did not believe in God—at all!
Before I knew it, we had gone off the lesson and were deep in the difficult waters of apologetics. My student, Caitlin, was dismayed that the other girl kept clamoring for “proof.” She was deeply worried about the fact that this girl was an atheist.
Caitlin said that she kept hearing the other girl asserting her position that God did not exist and that, further, there was no proof that God did exist. Caitlin’s jaw had dropped, and she could not think or respond to what was to her so very disturbing as a prayerful child of a big, Catholic family.
She shared with me and the class, “Later, I was thinking about it, and it came to me that she is the proof. Why didn’t I say, ‘you, YOU, are the proof!’”
We all became quiet thinking about the truth and beauty of Caitlin’s defense. In our pensive state, we knew the Holy Spirit was telling us something we would all share again and again. My other student, Shea, also at a nearby public school, was similarly dismayed at a fellow student who, upon hearing that Shea is Catholic, said, “Well, you Catholics worship Mary, now, don’t you?”
Shea told me and the class, “Of course she challenged me as I was walking off the bus and did not have the time to think or say anything!”
So, as we had done so often in this little class, we stood, made the sign of the Cross, and said a prayer asking our Lady to intercede to her Son, our Lord, for those with little or no faith, and to help us too, to give us the graces we need to stay calm and carry on in this world so hostile to our Catholic Faith.
Honestly, I came very close to not taking on this CCD assignment this year. I am so glad that I did! I praise and bless the Name of Jesus who, only by the merits of His Precious Blood, has re-made me as a daughter of His Kingdom. I thank our Lady, especially as the “Seat of Wisdom,” as she continues to bring me out of my comfort zone, bringing me to new little “mission fields,” even if they are only a 10 minute drive from our home! TKC!
One of the girls in Mrs. Sullivan’s CCD class, Michel, finished her preparation for her First Holy Communion, which she just made this past month of May 2013.