Preparing for Christmas as a Group
Our youth groups play a big role in our Christmas celebration.
December 2, 2016 - Bolivia
At NPH Bolivia we have three main youth groups: Líderes, Semillitas, and Mi Voz Se Escucha.
Líderes is our youth group comprised of one or two children from each house, and is usually for only those who are over the age of 12. This group is for children who are interested in leadership at the home, self-development, and service to others. Semillitas, by comparison, is a youth group for our younger children ages 6-12, and is focused on service to the community and developing a sense of identity. Our religious youth group, Mi Voz Se Escucha, is for children ages 12 and older, and works on developing our children’s sense of religious identity and spiritual understanding.
Every Christmas, these three groups come together to bring the meaning of Christmas to NPH Bolivia.
“We take a few from the Líderes group and some others from Semillitas, as well as the acolyte and that year’s communion group, in order to present the Christmas play,” said Jesús an año familiar who is a member of and heavily involved with Líderes.
“The typical Christmas-day schedule starts when we open presents in the afternoon where the majority of which are clothes. The children change into their new clothes, and then we celebrate Mass and all have dinner together. The Christmas play is during the dinner,” Jesús explained.
“Although we help with the play, our groups try to practice the values of Fr. Wasson throughout the entire year. We help clean around the home, we have get-togethers with the younger children, and we help run other events, like the Via Crucis during Eastertime,” he continued.
Christmas at Casa Padre Wasson is not all too different for many children who grew up and lived with their families before being sent to us.
One girl, Melina*, fondly remembers Christmastime with her family. “My siblings and I said prayers with our parents, we set off fireworks in the town square, and I played with my siblings and relatives. That’s why for me, Christmas means sharing with children and being with them, although the fireworks are one of my favorite parts as well.”
Tío Aurelio, our assistant catechist and educator in one of our younger boys’ homes, admitted that, “Christmas is special for the children because of the presents, obviously, but through religious activities and traditions we hope to make them aware about the coming of Jesus Christ; we try to teach them what Jesus represents and the importance he can have in their lives. We sing songs and pray together, we have dynamic activities, and get-togethers to foster a sense of community among believers.”
“We also do many types of service,” Jesús the año familiar mentioned. “Our youth groups help the home by caring for the gardens and animals, and we are hoping to visit people in the nearby village of San Ignacio. There are many people who can feel lonely during the holidays, so we are hoping to have excursions like that soon.”
*Name changed for privacy.