The Holy Communion group at St Teresa Beaconsfield & St Dunstan Bourne End has been reflecting on what they could give up this Lent to be closer to God. Christine Murray, one of the catechists writes :
Our candidates for First Holy Communion meet monthly on a Saturday. Our February session was an ideal time to talk about the meaning of Lent, Prayer, Fasting and Alms Giving. As CAFOD is our charity this year, we decided to use some of the amazing resources available on the website.
At the session, we spoke about the meaning of Lent, in the context of Christ’s temptations and his forty days fast. The children were very knowledgeable and there was a lively discussion about fasting; they said they would feel hungry and thirsty and even that they “might die at any second’!”. One of the older boys (9) told the group in no uncertain terms that “you would definitely die if you didn’t have water for a week!” After some reassuring remarks we went on to think about Jesus’ sacrifice for us all, in the Wilderness and on the Cross.
We then showed the CAFOD film about Svondo’s story; the children were fascinated and realised how blessed they were. One of them spoke about how people were starving in Africa. Another child’s family who was already collecting for another charity and were enthusiastic about fundraising for CAFOD, too.
The children thought about the “Give it Up” campaign with suggestions such as giving up their favourites treats. Some children said they tried last year but found it hard and could not keep it up. Others thought they could give up bread sticks, Brussels sprouts and school! The afternoon became serious with discussions as to whether or not it was possible to give up computer games. The prospect of such sacrifices did indeed mean something to them.
We felt it was important to help the children consider some more positive sacrifices: helping others, clearing up their toys, or just being kind to someone they don’t particularly like. Raising money can happen if they know how much they can put towards a cause by not buying that chocolate bar, or by getting payment for good deeds.
We encouraged the children to raise money for CAFOD during Lent and they know that the UK government will match their donations. The session finished with the children decorating their Alms boxes with enthusiasm. We shall see them again next month and continue to encourage them through their Lenten journey.
Great to hear all you are up to St Teresa and St Dunstan. We look forward to hearing how you get on during Lent.