Preparing for Miracles: Lessons that Open Hearts to Grace

Saint Tarcisius. "While they ate their snack of crackers/matzah and grape juice, they watched a video of Father Benedict Groeschel telling the story of Saint Tarcisius. They sat and watched in awe."

Spiritual Bouquets. "We had the children decoupage flower pots with beautiful images of sunflowers and an image, in the middle, of a monstrance with angels bowing (from a vintage prayer card). Using the theme 'Follow the Son,' we told them that, like the sunflowers, they were 'turning toward the Son'! We also said that priests, in a very special way, follow the Son. As they planted sunflower seeds in their pots they were reminded that sacraments and sacramentals are some of the ways God waters the seeds of faith. Then on the back of a picture of a sunflower they wrote, 'Dear Father, Thank you for being a priest! I will pray a Hail Mary and an Our Father for you.' We prayed the prayers all together and we encouraged them to continue praying for our pastor and all the priests. They glued each of their flowers onto a Popsicle stick and at the end of the week at the offertory of the Mass, we presented a decorated pot with all the sunflowers in it—a bouquet from all the children in the program to our pastor, who was new. He kept the spiritual bouquet on the side altar of the church for a good many months afterward with the children's promises on them."

Tug of War. "We prepped our junior counselors to tell the children a story of good versus evil that would make it very apparent what was good in the story and what was evil. Then we told them that the Holy Eucharist gives us strength to resist evil and had them play tug of war."

Scavenger Hunt. "We wrote little poems that provided clues, and each one brought them to a different location on parish grounds. Finally, the last one led them to Jesus in the monstrance, their final destination. We told them, 'We're all looking for something, searching—but it's really Jesus we're looking for.'"

Adoration. "When each group came for their lesson in the church, I would kneel with them and speak in simplistic terms about the consecrated Host. I'd say, 'That's really, truly Jesus in what appears to be a round piece of bread.' And then I'd ask, 'Does that make sense to everyone?' As some were nodding their heads with an emphatic 'yes,' and some just shrugging, I'd say, 'It doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand it, but I believe it, I just believe it!' Instantly a weight would slide off their shoulders as they just accepted! The relief is almost instantly visible in their faces, as is their belief as they gaze upon Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament."

Fatima Prayer. "We prayed the Fatima prayer taught to the three shepherd children by an angel during our time in from of the monstrance.

['My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.'] The day closed with a skit by junior counselors of the Angel of Portugal appearing to the children, and Our Lady, Mother of the Eucharist."

"All we want is to do is His will," Corinne says, in conclusion. "And I know from experience not to expect consolations. 'Your reward will be great in Heaven.' But for those, young and old 'who have eyes to see and ears to hear' the consolations in this program are many . . . as are the graces that give us the energy to continue—next time!"

God bless you!

3/2/2011 5:00:00 AM