Hundreds of kids in the Springfield area are learning about their faith lives and having a great time this summer, thanks to Vacation Bible School leaders and their many assistants. Moreover, because it’s always good to save time and money, several parishes have been taking turns using one VBS package and passing on some locally-produced decorations as well.
This year Blessed Sacrament Parish, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish, St. Agnes Parish and Christ the King Parish — all in Springfield — and St. Jude Parish in Rochester have been sharing the Group kit, called Shipwrecked, Rescued by Jesus. St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham, which is just south of Springfield, is using the same package and sharing it with other churches.
“Several of us are new at leading a parish Vacation Bible School and we thought this was a good idea,” says Morgan Ambrose, who coordinated the program at Blessed Sacrament Parish. “We also had a wonderful artist, Danielle Landgrebe, who provided us with some amazing art. We were able to not only share the materials but also pass along the sets and other pieces of artwork.”
This Shipwrecked kit is a Christian-themed package, but not meant specifically for Catholics. Some of the parishes are introducing Catholic concepts into the program by, for example, inviting religious sisters and priests to make appearances as guest speakers. And even though the VBS weeks are being held at Catholic parishes, many times non-Catholic children attend and enjoy the event.
At Cathedral Parish, Daphne Southern is in her seventh year leading VBS. “Up until this year, I had been purchasing a specifically Catholic package, but when I looked into it this year I discovered we had used all the offered packages in past years,” she says. “At our parish we are taking each theme day and tying that into talking about a specific saint. For example, on Monday when the theme was about being lost, we talked about St. Anthony. On Tuesday, when we were covering things we worry about, we brought up Padre Pio.”
In the end, everyone wins. “Sharing the kit simply makes it easier on everyone,” says Ambrose. “The kids and volunteers enjoy the week and sharing really lightens the load.”