By Beth Donze, Kids Clarion
Next month, third through seventh graders from across the Archdiocese of New Orleans are invited to learn about the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) during a fun-filled Saturday of prayer, stories, games, live music, crafts and Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
Children’s Mission Day, set for Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Dominican High School gym, will immerse the young participants in the MCA’s overarching goal of “Children Helping Children.”
Although missionary work is usually associated with adulthood and the need to travel beyond one’s own borders to spread Jesus’ Gospel message of love, Children’s Mission Day teaches young Catholics that they can be missionaries at home – and right now – through prayer, almsgiving, service and learning about how their peers in other lands spend their days.
This year’s event will trumpet the theme “Voices in Mission: Sharing Our Story” and feature presentations by three musical storytellers:
- Oba William King, a musical storyteller who performs nationally.
- Father James Jeanfreau, director of the archdiocesan Pontifical Missions Societies Office and pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Marrero, will share stories from his missionary years in Bolivia.
- Pianist/organist Roberto Matthews, minister of music at Christ the King Church in Terrytown and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans, will back Father Jeanfreau on keyboards and provide music throughout the day, including at the concluding 2 p.m. Mass with Archbishop Aymond.
To foster solidarity among local children and their peers in developing countries, the young participants will rotate through several hands-on activities. Workshops will include making World Mission Rosary bracelets, whose color-coded beads remind the faithful to lift up every part of the world in prayer, and storytelling though drums.
The MCA is also sponsoring three contests during school year 2018-19, each designed to tap into children’s creativity and remind them of Christ’s command that all are called to be missionaries at baptism:
- A prayer card contest (deadline Nov. 15) will challenge students to create art and write a prayer based on the theme “Voices in Mission: Celebrating175 Years.” Participants may use anything related to the MCA’s 175th anniversary as the inspiration for their submission.
- A toy contest dubbed “Voices in Mission: Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum” (deadline Feb. 15) will ask entrants to create a drum using recycled cans, plastic buckets and other types of containers.
- A T-shirt contest (deadline April 15) will challenge children to create an artwork for use on T-shirts to be worn at next year’s Children’s Mission Day.
Contest participation is open to boys and girls in grades 3 to 7 who attend a Catholic school, parish school of religion or are home-schooled.
In addition to gathering children every October for Children’s Mission Day, the MCA also conducts mission assemblies during Lent at host elementary schools in four geographical hubs: West Bank, East Bank, River Parishes and Northshore.
Also, Laura Arand, MCA director, is available throughout the year to bring mission animation presentations to interested parishes and schools, and share her office’s library of books, DVDs and other resources with teachers and catechists.
To register for Children’s Mission Day or to learn more about the MCA’s services, contact Laura Arand at 527-5773. The Children’s Mission Day cost of $15 a participant covers a T-shirt, bagged lunch and drink.