The sacrament of First Holy Communion always stands as the most treasured and precious memory as they receive Christ both spiritually and physically, it presents their earliest sacramental experience. On 4th of November 2023, Saturday the standard 3 class students of St. Joseph’s Church (SJC) had their First Holy Communion camp in the parish. This spiritually enriching camp was meticulously organised by the Youth Ministry of SJC, underscoring the community’s commitment to nurturing the faith of its young disciples. In total, 32 students from 9 to 15 years old, participated in this transformative two-day camp. The camp started off with a praise and worship session, where the children sang and danced enthusiastically alongside the youths. Among the songs that resonated throughout the camp were “Jesus is The Rock” and “10,000 reasons”. It was heart-warming, to witness the smiles and excitement beaming on the children’s faces as they express their genuine joy for their favourite songs.
Then, we moved on to an Ice Breaking activity to build a relaxed atmosphere and help the children feel comfortable to freely exchange ideas while simultaneously having a fun time. We started by dividing them into 6 distinct groups. To make things more eventful each group was tasked to choose a bible character as their respective group names and composed a creative yet catchy chant with actions. Notably, one of the most memorable chants was by team Noah. They used their imagination and bodies to express Noah’s Ark within their chant, exhibiting their deep connection to the biblical story. In addition, we played the classic Malaysian “Bola Beracun” game with the children to get them out of their comfort zone and express themselves.
Moving on, we started with our first session of the camp “Merciful Father”. The students were emphasised on the importance to have mercy on others. A marble game was organized to visualize this session. The marbles acted as a symbol of mercy and students were tasked to pass a marble to their friends if they possessed two or more in their possession. The main lesson of the game was a moving reminder that the essence of mercy is best shown by sharing it with others rather than harbouring it all to yourself.
For the next session, the Youths introduced two important characters, Jesus, in green who prepared to receive Him and Satan, dressed in red as to tempt the students during the session, as both were played by our church Youths. It is planned skit throughout the camp to represent Jesus saving the children from the temptations of Satan to distract them from learning more about God. In conjunction to the skit, it is a reminder for repentance, therefore the children were taught on the process of confession as they will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Then, Body and Blood session was introduced to make them understand the importance of the sacrament they are to receive. Students were taught about the Liturgy of the Eucharist, for their understanding of how the Body and the Blood is celebrated. In addition, on the acclamation of faith. The students watched a short film titled “The Veil Removed” that revealed the coming together of heaven and earth at Mass, as seen by saints and mystics, revealed by scripture and in the catechism of the Catholic Church. There were taught the right posture and gesture to do when they receive the body of Christ at mass. This session was a preparation as well for the following agenda to attend the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass, as we have reserved the front row pews in church for the children to experience what they have learned.
On Sunday, the first session was regarding “Me and My Family. The children were instructed to bring their family photos for this session as it showed the importance of how life should be practised and lived right after receiving the sacrament. The activity involved the children writing and drawing a lovely card to their parents to express their gratitude. The session taught the importance of love, respect and responsibility between family and themselves. One of the 10 commandments, “Honour your parents” was highlighted so that the children understand the roles given from God and it must be treated with love and respect.
As for the last session, it was about the relationship of “Me and God”. It was related to the previous session but more specific between the children and God. The children were taught on the prayers before and after receiving Holy Communion, to serve, to express love, to pray as the it is the one way of communicating with God, to teach, learn and practice good values. The session message ended with, “May God Bless You to Walk Forever in Faith in Hope and Love”.
Gratitude to be expressed to our parish priest, Father Frederick Joseph, Monsignor James Gnanapiragasam, our Catechetical Coordinator, Teacher Nelson Dass, The Communion Class Teachers, Teacher Gloria and Teacher Melissa, our dedicated parents of the Holy Communion students and the 17 Youths who made this camp a success with their time, efforts and dedication. This is the second year in a row, the Youths have been given such responsibility to facilitate and prepare the camp and we are grateful for the blessing and opportunity.
Andreana Valentina Gonsalverz
Youth of St. Joseph’s Church