By the end of the June 25-29 program, essentially a Vacation Bible School aimed at preschoolers, the children had heard Mary Beth Casey, the program coordinator, read “Joseph, the Favorite Son”; watched an animated movie about the biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob; and learned a song and colorful streamer routine that they performed for parents.
They also learned more about their faith, including the rosary and the Our Father prayer, and participated in arts and crafts that included colorful crosses and multi-colored paper confetti.
“This year stressed loving your brother as opposed to jealousy,” said Casey, a retired kindergarten and first grade teacher. Joseph was one of 12 sons of Jacob, son of Abraham. Jacob considered Joseph his favorite son, as shown by a brightly colored robe he gave Joseph. His brothers were jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery.
Joseph wound up in Egypt. His ability to interpret dreams helped him rise to become the pharaoh’s most trusted adviser, and he helped Egypt plan for a seven-year drought. During the drought Jacob and his brothers ran out of food. The brothers traveled to Egypt to beg for help, which Joseph provided. Eventually he reunited with his father and his brothers.
Casey started the summer enrichment program in 2010, four years after she joined the Little Disciples team at St. Jude.
During the regular school year, Little Disciples provides a Liturgy of the Word for young children during the Liturgy of the Word at the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. A story form of the day’s Gospel reading, and arts and crafts related to the reading, help the children understand the Gospel’s teaching. The weekly program is suspended during the summer.
The summer enrichment program allows Casey to go beyond the Gospel reading to include stories from the Bible or of saints. Among previous programs are the story of Noah and of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and the stories of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa the Little Flower.