CANADA -- With the help of 29 junior high student volunteers from St. Clement and H.E. Beriault, St. Elementary School’s first faith development day titled “We are Christ for One Another” was held Jan. 28.
Father Mark Blom from Oblate Youth Ministries was one of the nine presenters partaking in the event.
"Children in Grade 2 are just learning about first Communion and first Eucharist," said Blom. "I use several icons, including a painting of the three angels (The Holy Trinity) who visited Abraham and Sarah. At the center is bread. The kids really like it because in a certain way, the outline of the bodies of the angels makes the outline of a cup, or chalice," he said.
He added, "I want to bring into the minds of the little ones that Communion is in that piece of bread and it is in our relationship with each other - and with God."
The children who participated in the event enjoyed learning about Jesus.
"I learned that when Jesus holds two fingers, it means Jesus was a real person and Jesus is a spirit," Elora said. "But my favorite part today was making the loaves of bread."
"Mine too," exclaimed Victoria M. "And I especially like the angels. I liked the pictures Father Mark drew. They were cool. And I learned if you plant one seed, you can get 100 more pieces of wheat."
"I learned," said Victoria C., "that the bread is Jesus' body and the wine is his blood. I learned the light of God is in my heart."
"At this age, if a presentation is vivid and fun, children think it was relevant," Blom said. "So I use as much art to accompany these big ideas - Communion, one God and three persons. They're abstract ideas so I use as much art as I can to make relevant the message.
"I ask them how they are going to make their Communion - their friendship with God - stronger. I also ask them to try and express how they are going to make their relationships in the community stronger," he said.
The school's 450 students were divided into groups of about 50 and exposed to three presentations with different themes including bread, candles and a tree of life. After the presentation the children were asked to reflect upon what they learned and write it in their journals.
The event was headed by retiring educator Marianne Brisebois who was deeply impressed by last year’s faith development event and Blom’s ministry.
"The presentations are to develop Christ in us and to see Christ in other people," Brisebois said. "The more we live with the light of Christ, the more people will see Christ in us."
"This is my last year of teaching in a school and it's been my life-long dream to have this for the children. I'm finally pulling it off," she said.