Brothers and Sisters,
One of my favorite weeks of the year – OLPH’s annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) has arrived. It’s a joy to witness our campus, quieted by Summer, come to life as kids praise the Lord in song, learn about Jesus in the Scriptures, and make new friends in their community (a particular advantage of VBS in the middle of the summer when schools have been out for weeks). This year’s theme, Stellar: Shine Jesus’ Light, taps into the fact that humans naturally want to learn about the unknown, whether you are a 5-year-old VBS camper or a 45-year-old VBS volunteer. What’s out there? How did and do planets, stars, solar systems, and galaxies form? Could there be life besides human life, let alone intelligent life with developed civilizations? The curiosity that inspires these questions about our natural world can ignite the spark for us – and our VBS campers – to learn more about our loving and merciful God. And while God is so much more than the human experience, and God’s ways are indeed difficult to grasp on our own, yet, with great love, our creator reveals himself to us.
Another beautiful aspect of VBS is that campers learn and discover more about themselves and their God-given gifts, from the engaging music with the chance to sing and dance, to the games and activities, to the art and crafts. I’ve never thought much about my artistic abilities – often thinking I had little ability beyond stick figures; I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of our 2nd graders. Joining them for a drawing of Templeton the Rat from Charlotte’s Web at the end of the school year, I followed directions reasonably well, and in the end, the result was passable (granted, not enough to quit my day job!). Far better, though, it’s a blessing to witness the children exploring their gifts and the ways the Lord draws us into the creative arts! And yes, I do love Dad jokes and puns.
Thank you to the many hands that have assisted with VBS and those at our Parish School, and our church staff who are passionate about cultivating the naturally rich soil in the hearts and minds of our children so their understanding and love for the Word of God can grow. To support these efforts, please don’t forget to sign up your children for our Faith Formation classes this Fall so we can be fully prepared for a new academic year. We have worked hard to design programs to meet our OLPH youth of all ages. Starting with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, which now includes not only Pre-K and Kindergarten age students (Level 1) but also First and Second-graders (or Level 2). Our elementary discipleship formation program uses a home teaching model while our Middle School Impact, High School Encounter ministry, and Confirmation Formation meet on campus. To get your children registered, we have set up a “one-stop-shop” for all OLPH programs requiring registration regardless of age or type; visit olphparish.org/reg-hub. We cannot wait to help the youth of our Parish grow in their faith this Fall!