Our Parish Catechetical Leader, Sr. Grace Salvana, SPC, was in the Philippines when the First World Children's Day was published on the diocesan website last month.   

It was the Holy Spirit who prompted me to ask our parish priest, Fr. Andrew Thuraisingam, if we could celebrate the First World Children's Day (WCD) locally, as a parish.  He was receptive to the idea, and immediately, I called for a Zoom meeting with our team of Faith Education catechists, who were very supportive. 

About a third of St. Kevin's parish community comprises new families with children who attend our Faith Education program, which translates to over 300 children enrolled.  In addition to our Faith-Ed classes, we have a Children's choir and offer Children's Liturgy, which I coordinate.  When the Children's choir sings, a parent would often come up, interested in having their child join the choir.   

Last Sunday, a child approached me asking why Children's liturgy isn’t being held anymore, visibly disappointed (we are currently on summer break).  It served as a reminder that the children are happy when they are involved in something, which leads to parents being happy as well.  With Faith-Ed classes concluded for the pastoral year, parents have since approached me, asking about the next activity; and a parent, whose child just received the sacrament of Confirmation, expressed their interest in continued catechism for their child(ren).  For all these reasons, and of course, with the Holy Spirit, I felt prompted to organize the first WCD at St. Kevin's.  I also envisioned this would be a fun event for children. 

Although the first WCD was held in Rome last May 25-26, churches worldwide were encouraged to celebrate in their local diocese. It appeared that none of the local parishes I knew were celebrating. I even contacted one of the parishes in the Philippines and they are not celebrating as well. 

The highlights of the event included celebrating Mass animated by the children (i.e. choir, lectors, offertory ministers, collection ministers, greeters, etc.), followed by activities in the church hall.  During Mass, all the children took part in a procession with the WCD banner and offered flowers to Mother Mary, given it was the month dedicated to Mary.  The Mass concluded with a special blessing of all the children. 

The activity after the Mass involved the children writing their wishes/desires for a better world on the colourful, hand-shaped, paper cut-outs.  These were posted collectively on a large white cross. We also watched a video of the first WCD highlights in Rome, encouraging the children to hear Pope Francis’ message. In addition, the children enjoyed a face-painting activity and sharing a meal together - they especially loved the ice cream!  Given the following day was a school day, we ensured the day did not conclude too late.  

The benefit of the celebration was that the children felt that they were an essential part of the Church.  We emphasized that this is their special day and that is the reason why we are gathering together.  We helped relay the Pope’s message by encouraging them to use three important words daily: “Thank you,” “please” and “sorry.”   Though there was still some room for improvement in planning, (we experienced some minor audio setbacks) and an 11 a.m. celebration instead of 5 p.m. mass might have been easier for families, one thing is for sure, the children deeply enjoyed the day dedicated to them and we received positive feedback.  


Mila Osdon
St. Kevin Parish