And if the « April Fool’s Day» fish led us to discover another fish, that of Jonah ? This is what happened in the pastoral unit of Val de l’Escault (Belgium) on the 1st April 2017.
On Saturday the 1st April, setting off together, and, by means of a game, preparing our hearts to celebrate Easter. No need to go to Nineveh, the call to conversion can ring out just as well here at home. But … how can we pass on the message today, when in a family context we speak very little about pardon, contrition and conversion ?
In catechetics, creativity, pictures, setting the scene can open up ways of reflecting that are open to everyone. In the Pastoral team of Val de l’Escaut, we had chosen the date of the 1st of April. Ah ! Everyone knows the fish associated with April Fool’s Day. But there is a book in the Bible that is much less well known and that we could discover together : the book of Jonah.
So that became our ‘theme’ for a walk across a sunny countryside where the first colours of spring were just beginning to show.
A team of catechists had gathered together since February to put together this project, to write the content for each halt, and to build the large fish through which all of the children would pass. The idea was that, once returned from the walk, each child would pass through the belly of the fish. In this way they would experience the passage from darkness (night, death) and so better appreciate the light (sun, life). What could be more meaningful a few days before Easter !
After coming out of the fish they were offered a pebble as a call to live the experience of « PARDON » and so become lighter in order to welcome the Resuscitated One.
In this all-age assembly, the school children preparing for baptism occupied a priviliged place. For them, it marked a stage in the « scrutinies ».
Supported by their families and the whole catechetic community, and in a climate of prayer, they received the force to struggle against the evil that prevents them from « living in friendship with Jesus ».
At the end of this beautiful and yet simple experience, everyone shared a snack and the friendly exchanges continued. The whole team could give thanks.
The Lord makes use of our poor means to work on hearts and to open up a way of return to the Father in each human being, whatever his or her doubts, or situation in life
Sister Anne Thirion