As part of the new Diocesan Faith Formation curriculum, students and families from grades K-2 from Blessed Sacrament Parish, Tolland, met recently for breakfast, faith sharing, fellowship and to work on a holiday service project.
The service project consisted of making personalized placemats for Thanksgiving that were distributed to a local nursing home for residents to enjoy with their holiday meal. Participating in projects like this is one of the many ways that our children learn how important it is to share their God-given gifts and talents with others.
“It’s an opportunity for the children and their families to show God’s love and a great chance for parents to model their faith,” said Kimberly Manganella, parish director of Faith Formation. Similar programs at Blessed Sacrament will continue throughout the year for every grade.
The integration of a service project every year was one of the big changes in the Diocesan faith formation curriculum. Service is a hands-on opportunity that gives everyone a shared faith experience.
It gives the person doing the service an opportunity to help others while giving recipients a sense that someone cares about and remembers them. Service opportunities help our children understand in a very concrete way how they are the hands and face of Christ for others. In most Diocesan parishes, service projects also become a specific outreach and/or assistance for the local community.
By sponsoring service projects that benefit local agencies and members of the community, parishes make these types of projects more “real” for students and their families. When people know their help will benefit the local community, they have a sense of pride and accomplishment in participating in service projects.
Requiring that service projects be a part of each parish’s faith formation curriculum gives children a better understanding of the practical application of their faith. Faith is not just a set of rules and traditions to be taught and memorized; it is a belief system that needs to be lived. By offering service projects like this one at Blessed Sacrament, we are helping our families understand that together we are building a stronger Church for the future.
-- By Andrea Hoisl