What comes to your mind when you think of Sunday School? Well...first of all Sunday morning...bright and early, a classroom full of happy children and zealous catechists! This is not far from the reality of Sunday School at St. Michael’s, Mahim.
Sunday School catechism classes are held at St. Michael’s School, which is adjacent to the Church, at 8.30 a.m. every Sunday. There is one division per grade, from Grade 1 to 10. Each class has, on an average, three catechists and 20 children. The catechesis follows the Bible Quest curriculum set by the Diocesan Catechetical Centre of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Most of the catechists have completed the Catechist Training Course, also conducted by the Catechetical Centre.
After Sunday School, the children attend the special Children’s Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Church. Besides regular catechesis, the children have various other formation programmes, namely, Vacation Bible Joy during the Diwali vacations and Holiday Special during the summer vacations.
Vacation Bible Joy: The lessons plans are provided by the Ministry of the Word group of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The six day programme is held for four hours daily and is attended by children of the age group 5 - 15. They are given a certificate from the Ministry of the Word at the end of the programme. There is a different Biblical theme every year. The objective of the programme is to strengthen the child’s understanding and appreciation of the Word of God, in an enjoyable and conducive environment.
Holiday Special: This is a month long programme held during the month of May in the parish. The Sunday School team collaborates with the parish recreation centre, Focolare, Legion of Mary and other ministries to foster a spirit of service and development of necessary life-skills in the children. Besides daily fun, games, sports, art and craft activities, the children are given training on vocational areas such as sound and light management, basic electrical, plumbing, mechanical work on vehicles and cycles, cookery, housekeeping and work-study, etc. and value-based programmes as well. There are also sessions on conservation of the environment, field trips and outreach programmes. Each day the children are provided with home-made snacks and refreshments prepared by the catechists, youth and children themselves. The entire programme is self-funded as the catechists, youth and children together run the Wednesday Novena canteen on one or two Wednesdays in the month of May to raise funds for the camp, as well as for social causes. There is also a ‘Sasta Sale’ conducted by the Holiday Special team during the novenas. The children are encouraged to donate their old books, clothes, toys and other items which are sorted, cleaned and put up for sale. Finally, everyone enjoys a day of fellowship at the much-awaited picnic! During the lockdown, the children participated in an online camp, which brought out a new set of skills in them and the catechists as well!
Sunday School at St. Michael’s endeavours to raise up children to love and honour God, through a life of holiness and service, by animating not only them, but their families.
The catechists meet each month on the second Sunday, after the 9.30 a.m. children’s Mass. Children who wish to join Sunday School, may contact the Parish Priest, any of the parish fathers or catechists. Sunday School commences on the first Sunday of July, which is Faith Formation Sunday, with the commissioning of the catechists. It closes by the end of March each year.