Students raise money and global awareness

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Excited students ran from Holy Spirit Church in Annandale last Friday to Holy Spirit School where they sat on the gym floor waiting for the day's instructions. It was the last day of Vacation Bible School and energy levels were high.

The theme for the weeklong program was "Winning the World for Jesus." Classes concentrated on the missions and featured a different missionary saint each day. The children also collected money to give to the Arlington Diocese's Bánica mission in the Dominican Republic on the last day of school.

Friday was a day dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531 on the Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City.

Groups left the gym for classrooms to hear the story of the Virgin's appearance, while younger children colored paper images of Our Lady and older students used markers to color paper cut-outs of the Blessed Mother.

When classes ended, students returned to the gym for games. They loaded balls into a rainbow-colored parachute top and held the edges as they brought their arms down, then up, to launch the balls into the air as high as they could.

"You haven't hit the ceiling yet," a counselor yelled to the children.

The highlight of the morning was the visit by Father Patrick L. Posey, pastor of St. James Parish in Falls Church and director of the Pontifical Mission Society in the Arlington Diocese. Father Posey was joined by Linda Gott, mission coordinator for St. Timothy School in Chantilly.

"How many of you here have (running) water in your homes?" Father Posey asked the students sitting on the gym floor.

Every child raised their hand. Father Posey told them that many people in Bánica have to go down to the river for their water.

Father Posey, who was pastor of the Bánica mission for eight years, went on to ask about electricity in their homes - they all had it - and dirt for floors - none had it.

"Some students don't even have a pencil," he told the children.

The students presented Father Posey with $588 and a spiritual bouquet of prayers that they collected.

Gott presented each student with a World Mission Rosary designed by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966. Each decade of the rosary represents a part of the world where the Church has mission activity. Praying the rosary helps the Holy Father and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in their work to help the world's poor.

"Thank you for your support," Father Posey told the children. "Thank you for your prayers and all your good works."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2011