Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela | ARCHIVES
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, June 25, 2017

Marylhurst grad program May-August

Home : Parish/School Life : Parish and School News
3/30/2017 1:38:00 PM
Bringing Catholicism to vacation Bible school
Courtesy of St. Matthew ParishOne of the priests or brothers at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro greets the vacation Bible school children each morning with a blessing for the day. Here, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit Fr. Jose de Jesús Ortega Tejeda offers his blessing to the children.

Courtesy of St. Matthew Parish

One of the priests or brothers at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro greets the vacation Bible school children each morning with a blessing for the day. Here, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit Fr. Jose de Jesús Ortega Tejeda offers his blessing to the children.

All of the stations for vacation Bible school at St. Matthew are connected to the themes for the day and week. This snack for the Life themed week was meant to replicate God’s creation of dirt and worms.

All of the stations for vacation Bible school at St. Matthew are connected to the themes for the day and week. This snack for the Life themed week was meant to replicate God’s creation of dirt and worms.

When Molly Teeter started with the Vacation Bible School program at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro, the curriculums used were non-denominational Christian.  But Teeter, the parish coordinator for children’s faith formation, and her team wanted a “100 percent Catholic” program.

“We had these kids for a week in the mornings,” she thought at the time. “What a great opportunity to get them excited about their faith with all of the music and activities that happen during a normal [vacation Bible school].”

So, she started looking for curriculums that were Catholic. She even had one parishioner at the parish create one on the Mass. At the time, not a lot of Catholic vacation Bible school programs were around. But parishes have numerous Catholic program options today.

For a week each summer, children in the St. Matthew vacation Bible school program, those kids entering kindergarten up to those entering 5th grade, spend their mornings at the church. Teeter ensures that one of the priests or brothers at the parish speaks to and blesses those gathered.

Then, they’re divided into small groups. They visit each of the program’s four stations: faith, crafts, games and snacks and then gather with all of the vacation Bible school attendees for music.

With the Catholic themes for each week, the children are able to interactively learn about various elements of the faith. The sacraments, the Mass, life: these are just a few of the weekly themes that have been explored at St. Matthew’s program over the years. Each day has its own sub-theme. One day of the Sacrements-themed vacation Bible school looked at baptisms. Each day then has a correlating saint and virtue. For baptisms, children considered the virtue of courage and the life and works of St. John the Baptist.

“They learn, in a fun way, about their faith,” says Teeter.

Becky Curl has been a member of St. Matthew Parish since 1998. She has six kids, ages 2 to 14 years old. Last summer, she had four children in the vacation Bible school program at the parish. They loved it.

“They look forward to it every summer,” says Curl. She adds that the family protects that week of their schedule.

Teeter allows teens to help with vacation Bible school. Curl appreciates that the older children can stick around.

“As they’re getting older, I see that they’re taking a lot of responsibility and ownership but that they’re also interested in seeing what’s new this year,” she says.

Each summer, Curl’s kids come home singing catchy, Catholic songs which Curl uses again as part of her homeschooling curriculum.

Shirley Rossetti has four children, three teenagers and one 9-year-old. The Hillsboro mom loves that the St. Matthew program is based on a Catholic platform.

“It’s not just ‘Yay, Jesus!’ It’s Catholic based,” she says. For her kids, the program has really made the Mass come alive. They still remember elements of the Mass that they’ve learned about through the years.

Like Curl’s children, Rossetti’s kids still eagerly await helping with the program each summer.

“When a teenager wants to keep helping, that speaks volumes,” she says.

On the last day of the week, the children and vacation Bible school staff and helpers gather for Mass and a potluck with the children’s families.

“[The kids] get a great sense of community,” says Teeter. “That in itself is the bonus.”



Related Stories:
• Theater camps: from campy to Shakespeare
• Got small campers? Some top spots to pitch your tent
• New at camp: Flying drones, solving crimes





Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
 
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search








News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2017 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved