With Vacation Bible Schools canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, Catholic families have cause for celebration this year as many Orange County parishes have scheduled VBS programs this summer.
Once the realm of Protestant churches, Vacation Bible Schools typically involve several days of activities for children of various ages, structured around Scripture.
In addition, Catholic vacation Bible schools usually include a special focus on Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and the saints. Some programs involve the whole family while others welcome children from kindergarten to sixth grade, depending upon the parish.
For information, contact the rectory office in your local parish, the parish school office, or click on the website for details. Here are details from a few local parishes:
- St. Kilian Church in Mission Viejo will hold VBS from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 26 to 30 for children kindergarten through sixth grade in fall 2021 at a cost of $65 per child. Adults and youth are needed to volunteer as well.
- Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove will hold its VBS themed “Wandering Toward the Promised Land,” from June 21 to 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cathedral’s Parking Lot B.
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Irvine’s VBS, titled “Rocky Railway” is free of charge and takes place from June 22 to 26 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
- St. Bonaventure School in Huntington Beach’s VBS, themed “Treasured: Discovering You’re Priceless to God!” takes place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 12 to 16; cost is $150 per student in grades kindergarten through sixth grade as of fall 2021. Incoming seventh through 12th graders are needed to volunteer.
- St. John Neumann Church in Irvine hosts its VBS, “Rocky Railway” from 9 a.m. to noon July 12 to 16 for preschoolers to fifth graders at a cost of $75 per student. Volunteer crew leaders from sixth graders to 12th graders and adult volunteers are needed.
- St. Norbert Church in Orange hosts its family VBS, “Rocky Railway,” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays, July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1. It is free of charge, but signups are required. Adult and student volunteers are needed.
Santiago Retreat Center in Silverado Canyon also offers several summer camps for children, including Camp El Camino from July 6 to 9 for junior high school students in grades 6 to 8 and Blossom Camp for girls ages 8 to 13 years old from July 11-16. Visit https://www.santiagoretreatcenter.org/vacation-bible-camp for details.
Although Diocese of Orange parishes officially are celebrating reopening with the theme of “Gather and Rejoice Together in Christ” this weekend, Catholic parents who wish to launch their own family VBS can find myriad resources online:
- Catholicicing.com offers a home-based Vacation Bible School in a convenient, $10 package. The Backyard VBS kit includes a video lesson, outdoor fun, games, snack-tivities, songs, crafts, teen activities, and alternatives to the crafts, snacks, and activities including more involved materials. Bonus items include printable decorations, swag bag prizes for kids, coloring pages, an extra resources list, a week-at-a-glance schedule and an empty schedule for filling in with your own selected activities.
- Five different themes are offered to adults who want to run Catholic VBS programs at https://growingupcatholicvbs.com/.
- Our Sunday Visitor’s website, https://vbs.osv.com/totally-catholic-rocky-railway/online-vbs-guide/, offers a VBS-at-home guide
The Maria Ferrucci Catholic Family Living feature is intended to inspire families to live their faith in the way Maria Ferrucci did throughout her earthly life.