Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Example of Why Catholic VBS's Suck

This week, Alan is attending a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at a Greek Orthodox church in Milwaukee.

It's not that we were looking for a Greek Orthodox experience or anything. Instead, it's because the VBS is being held at the church where his former school rented space, and because of lingering contacts with the church, we found out about it.

Truth be told, I'm not gonna ignore a VBS that's 5 hours long everyday, including lunch.  Hello! Peace and quiet for 20 hours this week! Hurray!

Anyway, when Alan got home yesterday, he excitedly told us that "...the priest took us in the church and showed us how he cuts the bread for communion and the symbols for the trinity and the icons." My lowered voice response to this - spoken to my husband, not Alan - was "hell would need to freeze over for something like this to occur at a Catholic VBS."

Anyone reading this disagree?

I've blogged about VBS's before and I suppose this post is basically reiterating what I've previously said and observed, but why couldn't this happen at a Catholic VBS? Say, for a measly 15 minutes, a Catholic priest takes all the kids into the church and points out where the tabernacle is, talks about how Jesus lives there, explains a few basic mechanics in terms of how he reveres and operates the tabernacle....maybe show off the tabernacle light, etc.

What gets me is that every Catholic VBS Alan has ever attended (with the exception of Totus Tuus, which I'll explain more about below) is filled with skads of nominal Catholic children, most of whom attend (snort) Catholic parish schools, and most of whom will graduate from 8th grade not believing that the Eucharist is the real deal. And yet we wonder why people no longer know and believe in their faith?

What if every Catholic VBS took the time to spend just one half hour to review a few basic facts of our faith? What if - gasp! - an actual Catholic authority (like a priest) - rather than a 60-something DRE - spent time with and spoke to Catholic children?

I recall when I blogged about this before, I was impressed with a Protestant VBS Alan attended where the pastor showed up every day to pray with the kids and offer a five minute message. Some people responded in my commbox that priests today are too busy and overloaded with other responsibilities to take such time. I continue to maintain that's hogwash. If we don't trot priests out in front of kids as authority figures to listen to, esteem, and even love - well then, don't bitch about lack of Catholic formation, culture, and respect for the Catholic faith.

About Totus Tuus: It's an authentic Catholic "VBS" that travels around the U.S. (The link I've provided is to the Chicago program, but it gives a really great description. You can Google if the program comes to your neck of the woods. And if it doesn't - contact them to get them to come!) This program is also about 5 hours a day (applause!), but it includes daily mass, confession, and teaching from college age volunteers of the Christendom and Steubenville variety. Alan attended last year in the town we used to live in and we were happy with the results.

Unfortunately, some parents bitched (the parents who didn't understand what they were getting into) because it was too Catholic and GOD FORBID my kid had to go to mass everyday. So Totus Tuus is not coming to that town this year - the parish that hosted apparently felt parents' bitching was more important than the truth. But it's coming to two different parishes in Milwaukee this summer and Alan's all signed up for the end of this month.

I know many "authentic" Catholics believe VBS of any stripe is stupid and time wasted, but I will continue to disagree. Even the most basic "Jesus Loves Me" message has value, in my opinion, especially at the very young ages. The thing is, the people who complain about how un-Catholic and uninspired most VBS's are tend to be the homeschooling parents who would do the most good in volunteering to run a truly Catholic VBS. Well, unless the DRE has anything to say about it. And that is probably the underlying issue. Don't know how to get around that one.

So, kudos to the Greek Orthodox for being Greek Orthodox without shame. Catholic should take note.


  1. Has your little guy done this VBS program? http://www.growingwiththesaints.com/about.cfm
    It's the one our new parish has adopted and all the homeschooling moms are raving about it. We just joined this parish so we missed out this year, but I'm curious if you've had experience with it. They did the Parade Around the Our Father Catholic Kidz Camp one this year. Totus Tuus sounds more like what I would like/expect but I'm curious if you have any programs themselves you dislike out of sheer curiosity. I agree with you on the need for priests to be present even in VBS, even if only for a few minutes. My daughter's Godfather is our new pastor, and I know he considers his face-time with the parish and school children VERY important...anyway, glad your son had such a wonderful experience.

  2. We had Totus Tuus at our parish, and it was so so. There was way too much sitting and listening for the younger kids. My question is, why do the catholic Centric VBS programs (cough) k4J (cough) have to be so lame? There has to be a happy medium. The Crescat did a post about EWTN shows all being ppl sitting and talking. Catholic VBS need to be engaging, like the Protestant ones. ZBarZona

  3. I can't say I know much about Totus Tuus even though my children have participated in it for something like the last 15 years. What I do see is a program that is orthodox, run by orthodox Catholic college kids that makes the Faith normal and fun. What more can you ask for?

    Why didn't you just take him to Totus Tuus at a different parish? Over the years my children have attended it at different parishes.

  4. Why not just let your kid go to summer camp instead of laying this heavy religious stuff on him. When he grows up he can decide if he's into the religious scene. Let the kid be a kid.

  5. Are you *currently* being sent into Hell forever ... automatically excommunicated (outside) of God’s Catholic Church ?

    Answer: Yes you are ... you can reverse it ... please continue.

    Council of Florence, Session 8, 22 Nov 1439 -- infallible Source of Dogma >
    "Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally."

    You must believe the Catholic Dogma to be in the Church ... Dogma you have *never* seen.

    Site > Immaculata-one.com ... infallible Dogma throughout.

    The Catholic Faith *is not* Bible interpretation ... it is the Catholic infallible Sources of Dogma. The Catholic Church didn’t even define the Bible’s New Testament Canon until 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage.

    - - - -

    Can a group which enforces the opposite, the opposite, and the opposite of the Catholic unchangeable Dogma be the Catholic Church?

    No, it cannot possibly be the Catholic Church ... and promotion of the opposite of the Catholic Dogma is exactly what the vatican-2 heretic cult does ... and has been doing since it’s founding on 8 December 1965 at the Vatican.

    The vatican-2 heresy does not have the Office of the Papacy ... only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

    The Dogma cannot “change” or be “reversed” ... God does not “change”.

    The founding documents of the vatican-2 heretic cult … the “vatican-2 council” documents … have well over 200 heresies *against* prior defined unchangeable Dogma. Every (apparent) bishop at the “council” approved the mountain of heresy, which caused their automatic excommunication, see Section 13.2 of the below site.

    - - - -

    Section 12 > Anti-Christ vatican-2 heresies (50 listed) ... followed by many Catholic corrections.

    Sections 13 and 13.1 > Photographic *proof* of heresy at the Vatican.

    Because of … the Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or for physical participation in a heretic cult (such as the v-2 cult) …

    … we were all placed, body and soul, *outside* of Christianity (the Catholic Church) on 8 December 1965 … the close date of the “council”.

    Section 13.2 > Catholic Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy or participating in a heretic cult such as ... vatican-2, lutheran, methodist, evangelical, etc.

    Section 107 > St. Athanasius (died 373 A.D.) ... “Even if the Church were reduced to a handful ...” - - during the “arian” heresy ... we are there again, but worse.

    Section 13.3 > Matt 16:18, Gates of Hell scripture ... is *not* about the Office of the Papacy ... four Dogmatic Councils defined it ... that heresy will not cause the Dogma to disappear.

    Section 13.4 > The vatican-2 heretic cult does not have the Office of the Papacy only the Catholic Church has the Papacy.

    Section 13.6 > The Catholic Dogma on Jurisdiction and Automatic Excommunication for heresy define that ... God has allowed Catholic Jurisdiction ... for Mass and Confession to disappear from the world. There is no such thing as Catholic Mass outside of the Catholic Church.

    Non-Catholic heresies such as “vatican-2”, “sspx”, “sspv”, “cmri”, etc. ... do not have Catholic Mass.

    Section 19.1 > Dogma on Abjuration for *re-entering* Christianity (the Catholic Church) … after being automatically excommunicated. A Formal Abjuration is provided here also.

    Section 10.2 > Returning to a state of grace, in places and times when Confession is not available, like now.

    - - - -

    Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. -- infallible Source of Dogma >
    "The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy."

    Blessed John Eudes, died 1680 >
    “The greatest evil existing today is heresy, an infernal rage which hurls countless souls into eternal damnation.”

    Everything you must know, believe, and do to get to Heaven is on > > Immaculata-one.com.

    Our Lady of Conquest
    Pray for us

  6. "Stop the legal bullying!"

    As a member of America's Catholics, we urge you to publicly denounce, and stop, the bullying tactics used by bishops and church defense lawyers against those seeking help from the support group SNAP, including victims of abuse by clerics, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists.

    Sign here: http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_petition?recruiter_id=35411

  7. You know, cussing is a sin. You are a very poor, if at all, Catholic.