The Catholic Children on Fire for Christ (CCFC) programme has been ministering to Catholic children in Government schools for the past 10 years. Every Lenten season offers an opportunity for the catechists in the various areas of the country to make the story of our salvation come alive, and this year we were able to conduct a number of interesting activities in our nation’s schools.
Some schools arranged for retreats to be held at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) Centre. Individual retreats were conducted for each school according to their choice of topic. El Dorado West Secondary chose “Talitha Koum – Little Girl I Tell You Get Up” for their retreat for the Form 1 students, who entered fully into the re-enactment of the poignant story. They gave their full attention to every aspect of the drama and left the retreat secure in the knowledge that each one was a special child of God.
Chaguanas Secondary chose “Perseverance” for their theme and the moderators used the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, to develop their message. Here again role-playing proved to be a very effective tool of evangelisation.
In other areas catechists held retreats at their schools or at their parish churches.
Most other schools conducted Stations of the Cross with the aid of pictures, handouts, and the crucifix. Traditional Catholic meditations for the Stations were read and the students responded in prayer. At La Puerta and Four Roads Government a student-friendly pamphlet – “Stations of the Cross for Children” helped personal awareness and understanding. The students observed reverent silence during the 12th Station, “Jesus Dies on the Cross”. They sang the stirring hymn God of Mercy and Compassion and other beautiful children’s melodies like Jesus Loves Me during the service.
Other innovative ideas for conveying the Lenten message came into play. These included classroom discussions using bible verses, pictures, and various art forms covering the Lenten themes.
While we are pleased that many of our Catholic children in schools have been exposed to some of the central themes of our faith, we consider this year’s efforts to have only scratched the surface, in terms of what really needs to be done to keep the faith alive in our nation’s Government schools. Many more volunteers are needed to work in the vineyard. As the Master once said, “the harvest is great but the labourers are few.” – CCFC Team