On Saturday, December 20, 2014, past and present members of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at Assumption participated in an Advent celebration of wonder and joy.
Three to six year old children in Level I Good Shepherd, six to nine year old children in Level II Good Shepherd and nine to twelve year old children in Level III Good Shepherd celebrated Christ’s light and love for the eighth year with the Sisters Filippini in the Villa Walsh Infirmary.
Our Celebration began at Villa Walsh with the children processing joyfully into the infirmary. We wondered together with the Sisters at the meaning behind the symbols on our Advent wreath from the Level I atrium.
The children greeted the Sisters and then participated in a short prayerful celebration which was planned by the Level III children and which included sharing some of the children's Advent presentations on the Prophecies, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity and some of their favorite hymns which are planned for the Advent and Christmas Masses at Assumption.
The children also graciously presented the Sisters with the gift bags filled with “prayer stars” composed for the Sisters by the Good Shepherd children and families throughout Advent.
I am so very grateful to Sr. Lillian and the Sisters Filippini for recognizing the dignity and religious potential of the young child and for again helping the Good Shepherd children and families grow closer to Christ by inviting us to celebrate with them.
Many of the Level II and III children have been coming to celebrate Christ’s light and love with the Sisters since they were three years old.
In preparation for our celebration, ten year old Level III child, Michael O. composed a prayer star to the Sisters expressing his thoughts on our celebration,
“I’ve been coming to visit you since I was three, and to me, this is what makes my Christmas great.”
On Sunday, December 21, 2014, the Level II children began their last atrium sessions of 2014 with a communal remembering of what the presence of joy in our lives means to us.
These children know the gift of joy is a sign that we are close to or abiding in Christ.
We recalled the presence of joy in the Gospel as we revisited key passages of Scripture from our Level II Infancy Narrative Presentations.
We wondered together what the celebration meant to the Sisters who like Mary said “yes” to God and dedicated their entire lives to the Family of God.
We pondered how the Sisters so loved God that they, like the Good Shepherd, and laid down their lives for the sheep.
The children were invited to think about what the celebration and their presence and participation meant to the Sisters who dedicated their lives to helping children grow closer to Jesus.
Each Level II child was then invited to reflect on how it felt to share the joy, light, and love of God with the Sisters at our Celebration and to record his or her thoughts in the form of a reflection, prayer, or letter to the Sisters.
“I felt like I really, really helped the nuns put more joy, light and happiness in their heart.” Mia B.
“I felt great when I found out my star went to village walsh.” Matteo L.
“I felt very happy and joyful when I saw the sisters and it looks like they were too. When I was saying ‘ Merry Christmas’ to as much sisters as I can. I was also being as nice as I can.” Aidan O.
Helena D. composed a drawing of herself presenting a prayer star with great love to a smiling Sister.
“I feel joyful when I gave a prayer star to the sisters.” Bernice F.
“I feel great to share my work and share our joy around the world.” Mariel A.
“I was so happy when I gave them my gift. I felt so happy.” Samantha M.
(Samantha also including a drawing of herself presenting a gift bag to a smiling Sister responding “Thank you.”)
A video of our celebration with the Sisters has been prayerfully composed by Good Shepherd parents, Augustin and Arlene Orbeta at
and our password protected Shutterfly website. Pictures of the children’s prayer stars and reflections have also been uploaded to an album on the Good Shepherd password protected Shutterfly site for your prayerful consideration and enjoyment.