There are times in a year: Weddings, Proms, Graduations. For me, as Coordinator of Children's Catechesis, there is a Sacramental Season.
It is chaotic and challenging and can cause sleepless nights and endless worry. Details, lots and LOTS of DETAILS that need to be tended to and loose ends to tie up. Decorations to make and programs to plan...but all of that is a culmination of two to three years of hard work on the part of the Catechists.
The children have been sponges. They have soaked up our teachings - THE teachings - of Holy Mother Church. Prayers have been memorized and rituals explained but most importantly the love for Jesus and His Church has been fostered in their hearts.
A wild and crazy 3rd grade boy suddenly stops poking his neighbor and pulling his hoodie over his head to shout with joy, "THE EUCHARIST IS WHAT MAKES US CATHOLIC!" in response to why Holy Communion is important.
A shy little girl who has come out of her shell enough to help clean up the board at the end the class arrives at the Church in a pretty dress, clutching her "Penance Book", ready to tell all her troubles to the priest in the Confessional - looking at me with a smile and saying, "I know he will be acting in the person of Jesus. That's what Miss Cassie told me. I am not afraid of Jesus".
A little boy who has had a year of challenges, missing his Daddy who has to work away from home during the week, and sometimes having little meltdowns in class emerges beaming from Father Mark's Confessional. He spots me and, with his Daddy in tow, runs across the plaza. "Oh Miss Leslie you were RIGHT. I feel WONDERFUL". Turning to his Daddy, he says, "I am gonna come back and talk to Father Mark OFTEN - that way I won't be so lonely while you are working. That's what Miss Leslie says will happen". His father looks at me and smiles in gratitude. He knows I have his back.
Little girls transformed into confections in white lace and tule, veils blowing in the breeze, determined to walk in their 'high' heels. Little boys in suits and ties, looking handsome and solemn with the twinkle of mischief I so love in their eyes. "Boys", I tell them, "If men knew how handsome they look in suits and ties they would wear them swimming".
And they laugh.
I get to introduce them to the reason for being a Christian - to Eat the Flesh and Drink the Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nowhere else will they find this Precious Gift. Nowhere - no 'mega church' with a great band and flashing lights will offer the gift of Jesus Himself except the One, Holy and Apostolic Church.
The sleepless nights, the worrying about the details - I get to do that for them. I get to help them on life's journey towards heaven.
My life is awesome.
It is a gift from Him.