“God’s Only Pillar for His works: LOVE”

This year, in my service as a catechist, the Lord allowed me to prepare another group of children for the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. By sharing the experience of my ministry in the community, we were looking for ways to help children and parents use this special time, deepen their faith and experience God in a secularized world.

My desire was to encourage children, families and the faithful to write and make intentions when they come to Holy Mass. I did this because in my life I experienced uniting my intentions with Jesus’ sacrifice. I prepare paper hosts with a lamb’s print on it so that everyone entering the church, especially children preparing to receive the sacraments, could write their intention, which would later be offered to the altar as gifts by a family. This commitment is voluntary and an expression imploring God to listen to what is personal and hidden in everyone’s heart.

During the catechesis, before the upcoming First Communion celebration, I explained to the children the essence of receiving Jesus in Communion and the prayer of intentions, which is specially heard by God on that day. I heard a student spontaneously say: “Listen – it works – I was carrying lambs for the health of my grandmother suffering from cancer and the doctor gives hope, and my grandmother is feeling better.” Another student shares: “It really works – this year my father started to drink a lot, make fights at home, and I prayed for him and wrote intentions. He hasn’t been drinking for 5 months and there is peace at home.” There was silence in the classroom, the boy’s happy family on the day of First Holy Communion, saved the life of an unwanted child, the parents’ emotion after hearing the children’s statements was simply silence, an eloquent answer…

On the other hand, the testimonies written by the parents show the importance of the request of the parents to the parish priest to prepare and minister the sacraments to their children.

“The First Holy Communion for which our children were being prepared this year was for us, parents and children, a very intense time of learning and opening ourselves to God. This is a time that is full of uncertainties due to the pandemic; we and the children were afraid of the disease but the prayer and participation in the Holy Mass gave us strength as we strived to meet God in the First Eucharist of our children. Before receiving the sacrament, the children were prepared for Holy Confession during religion lessons. The first confession that “kept our children awake at night”, after several practices, turned out to be a medicine for the soul. It was a time of silence and concentration during prayer. After a long wait, many days of study, and difficult preparations, the long-awaited day came, a day full of emotions, a day which Sister Barbara has so devotedly and lovingly prepared for. Thanks to her knowledge and efforts, we came to this awaited moment: the reception of the Eucharist. We saw joy painted on the faces of our children who waited with great love to receive Jesus into their hearts. We felt proud when everyone took an active part in the Holy Mass. It was a special day when we opened our hearts more widely to God’s love. We thank you, Sister Barbara, for your teachings and suggestions, for your smile and heart, for the daily example of life”.

Another parent wrote: “In order to live, a person must be nourished by the Body of our Savior Jesus Christ. We, parents, wanted it for our youngest son Aleksander; we wanted him to be like other members of the Holy Church and to really live in the shadow of God’s love. That is why we waited longingly for the First Communion. We tried to prepare Aleksander for this, but we realized that without Sister Barbara’s wise guidance, our efforts would not have been enough. We are grateful to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, for the gift of Sister’s service and devotion in religion lessons.”

From the point of view of my catechetical work, I noted the importance of the parents’ cooperation. I noticed that each year it requires greater effort, creativity and commitment to support the process of Christian initiation of children. I am convinced that doing God’s will requires a lot of effort and self-denial, but it is also a time for my own personal reflection, deepening of my faith and trust in Jesus, who I thank and adore for the gift of His boundless love.

Sr Barbara, Cracow Province, Poland

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