As you may know, beside visiting one grade of classes per week on a rotating basis, Fr. Manning teaches a weekly session with the 7th and 8th grade Holy Cross students, half of each class per six month session.
Sometimes the sessions cover topics selected by the teacher, the pastor or the students themselves. Often we discuss issues raised by their studies in Religion class. On occasion the session covers any questions they may have about Church events, Catholicism and especially morals and ethics in today's world.
Last week the 8th grade asked questions about sacred relics. This afforded us an opportunity to discuss not only what relics are, but the place of reverence for the human body even after death, the proper distinction between the respect we show these mortal remains of saints and supersition or magic, even the bizarre and sometimes less than respectful travelling exhibit Body World. The implications for the new altar and the identity of the mystery saints relics in our altar stones were also discussed. Relics are no longer required by church law to be contained in the table of the altar. Why the church believes we should bury the dead or the cremains of the dead and the relatively recent church sanction for the practice of cremation were also mentioned.
The seventh graders asked questions about the Bible, especially Genesis, theCreation and Fall, and the real Garden of Eden. The Discovery channel shows on the Bible, when properly explained, can be a good discussion starter, not only to put the claims of the shows producers in context, but to help understand the media's approach to religion and Catholicism.
No specific topics are selected today, so we'll see...