Some children told me it was the best class trip they had ever had, others said it was the best fun they had ever had. I think they probably meant the best fun school day they had ever had. But whichever way you look at it, our day at church was a great success.
48 children arrived in a very considerate manner and joined with the congregation for Mass. During the open prayer time the extent of the welcome from the parish became evident and we felt proud that our children were so well behaved and prayerful throughout the service.
Father John took great care to involve the children and encouraged them to focus at the most important times. This was so valuable to reinforce the learning from our God Matters lessons in school. Later Father John helped us to complete an ‘I Spy…’ sheet around the church and we all learnt things from him. We were able to ask any questions we wanted and some of these challenged Father John just as much as they did the teachers.
There was a wonderful sense of welcome and inclusion during the day and the children were encouraged to explore and touch things that are normally off-limits. We now know which of Father’s vestments is his favourite and I am afraid we have put 48 sets of fingerprints on the vessels that will have to be cleaned before the next Mass. This experience was a privilege that will give all the children a deeper understanding of the meaning of Mass, priest’s role and the workings of the church.
We spent the whole afternoon making mobiles, collages and models that reinforced the messages of Christ’s passion, ascension and teachings before concluding the afternoon with Bible stories in the shady garden. Thank you, St Joseph’s church for making it clear to the children that they are a vital and crucial part of St Joseph’s parish.