Jesuit Communication Foundation’s (JesCom) newest publication, “The Sunday Gospel for kids: Children’s Catechism using Arts and Crafts”, made its successful launch last February 21, Thursday afternoon at the Ateneo de Manila University’s Faber Hall.
Addressing the cordial gathering composed of Jesuit scholastics and priests, members of the Ateneo community, as well as family and friends of “Sunday Gospel” author Fr.Martin Licup SJ, JesCom Executive Director Fr.Emmanuel ‘Nono’ Alfonso SJ highlighted the significance of the youth’s faith formation.
“We at JesCom are so very proud of Fr.Martin’s book. Cardinal Tagle once said that at the heart of New Evangelization was the concern for the transmission of faith for the next generations. With this book, there aren’t any more excuses, only solutions. Through activities, arts and crafts, children will be attracted to explore their faith at a young age. This is a great contribution to the mission of passing on the pearl of great price- our Catholic faith,” underscored Fr.Nono.
Ms.Catherine Alajar, a BS Religion Education student of Sr. Ma. Silvestra ‘Bessie’ Orbigo FMM, at Stella Maris College, then gave her testimony to the effectivity of “Sunday Gospel for kids” from her own teaching experience.
“As a CLE teacher, it is a huge challenge for children to appreciate Bible stories. But the use of “Sunday Gospel” made big changes with the way children focused and familiarized with these stories. The arts and crafts connected us, built our rapport. Especially in the public school setting, this really helps children appreciate their faith a lot more.”
For Catholic Homeschooling Journey leader Michelle Siaotong-Llaban, “Sunday Gospel” has been a vital tool for her and husband Kirby’s role of inspiring and guiding fellow primary educators.
“With the scarcity of quality Catholic teaching materials, “Sunday Gospel” is the answer to the clamor for concrete ways and means to bring children close to God. I knew I had to give copies to family and friends, and we are proud to say that we have distributed to fellow ministries in China, and as far as Kenya.”
Joined upfront by her husband and children Sev Philip, Kaitlyn Faith, John Maximilian and Samuel Augustine to express their family’s thanksgiving messages and well-wishes and for Fr.Martin, Michelle recalled a touching anecdote involving her six-year old John.
“John recently told me of how he dreamt of a pregnant Mama Mary baking cookies. She gave him a cookie and asked him to share it with others. In his six-year old mind, he was able to connect Mama Mary’s “bun in the oven” with the baby Jesus, and how we should share Jesus to others. As we build our goal of a happy, healthy and holy home, this book will bring entire families closer to Jesus.”
Fr. Mon Bautista SJ, renowned author of “Wood for the Fire” and co-tertian master of JCAP’s tertianship program, underscored three distinct qualities of his mentee’s banner project.
“Fr.Martin’s book is instructive as it brings up factors of our faith such as vocation, prayer etc., but without these technical terms. Early on, children are exposed much to these key concepts,” explained Fr.Mon.
“The constant presentation to the actual person of the Lord becomes a form of prayer, allowing a real encounter with Christ for the child. This relational nature schools not just the mind, but the heart and interiority of the child. As they learn while having fun, children become true active participants, and this is the strongest point of this simple yet profound catechetical book.”
Following a cheery introduction from close friend and Arvisu batchmate Fr.Roseller Atilano SJ, Fr.Martin reflected on the unexpected blessing of his book.
“My 13 years as a Jesuit has been full of surprises, and one such surprise is this book. This is the fruit of my practical MA thesis and exposure in Sapang Palay, where I realized the need for catechetical materials for children. I wanted children to experience the joy of the Gospel. I hope that more children appreciate learning about Jesus can be fun and enjoyable, and develop their love for the Church.”
To conclude his book’s celebrated launch, Fr.Martin happily demonstrated a paper boat folding activity, depicting how Jesus invites us to friendship and prayer, to the delight of both the young and ‘young at heart’ in attendance.
Copies of “The Sunday Gospel for kids: Children’s Catechism using Arts and Crafts” are now available at Tanging Yaman stores at Sonolux Bldg. and 5F Atrium, SM Megamall. Online purchase is also available at www.jescom.ph/shop.
For more information, call the JesCom office at 426-5971 or 426-6001 local 4841.