VBS in the San Luis Valley: Alamosa Deanery hosts three

By Peggy Haslar
Three Alamosa Deanery parishes became high-spirited Vacation Bible School venues this summer with a little help from baseball and the big sea. Many San Luis Valley children look forward to their local parishes hosting a church-sponsored week of games, crafts, stories and snacks during their summer break.

They desire to grow in faith and learn the stories that form its foundation. VBS puts it all together to convey Christ to kids and support them in spiritual formation.

A group of energetic volunteers transformed the classrooms and gym at Sacred Heart in Alamosa into a scuba-diver’s paradise for the Big Sea Discovery, June 20 to 24. Religious Education coordinator Silvia Arias found that video segments highlighting a project to help orphanage children were a great support to this year’s curriculum. “The children really responded. It gave them an opportunity to experience what it’s like at an orphanage and they wanted to do something to help,” she said. Sacred Heart’s VBS included an intergenerational activity evening so parents could participate and learn along with their children.

Children in the St. Joseph’s Parish area went on a deep sea adventure as well, with a ship providing the focal point for Camp Kerygma at the church in La Jara. A great crew of volunteers from sixth graders through adults came together to make the week memorable. The Bible story of St. Paul’s shipwreck was a highlight. Children learned that the kerygma is the proclamation of the Gospel, calling them to become Christ’s disciples and then giving the kerygma away in mission. Sister Mary Anna Cavell expressed gratitude for the work establishing high expectations for VBS in the years prior to her arrival in the San Luis Valley. “The whole parish gets behind Vacation Bible School here,” she said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for creating a great week for the children.”

In July, the rectory back yard at St. Joseph’s in Monte Vista was transformed into “Savior Stadium,” where San Juan Catholic Community children learned what it means to be on God’s team. Father Derrek Scott trained a group of enthusiastic teens to take the lead in music, games, drama and crafts with the support of a few adult helpers. Baseball became the metaphor for teaching kids that God will provide for their needs just as a coach provides for players on his team. Jesus, who has “played the game of life before us” teaches how to be encouraging teammates and even how to face the “chatter” the other side may put up to distract them from their goals. Before Friday’s hot dog lunch with parents, children cooled off with water balloons filled by the teens who surprised Father Derrek by dousing him with an entire cooler.

As summer comes to a close, outreach to children continues with fall religious education programs gearing up. Parishes always need volunteers for these important efforts to pass on the faith, making a lasting impact for Christ in their communities.