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We share news from our sisters in the mission in Wachula, Florida describing a very special apostolate at the end of March.

After our Second Annual Youth Festival in January (2015, 2014), some kids in our mission asked if we could organize something similar for them. They insisted that they “just couldn’t wait until 7th grade”!  Exploring this idea with the other catechists and assistants, we got a resoundingly positive response and so we decided to plan a one-day “Children Festival” for children between 1st Grade and 6th Grade on March 28 from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.  We chose as the theme the Gospel’s phrase I call you friends (John 15:15).  After all, holiness can best be described and lived by children as just that, friendship with Jesus.

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We had a great Festival! I summarize it as simply a joyful day! Even when at the end of the day we felt exhausted, how good it was to be with all these children, they are so full of life. It is impossible not to celebrate and have a good time with them. Not in vain are they the dearest of our Lord of whom He said: let the children come to Me, do not stop them (Mark 10:14).

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Our day did not really include anything extraordinary.  We had breakfast followed by a short presentation on the Passion of Jesus and on the Eucharist. Next in the schedule there were outdoor games, opportunities for confessions, a short video on the Holy Mass, time to sing together and then have lunch.

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After lunch, divided in groups they studied from their booklet the questions and answers for the trivia game, based on what they had learned during the talks. After that, they had games, snacks, and more games.

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In late afternoon, we tried the hard work of putting them together for a group picture.  Then we all gathered for the Holy Mass, and here I must remark on their seriousness and devotion in participating.  I imagined Jesus must have been so pleased to have them there, His beloved friends!

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Afterwards we released a rosary of balloons with “vivas” to our Lady. The last things of the day were a trivia game, prizes and dinner. We all know that most children eat in two seconds and … they are playing again. We were sure to have things around for them to play, tetherballs, corn holes, ropes to jump, etc.

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No extraordinary activities in our day, however, the children were all day extremely happy with those simple things we put together for them. May God bless them and all those who worked hard to make our Children Festival a great day for them and the Lord! Let us never get tired of teaching our children the way to Heaven! We have such a great honor to serve these…little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:10).

Sisters in Wachula, Florida in the Diocese of Venice

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