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Joyful Advent!  The Fruit of the Spirit for December is, most aptly, JOY!  We don’t have to work too hard to be joyful in December, do we?

Reminder:  This Thursday, Dec. 8,  is a Holy Day of obligation – the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  At Saint Rose, Mass times will be 8:30AM and 6:30PM.  Many people believe that “The Immaculate Conception” refers to Jesus being conceived in the womb of Mary, but that event is called “The Annunciation” (when the angel announces that Mary will have a child).  The Immaculate Conception is Mary’s conception in the womb of Saint Anne.  Mary was preserved from all sin, even from original sin (the sin we all inherit from Adam and Eve’s sin).

The Religion classes tend to spend less time in the regular curriculum during this time of year, because we are doing so many extra things.  This week, each of the middle school classes will have an Advent Penance service and the opportunity for individual confessions.  At least one class period will be spent preparing for the service and conducting an examination of conscience.  BTW, I will have a sub on Wednesday, as my husband and I will be picking up our daughter for Christmas break.  Yahoo!  Can’t wait to get her back for awhile.

In addition, here is this week’s update for each class…

6th Grade will continue the Exodus story.  We have just reached the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea, and will then begin following the Israelites’ journey through the desert toward the Promised Land.  We will spend some time in the next couple of weeks discussing the many times the Israelites fell into sin during this period, particularly sins of complaining and idolatry.  This week or next, we will also begin a “Jesse Tree” project connecting Old Testament stories to aspects of the life of Christ.

7th Graders will continue their study of the miracles Jesus performed while on earth, and the lessons He conveyed through them.  Last week we discussed Jesus’ first public miracle, when he turned water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana.  Mary is quoted for the last time in Scripture at this event; significantly, the last words we read from her are, “Do whatever He tells you.”  So many of these miracle stories have details that are worth pondering deeply!

8th Graders continue their unit on Church history, but most of their class time will be spent on other projects this week.  In addition to the penance service, they will begin work on the “Collaboration of Generations” I mentioned last week.  Students will learn and practice the skill of storytelling, by learning and retelling the stories of nursing home residents. We will meet with the storyteller twice this week (once at the nursing home) and twice next week also, before presenting the stories on Monday, December 19 (stay tuned for details about time and place for this event).  Meanwhile, I sent a permission slip out through Jupiter today; please print, sign, and return it to me ASAP.  Thank you!!