LAKE RONKONKOMA — A performance of songs and funny skits about stories from the Bible marked the end of two weeks of vacation Bible school at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church here July 27.
Many parishes around the Diocese of Rockville Centre offer vacation Bible schools during the summer months. Here, more than 60 children age five to eleven from St. Elizabeth and neighboring parishes spent part of their summer vacation immersed in learning about their faith through stories about Jesus and the Apostles from the Bible. Besides learning the songs and skits, they enjoyed arts and crafts projects, and over the course of the program, also collected non-perishable food, health and beauty aids, and school supplies for parish outreach. The children concluded their two weeks of learning and fun by showing off for their parents what they had learned with an hour-long performance.
In addition to the adult volunteers who run the program at St. Elizabeth, almost 50 teens also gave of their time this summer to help teach the younger kids. The good thing about having so many teens involved in vacation Bible school, noted Isabella Fitzpatrick, who coordinates the program, is that “while the children are learning the Bible stories, they’re asking the teen leaders questions and then the (teen leaders) are learning the Bible stories or relearning them. They learned how to work with the children. They’re very patient with the children.”
“I love it,” said Elizabeth Cosenza, who has two sons in the program. “They have learned more about the Bible this week than they ever have. They came home telling me stories about the Bible, and I was shocked, because the program waters it down enough for a child to understand it. They actually came back and said, ‘Mommy, what about the story about Jesus being tempted in the desert?’ And I was really surprised, because they understood the concept of what was going on.”
“They’re in Catholic school where they get catechism,” she noted, “but they really were immersed in it this week. My oldest son enjoys it and my youngest son (who will be going into kindergarten), this was his first real entrance into school and he loves it. He’s made friends and he really enjoyed it. He’s sad that it’s over today.”
She added that while most vacation Bible schools are only one week, “I do like that it was two weeks because it’s not so quick and it gives them more time to get to know the other children.”
Lori Marando, another parent and business manager at the parish, noted with a laugh, “My son enjoys it so much he asked if he can keep coming until he’s old enough to be a helper.”