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Catholic VBS Options Growing
By Lisa M. Hendey

The weather outside may belie the fact, but summer will be here soon and it’s time to start planning now for enrichment activities for our children.

One perennial favorite is the Vacation Bible School or “VBS”, a weeklong thematic activity offered by many local churches. In the past, Catholic families were faced with the prospect of sending their children to nondenominational or evangelical churches for VBS.

This year, the great news is that there are several wonderful Catholic options for VBS curricula offering our children the opportunity for fun and learning within our own faith traditions.

Growing with the Saints

Expanding upon its VBS selection, Fort Wayne, Indiana based Growing with the Saints now offers two “all in one” VBS programs from which to choose. With an emphasis on Church teachings, scripture, sacraments and the lives of the saints, the Growing with the Saints VBS options offer a complete range of activities and support materials for a truly authentic Catholic experience. This year, families and parishes can choose between the “Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity” or “Assorted Saints and the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love” programs. Delightful musical CDs compliment the broad range of learning tools for children ages preschool through grade six. The Growing with the Saints VBS programs carry an Imprimatur from the Diocese of Lafayette, ensuring that they contain doctrinally sound content. In addition, they have received top notch reviews from families and parishes that have enjoyed using the programs. For more information, visit www.growingwiththesaints.com.

Our Sunday Visitor

New out from Catholic publisher Our Sunday Visitor is the Great Bible Reef VBS program for 2007. “Diving deep” into God’s word, the Great Bible Reef program has also received the Imprimatur and is DRE tested and approved. The program blends a look at relevant bible stories with water related themes (think Moses floating down the river in a basket or the miraculous catch detailed in Luke) with crafts and activities related to the Great Barrier Reef. A cast of fun “critters” helps add to the fun, as does the terrific “Reef Tunes” songbook. For additional information, visit http://www.osv.com/ParishNav/CatholicVBSGreatBibleReef/tabid/379/Default.aspx.

Cat.Chat

This summer, for the first time, children can participate in a wonderful Catholic VBS by the creator of the wildly popular Cat.Chat audio series. “Cool Kingdom Party: Mary Leads Me Closer to Jesus” is designed for children ages four through twelve years of age. Through teachings, games, snacks, activities and music the Cat.Chat program teaches solidly Catholic faith traditions and carries the endorsement of Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton, AB, Canada. Music, a vital component of any VBS experience, is a strong suit of the Cat.Chat curriculum. To compliment each day’s theme, a cardinal virtue and the life of a saint or blessed is explored. For additional information visit http://www.catchat.ca/.

Choosing a Catholic Program for Your Family

The common denominators of the VBS experience are faith and fun. Families looking for quality summer VBS programs for their children need to remember that if they select a non-Catholic experience for their kids, they must work carefully to compliment the program with important discussions regarding Catholic teachings and traditions. If you live in an area where there are not currently any Catholic VBS programs, the three options described above make it easy and affordable for a group of families to band together and run their own “backyard” VBS experience. Each of these curricula contains full guidelines for planning, teaching and evaluating a quality Vacation Bible School program. Your kids will be thrilled with their fun, faith-filled adventure and will have a tremendous response to the perpetual question: “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

Lisa M. Hendey, wife and mother of two sons, is the webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com.

Additional Catholic VBS Options:
(These came to our attention after the writing of this article)


 

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