Successful Start of the Children’s SUNDAY SCHOOL
The English Catechism class for children started off successfully on September 1. A total of 22 students ages 6-12 enrolled in the Program, an important step of faith formation in order to grow in in their Christian vocation and to continue building the future of the Catholic Church in Japan.
The first lesson was about “God’s Creation.” The children were asked to take a picture and explain whether the drawing was “God’s creation or Man’s creation.” One answer took everybody by surprise: some of the things presented were not only man-made, but “Mama-made,” pointing to a picture of an “onigiri.”
Humor and very practical answers pervaded the one-hour class. When asked what not to do inside the church, one very young child said, “Do not use your iPod. Do not eat inside of the church.” When the catechist asked, “And If you want to eat…? he said, “You should go to a restaurant!” These spontaneous answers show how receptive children are to adult teaching in everyday life.
Children ought to learn basic prayers. Thus, they were divided into two groups and given a puzzle to form the Lord’s Prayer. They were to cut the different sentences comprising the prayer, put them in the right sequence, paste them onto a big sheet and then recite the prayer together. It was endearing to see the older ones, who already know the prayer confidently, helping the young ones, who still faltered as they read it!
The catechists used creative and genki teaching methods to keep the children engaged. They were supported by a 16-year-old Japanese-American volunteer, who was like an older brother to the children. The parents also actively participated and gave the catechists a helping hand. (It is important to get the parents involved as they provide encouragement, guidance, and follow-up support at home.) The English Center Coordinators, past and present, also gave valuable input and advice. Fr. Bony, SJ came and gave stampitas to the children. All these, l believe, led to the success of the Opening Session.
SUNDAY SCHOOL sessions in English are purposely held on the first and third Sundays of every month from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. so that the children can afterwards attend the 12:00 English Mass. In particular, on the first Sunday they are specially attended to by the Angels Group. Aside from being a valuable help to learn about and experience the Catholic faith, it is a good foundation for those who would like to prepare for the First Holy Communion. It is also a stepping stone for those who want in the future to serve at Mass as Altar Servers.
by Lyn Doble