Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacation Bible School

One of my sisters told me that my last post and my "excuse" were lame.... so I thought I'd share with you one thing that has been taking up a whole big bunch of my time lately.

This week I am serving as a catechist at a Vacation Bible School program in a local parish. It's not our home parish, but it's one where many of my homeschool friends attend. I was asked to teach the "Faith Station" for three, four, and five year olds. I agreed. (More about that in the promised upcoming post about my recent reflections/discernment.)

The program we're using is from Cat Chat. It's called "Marvelous Mystery: The Mass Comes Alive". We're three days through the five day program. It's going well. Each day is like a sprint. I'm "dancing fast" and pulling out all my "tricks" to keep these little ones learning and having fun. I'm having fun too. I do feel like one of my basic gifts and callings is to teaching, especially catechesis. I am energized by the children and the lessons.

Fortunately, my boys are having a great time participating in this VBS. Lots of their friends are there. Each morning they are eager to get there and on the way home each afternoon they love telling me about everything they got to do. It's been a really hot week here and we just collapse in the afternoons. The boys have been watching movies and playing and I've been able to stretch out and read "Gone With the Wind." (I'm FINALLY nearing the end... Scarlett's on her third husband!) Not much else is getting done, but that's OK.

So, here are some pictures from the first three days of VBS:

Each morning the teenagers put on a skit for all the VBS children, presenting the theme of the day.

So this is my homemade church. I am embarrassed to say how many hours I spent making this, but I'm pleased that the kids love it and it's been a fun and important part of our lessons. It was all folded up on the first day and the children had to solve the "mystery" of what it was. We unfolded it and they had to hunt for the pieces to go in the church. The pieces (statues, windows, etc.) velcro onto the carboard church. We've used this to learn the parts of the church and the parts of the Mass. The children love putting "Little People" in the pews each day.

I love this shot taken by Ray.

 A few of the adult guides commented to me that they never knew about the "sacrarium" (the sink in the Sacristy that has a pipe leading straight into the ground fpr the disposal of blessed wine, water, ashes, etc. to keep them from going into the sewer system).

 Check out these BEAUTIFUL saint posters! My friend Tamara is my awesome classroom helper. Her wonderful daughter Rachel worked many, many hours (with some help from her brothers) to make these gorgeous "stained glass window" posters for our classroom. We learn about one saint each day by telling the story of the saint, hanging the poster, and dressing up one child to look like the saint.

Here's my little friend Nora dressed like Saint Joan of Arc!

Three year olds showing off their "gifts for Jesus." It's quite a trip keeping them "focused" for thirty minutes each day!

My friend Tamara teaching the five year olds about Mary.

The four year olds put on dress up clothes and talked about what is/isn't appropriate to wear to Mass.

We learned about unity by working together to keep the balloon on the blanket.

The Cat Chat program is based on a fictional cat named Moses and his family. I collected a whole bunch of stuffed cats which we use each day as part of our lesson. I usually have the children pick a cat and we play "chat with a cat" as we review what we've learned. Today, however, was Moses' birthday! The cats threw him a big birthday bash! (And we talked about the Mass as a CELEBRATION.... with lots of rituals similar to a birthday party.)
Another beautiful room decoration made by Paula, a VBS helper.

So there you have it.... that's part of what I've been up to. Building a church. Collecting cats. Planning lessons. Teaching children. All for Jesus! I can't wait for tomorrow and Friday! Better get to bed.

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