Joseph is preparing for his First Communion in April. This weekend, they had a retreat for the children and their parents at our parish. I had no idea what to expect except that we had to be there at 8:45 am and hang around until 11:30.
I was very pleasently surprised. When our parish does things, it does them well. We were broken up into groups and each group was rotated through a station. Each station was about 20 minutes long, with just enough "sitting and listening" time for instruction or background and plently of "doing." We made unleavened bread to take home and bake. Then the kids painted crosses while the adults went to another room to write their children a letter to give to them on their FHC. We also went on a "tour" of the church where leaders showed the kids items related to Communion. They got to handle a chalice, paten, the vestments, view items in the baptistry and go up to the Alter. At each spot, they were allowed to respectfully touch each object, look and smell. It was a great way to show the kids the items and allow them to feel like they are part of the church community; as long as they are respectful, nothing is off limits. Each adult was careful to remind the kids that "we are so careful with the Bread and Wine because it really is Jesus." I have heard horror stories about other parishes not teaching the children about the Real Presence so this was awesome!
They asked the kids questions and Joseph knew the answers! He was quick to tell people that it was a chalice, a paten and there are six candles lit every Sunday "but they are on the Alter, they are normally over there!" All the adults were impressed and I was so proud of him! He's obviously been paying attention. He said he remembers alot from the church tour they took in kindy. Nevertheless, it made me so proud to see and hear all that he remembered! He's definatly set the bar high for the other kids! ;)