Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: Catholic Kidz Camp (VBS) Assorted Saints and the Virtues

 

Last week our local Catholic parish finished up our annual Catholic Kidz camp (VBS) week using the Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints and the Virtues program.  In my post HERE I introduced this program that we used.  This is the second year our church used the Growing with the Saints program created by Catholics for Catholics.  You can read my review of our Vatican Express Catholic Kidz Camp experience last year HERE! 

It was another faith-filled, fun, and busy week as many children and adults explored 5 different saints from around the world!

I was one of the adult leaders for the rising 1st graders and each day I documented some of the exciting things that we have learned (children and adults) on my Facebook statuses.  As a leader, I read from The Assorted Saints storybook, which is a beautifully written and illustrated book about each saint.  Here is what I wrote for Days 1-5:


Day 1 with Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints from Around the World was great fun! First stop: Mexico, to meet St. Juan Diego where in 1531 our Blessed Mother (Our Lady of Guadalupe) appeared to Juan, a poor Indian, in the most miraculous way! I loved telling my sweet 1st grade group about Juan Diego's life and about the miracles of Our Lady's image on Juan's tilma. The image has survived an acid spill and when a bomb went off under the image in 1921 everything around it was destroyed, but not the image! Almost 500 years later, the image is still preserved perfectly in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City! Juan Diego definitely had the virtue of faith, especially when no one believed that a beautiful lady appeared to him! I snapped a picture of one of my 1st graders coloring an Our Lady of Guadalupe image and tilma.   The candle of Our Lady was lit all week and I had the children take turns carrying it from room to room as we moved through the different stations and activities.  They LOVED carrying the candle throughout the week!  For more information about Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe click on this link here:   http://www.followthissite.com/guadalupe.php

"Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live." John 11:25


Day 2 with Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints from Around the World was lively and a great time! We learned that St. Brigid of Ireland was born in the year 453 and she heard St. Patrick preach, another beloved Irish saint. St. Brigid was scolded and shunned by her father because she was too generous and gave her possessions and love to the poor and needy. But, St. Brigid had the virtue of hope knowing God would help her find a way to share, despite the trials she faced. Many miracles abounded in her life as well! Pictured to the left is a St. Brigid's rush cross that the older children made. For more on St. Brigid go here:  
 http://www.stbrigid.ie/content/story-st-brigid

"For you are my hope, Lord." Psalm 71:5
 



Day 3 with Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints from Around the World was another amazing day learning about another amazing saint, Saint Martin de Porres! My first grade group found it quite interesting that Saint Martin only went to school for 2 years and at age 10 stopped schooling to work for a doctor. He practiced the virtue of love because he loved ALL God's creatures, including pesky mice that ate the religious' food in the monastery and put holes in their vestments and Saint Martin even loved spiders! Saint Martin healed many sick and suffering also! God used this saint for many miracles and he was the first black saint from the Americas. (Peru).  For more information on St. Martin go here: http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/kids/saints/1103_porres.asp

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37
 


Day 4 with Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints from Around the World Catholic Kidz Camp was filled with fun and facts about St. Nicholas, the cheerful giver! The kids loved learning about how this real life "Santa Claus" had a heart for God by giving away gold coins to poor families. They also found out he was from Turkey! On this day, the children made mitres or hats, which are worn by bishops.  St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra.  This is one of my favorite St. Nicholas sites that I refer to often during the Advent/Christmas season:
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/ 

"Love one another as I love you."  John 15:12

Day 5 with Growing with the Saints Assorted Saints from Around the World Catholic Kidz Camp ended with learning more about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks. She was a beautiful Indian princess born in 1656.  She was the first North American Native Indian saint, born in New York.  She had a hard life as she became an orphan when her parents and baby brother all died from smallpox and she was left blind with scars on her face.  Her faith was strong throughout her life, despite her many trials and when she died at the age of 24 in 1680, a priest kneeling at her bedside noticed that her face was shining with no more scars.  Saint Kateri was canonized  a saint not too long ago as she interceded for a young boy who was close to death with a flesh-eating bacteria.  Read more HERE about this miraculous story!    

One of our mom volunteers dressed as Saint Kateri for the week as she led the Bible stories in the Native American "cave." 

On Friday, the children colored monstrances and we spent some time in our church's chapel at adoration. 

All the kids loved singing the fun songs all week with our high school and college-aged young adult volunteers!

We were also blessed to have a few seminarians help out with the week of faith-filled and fun activities! 

I highly recommend this program or any Growing with the Saints program for your parish!  I loved Vatican Express last year and I especially loved this year's Assorted Saints theme since the saints' lives are so inspiring and have helped me in my own faith journey in the Catholic Church.  It was such a joy to share my love for the saints and our beautiful Catholic faith with the children and families that attended this year's Catholic Kidz Camp! 

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