Catechetic lessons give Mariana trust for the future

Children’s lives in Rasnic village, Cernatesti commune, seem to follow an established routine. They go to school in the morning, they help their parents with the household chores in the afternooon and in the evening - those who still have enough energy - do their homework. Summer holidays pass extremely fast: they wake up in the morning to work the field and, then, they eagerly meet on the village's lanes to play different games. They seldom go away to visit the nearest city and when they do, it feels like a real experience.

Many of them dream of opportunities to help them grow and prepare them for life and for that reason when World Vision started Youth Bible Curriculum (YBC) in their village they welcomed the opportunity with great joy and pleasure. “I have learned a lot since I started attending these classes. For me it is a chance to spend my time in a useful way with my colleagues and find out more things about Christian beliefs. Besides, I have grown closer to God and I have more confidence in myself now,” says Mariana, 13 years old, one of the 40 children who take part regularly in YBC in Rasnic Village.

Mariana’s family is a modest one, like many other families in the countryside. Her parents don’t have stable jobs. They work the land and during summertime they work on a daily basis in the village. Mariana has two sisters and two little brothers: Tincuta, 11 years old, Anton, 10 years old, Anita, 5 years old and Darius, 1 month old.

Being the eldest, Mariana takes care of them, guides them, and helps them with their homework. “Mariana is a very sensitive and obedient child. She divides her time between school, homework and household activities. For her Sunday is a special day. She puts on her best clothes and goes to mass and then she attends the catechetic classes. She longs to learn many things, to go to high school in town, to have a nice job,” says her mother.

YBC started to develop in World Vision partner communities from Dolj county in 2006, as part of the project “Jesus shared with the Children”, developed in partnership with the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Gospel Light Publishing House. The priests were given Catechetical Guides, written in a language adapted to the level of understanding for every age, from six to 17 years old. The method used comprises three parts: discovery, interaction and performance. The lessons bring God’s word to a personal level, always associating it with the children’s own experiences, extending it to the family as well.

The catechesis takes place in church, especially on Sundays, after mass.  The children start with the “Our Father” prayer, which sounds so deep and warm from their voices, creating a peaceful atmosphere for the mind and soul. Diligent and obedient, the children begin, under the priest’s guidance, to talk about different themes. They read various teachings and then they answer one by one the questions addressed to them. They listen to one another, making additions. They also play different games meant to make their activity more pleasant and attractive.

 “In time, the children have started to get more and more involved in catechetic lessons, they are more communicative and open to dialogue. They wish to do good deeds and they have grown closer to the church. Mariana is their leader, has always new ideas, is passionate about Christian teachings, reads a lot at home and then shares the most interesting things with other children,” says Father Marius Preda, Rasnic Parish.

Last summer, World Vision Romania – Dolj Regional Office - supported the Rasnic Parish to organize a trip for the children who take part in catechetic activities. Accompanied by the priest, they visited the most famous monasteries in the Oltenia region. For many of them, the experience was unique and unforgettable: “It was the first time we had been on a trip. We saw beautiful places and the monasteries impressed us a great deal. I came back with my batteries recharged and full of inner peace,” remembers Mariana.

Over time, the children who attend the catechetic lessons have become a close group, full of initiatives. At Christmas they organized a beautiful show, singing carols during the school festivities, and on March 1st and 8th they made cards and trinkets. When spring comes they take part in public cleaning. “We are friends and we enjoy doing lots of things together. Apart from making others happy, our heart is happy too,” adds Mariana.

Next year is very important for Mariana. She has to study hard to be admitted at a high school in town. She wants to make her dream come true because she wants to change her life and her family’s. She knows that God and Virgin Mary will guide her steps and will give her the will to learn more. Moreover, the knowledge she got from the catechetic activities has helped her to become a more confident person. “I have gathered enough trust and faith to believe that my dream will come true,” says Mariana.