It was a one day camp held on the 18th August for 21 young parishioners at the Church of Divine Mercy, Penang (CDM) to come to a better understanding of the second sacrament of Catholic initiation, The Holy Eucharist. A program was organized especially to help them realize this important sacrament and the great part it will play in their lives as Catholics.
After a praise and worship session the camp began with the first session of making the children in Year 4 understand that the Holy Spirit that came to them when they were baptized is now present in their lives. This same Holy Spirit is always there to protect them and help them be better Catholics. A simple activity was carried out with plastic bags filled with water that remained intact when pierced with pencils. This was demonstrated and then they given a chance to try it out for themselves. This was to illustrate that if we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are protected from harm. To further stress this point, a lighted fire was held to the plastic bag and it still remained intact. A follow-up activity with strings was carried out to illustrate that when we are in trouble we need help to escape from it. Just like when we sin we need the help of confession to help us repent and turn away from sin. The children were asked to solve this string puzzle and when they were unable they were given a demonstration how it could be done. However, they repeatedly needed to come back to obtain help to unravel the puzzle time and time again which was similar to having come back often to confession. They were told that this showed that they need to go to a priest often to help them when they sin.
The next session began with a video on how the communion hosts were made. They were also shown a another video on how to receive Holy Communion properly and this was followed by an explanation given by an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC). A mock demonstration was carried out with unconsecrated hosts. Each child was given the experience of receiving the host. The children were told that this bread was similar to the bread at the Last Supper but different from unleavened bread eaten at the time of Exodus. A short explanation was given followed by the children themselves making the unleavened bread with the help of parents and teachers. They then ate this bread they each made, as part of their lunch.
After lunch the children were given a session on the reverence that should be shown on entering the church. They were shown the proper way to genuflect and the respect given when entering the house of God. They were taken on a tour of the altar and the sanctuary and shown the garments worn by the priest to celebrate different masses.
The final session was on confession and a mock session was given where each children was given a chance to follow through a practise session of reconciliation with a teacher as the priest.
The camp gave the children a chance to better understand the important sacraments they were going to receive and how it will help them grow further in their faith journey towards confirmation.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
28th August, 2018.