Vatican Express Catholic Kidz Camp was the vacation Bible school for 2022 at Notre Dame Parish in Greeneville. VBS was held on Wednesday nights from June 22 through July 13 from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Nineteen adult staff members assisted, along with 10 youth leaders and about 30 students from pre-K to fifth grade under the direction of Susan Collins, director of religious education and youth ministry.
The students learned about St. Jerome, who took so long to translate the Bible into Latin, and his friends the lion and the donkey. They traveled to the Swiss Guard Quarters for faith sharing, Michelangelo’s Loft for crafts, St. Jerome’s Cave for Bible study, St. Peter’s Square Café for snacks, the Pontifical Academy of Music for singing and dancing, and the Vatican Gardens for games. Pictures were taken of each child on the last day driving the Popemobile, with the Swiss Guard at attention.
The students learned about Vatican City starting with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and making treasure chests because of all the treasures held there. The second lesson focused on St. Peter, the apostolic succession, and they made the golden keys of St. Peter. Next was about the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus, and they added jewels to the chalice they colored. The last night featured the monstrance, and each student made a beautiful monstrance with jewels and a picture of Jesus. These were placed on the steps of the altar as the students, their families, and VBS staff gathered in the church at the conclusion of VBS for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Father Joseph Kuzhupil, MSFS, pastor of Notre Dame, blessed the monstrances for the children to take home and display in a special place.
The service project for VBS was an awareness for Peter’s Pence. A friendly competition took place between the girls and the boys to raise funds for the Holy Father for the many needs in the world.