"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them;
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 19:14)
Vacation Bible School ("VBS") is typically a week-long program offered during the summer to teach children about their faith in a fun and engaging way. Of course, there is a teaching component, but music, crafts, and games are almost always involved as well. It started out as a Protestant phenomenon, but Catholic churches soon realized that they too could utilize this format to teach children more about Christ and his Church.
For more information about the history of Vacation Bible School, see "From Beer to Bibles to VBS: How America Got Its Favorite Summer Tradition".
Today, there are a wide variety of VBS programs for churches to choose from (Exhibit A), but not all of them are Catholic. In fact, the majority of them are not. Even the ones that are often labeled "Catholic" are simply Protestant programs with a few Catechism references thrown in.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with this. A child can learn a lot from a Protestant VBS program and many Catholic parents send their children to local Protestant churches to participate in their programs. But, here at Blessed Mother, we prefer to use programs that have a distinctly Catholic message and theme. Our parishioners seem to appreciate this a great deal.
VBS at Blessed Mother usually takes place in June or July. The registration form is available online in Microsoft Word 97-2003 or Adobe PDF format:
Since at least 2009, VBS has been a five-day program (M-F), from 9 AM to noon, in the Parish Hall. The cost has been only $10.00 per child for the entire week! Children entering grades K-4 are invited to attend, and day care is always available for any younger siblings who would like to join us.
If you have any questions or comments, contact Nicholas Hardesty, the Director of Religious Education, by phone (683-8444, ext. 26) or .
In 2009, we used a program from Cat.Chat entitled, "Marvelous Mystery: The Mass Comes Alive." The children learned about how the Mass is a mystery, a gift, a celebration, a meal, and a call. There was also a virtue and a saint for each day ... and a new song to sing! It was a great success, and children and adults alike seemed to learn a great deal.
In 2010, we used another program from Cat.Chat, entitled, "Cool Kingdom Party: Mary Leads Me Closer to Jesus." The children learned about the virtues of obedience, purity, faith, love, and joy ... and how Mary exemplifies those qualities in a spectacular way. They learned about several of the Marian dogmas, as well as the Kingship of Christ and how they can build His Kingdom. The songs for this program were just as catchy and infectous as the previous year, and again, I think the children and their parents were very pleased.
For more information about our program from 2010, see this page from the Cat.Chat website.
In 2011, we used a third program from Cat.Chat, entitled, "A Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments: Jesus in My Heart." The children learned about Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders. Each sacrament also had an accompanying virtue and saint for the day. They played games, made arts and crafts, learned new songs (with hand-motions and dances, of course!), made some fun snacks that pertained to each day's theme, and most importantly, they were strengthened in their Catholic faith.
For more information about our program from 2011, see this page from the Cat.Chat website.
In 2012, we used a fourth program from Cat.Chat, entitled, "A Radical Ride on the Wings of Prayer: With Amazing Angels and Super Saints." Each day we traveled to a different country (Canada, Poland, France, Italy, and Mexico) and a saint from that country taught us more about a certain aspect of prayer. The children also learned about the virtues of responsibility, trust, respect, zeal, and humility.
For more information about our program from 2012, see this page from the Cat.Chat website.