DECEMBER 2014
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MID-TERM ASSESSMENTS

Most of our classes will be administering mid-term assessments the week of Dec. 14th. [Due to the Advent Family Session scheduled that week for Grades 5 & 6, parents will be given the 5th and/or 6th Grade assessment, to administer at home.] These assessments are a useful tool to both provide the catechists with feedback on how the material they have taught over the first half of the year has been retained by their students, and to provide students an opportunity to synthesize all that they have learned. We ask that parents take some time to help their children in this important part of their learning. Catechists will use the assessments as input for the Progress Report that they will prepare over the break for each of their students. The purpose of the reports is to provide parents with some formal feedback on how their children are doing with the subject matter covered and in the classroom. There are no grades assigned or permanent records. The assessments and progress reports are for information purposes only.      

DECEMBER CALENDAR
To access our RE Calendar which includes events for the month of December, click Here 
 

 

     

DROP OFF ON SUNDAY 

Please don't drop off your child at RE, then attend Mass without him. Attending Mass is an important part of his formation as a Catholic... the reason why we have asked parents to make a commitment to following through on this aspect of their children's religious education.  

 

Attending Mass together is also an opportunity to bond as a family within your parish family... giving your child a sense of belonging.      

  
 EMERGENCY CLOSINGS

  
Now that it is December and winter weather is definitely here, we may encounter further storms and and cold that may mean having to cancel sessions here & there.  If the weather looks questionable, you can go to www.EmergencyClosings.com to see if we've cancelled your session.  We will appear as

"St. Alphonsus Parish Religious Education".

 

Or...If you are driving, just listen to WBBM or WGN.

 

ADVENT IN 2 MINUTES
 
Advent in 2 Minutes 
What's Advent again? 
SUNDAY HOSPITALITY ROOM
Don't forget that for parents with children on Track A (Sunday), our 4th Grade room becomes our "Hospitality Suite" for families to kill some time between the end of sessions and the start of the 11:00 Mass by relaxing over coffee, juice, and goodies (up until an hour before Communion).

 

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ADVENT REFLECTIONS
with Fr. Robert Barron
The Unsatisfied Longing

I've always sensed that the Advent attitudes of waiting, expecting, hoping, and anticipating somehow speak to the deepest desires of our heart. That is probably because our whole existence here below is characterized precisely by these attitudes.

 

The world is filled with wonderful things and experiences-deep joys and satisfactions. But we all know that nothing here finally satisfies us.  

No matter how much we know, we want to know more; no matter how much we love, we want greater love; no matter how much beauty we attain, we sense that there is a perfect beauty that we haven't seen.

  

 

"O come O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel." That great Advent hymn catches our ache. As we move into this season of anticipation, allow that ache to develop, preparing you for the satisfaction that will arrive only in Christ. 


You can sign up to receive daily meditations from Fr. Robert Barron
during Lent. 
          
 

  HYMN FOR ADVENT

Come Lord,Maranatha! By Ricky Manalo,CSP 
Come Lord,Maranatha! By Ricky Manalo,CSP
St. Alphonsus RE Program
Parent eNewsletter
Greetings!
 
Dear Parents,
All Chicago Bears fans would certainly agree this hasn't been a pleasant season. For all the hopes and promises of training camp back in the summer, we've had to endure a pretty dismal year so far. (To the Packer fans amongst us, please remember Christian charity and kindness this Advent. It is much appreciated...and much needed.)

So yes, we have just entered Advent, that wonderful season on the liturgical calendar that begins our Catholic new year. Advent is a time of preparation and hopeful expectation. Advent invites us to try to quiet our lives a bit, to be reflective of God's presence in our lives. The darkness of this time of the year befits the Advent season, for we are waiting like the shepherds keeping watch. We are, in these special weeks, awaiting the breaking of the dawn that comes with Jesus, who entered the world as Emmanuel
(God with us) and enters our lives as salvation if we only make room for him in our hearts and our homes.

I encourage you and your family to commit (or recommit) yourself to God and to Jesus and Catholic faith this holy season. Use these weeks of Advent to pray more, both individually and as a family. Find time to be still, even if just for a few minutes each day, allowing yourself to be drawn into the divine mystery of God's love for you, proven in the gift we celebrate at Christmas, the gift of Jesus Christ. Seriously consider the place of Sunday Mass in your lives. It is at Mass where we feast on the grace of Jesus poured out in Word and in Eucharist. See Tips for Going to Mass for ideas and motivation.

I must confess, I am an avid Patriots sports fan and never miss game if it's broadcast in our area. I mentioned the
Bears earlier because it seems to me that many of us are more apt to dedicate time and energy to our sports teams than to our spiritual lives. I'm sure countless Catholic Bears fans eagerly commit 4 hours or more to watching their beloved team each game day but make the choice not to attend Mass on the weekend. It is strange to consider but is no doubt true.  he Bears or the Blackhawks or Notre Dame or any team that we support, while having value in our city and our lives, certainly is not more important than God and our spiritual well-being. That is obvious and self-evident. And yet, I wonder how it has happened that sports has become the religion of America. Our cultural worship of sports doesn't only extend to the teams we watch on TV. We also are guilty, as a nation, of raising up the sports that our children play as of prime value and importance, often giving hundreds of hours a year to watching games and even practices. Often a great deal is sacrificed so that sports can be so highly prioritized. No doubt there is much good to having children participate in athletics. (I've played multiple sports, including baseball up to the collegiate and semi-pro level, and I know the great life lessons that can be learned through athletics.) But doesn't it seem to have become a disproportionate part of our lives at times?

I am choosing this miserable football season for Bears fans to communicate with you on a most obvious point. Neither the Bears nor any other team deserves our figurative worship. Sports, both played and watched, have no power to save, to bring light to the darkness, to offer a true and lasting hope for meaning, healing and life. No, that comes from God and God alone.

I have been guilty of giving misplaced devotion to Boston and Chicago sports teams in the past. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe we can make this Advent a time where we can put our priorities straight, in ourselves and in our families. Maybe we can commit to carving time and focus in our new Catholic year to having God and faith as our front-and-center value, with everything else finding its proper place.

Certainly we can all agree that "In Jay We Trust" is not an adage we should live by in this or any year.

Emmanuel, come!

Kevin Cody, DRE

ADVENT CONSPIRACY
Make this Christmas different!
Advent Conspiracy
Advent Conspiracy

 
Advent Family Sessions 
Parents join their children for learning & fun. 

   

Parents of children in grade-levels 3-6 will join their children for an Advent lesson. Track A will be meeting in their classrooms. Tracks B & C will meet in the Church Hall. The sessions will include activities, games, and discussions.

 

Grades 3 & 4 ......... Week of Dec. 7th

Grades 5 & 6 ......... Week of Dec. 14th

 

Grades 1 & 2 met last week. It was great to see the parents of the children we have come to know and love enjoying this time with their children.

 

 

Family... The Necessity of Complimentarity 
Perspectives by Pope Francis

  

 

Following are excerpts from his  

Address to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 

 

Speaking of the theme of complimentarity, the Holy Father quipped at the beginning of his address: "You must admit that 'complementarity' does not roll lightly off the tongue!"

But, he said, to "reflect upon 'complementarity' is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all Creation. This is a big word, harmony. All complimentarities were made by our Creator, so the Author of harmony achieves this harmony."

Pope Francis described the complementarity of man and woman as a "root of marriage and family."...  

 

Pope Francis said that in this context, complementarity is not understood as a "simplistic idea" where the "roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern."

"Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children -- his or her personal richness, personal charisma," he said. "Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful." ...  

 

 "Do not fall into the trap of being swayed by political notion," he said. "Family is an anthropological fact - a socially and culturally related fact. We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history. We can't think of conservative or progressive notions. Family is a family. It can't be qualified by ideological notions. Family is per se. It is a strength per se.