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The Pontifical society of Missionary Childhood

Founded in Nancy, France in 1843 by Bishop Charles de Forbin Jansen to awaken in every Catholic child a strong scene of commitment to Jesus Christ and a zeal for the spread of the Good News everywhere by:

Deepening ones faith

Living it faithfully and

Sharing it joyfully

To prepare the Catholic Children to be joyful in their Faith and to share it with their other brothers & sisters at school, at play or any point in their lives. 

To encourage children to pray, to be loyal to their elders and to bring together all children in a world wide fraternity.

To spread the good News of Jesus far into the remotest corners of the world by drawing their attention to the spiritual as well as the material needs of the children throughout the world, with their prayers, sacrifices and their offerings.

 

Holy Childhood Society in Sri Lanka

The Holy Childhood Society has existed over 60 years in Sri Lanka but was confined to a few catholic schools in the island. After the Asian Regional /Meeting of the National Directors of these societies in Bangkok in the year 1986, a decision was taken to broad base this movement in Sri Lanka in order to make it more relevant and effective in the Sri Lankan context;

 

To assist all Catholic children in Sri Lanka towards a deeper and stronger experience of their faith through a spiritual communion with Christ.

To awaken stronger scenes of mission in them, enabling them to proclaim their faith boldly and authentically.

To guide them in such a way as to make them experience the universality, urging them to transcend all barriers of caste, race, color or language.

To assist them in achieving a deep concern for the needs of the universal mission of the church to the point of giving their lives generously. To spread the gospel, even through religious or priestly vocation.

To enkindle in them a great love for the poor, the suffering, the oppressed and all who represent the suffering face of Christ today.

To assist them to develop a greater spirit of missionary co-operation, the worldwide church.

  

The Society is present in every diocese in Sri Lanka and there are well over 78,000 enrolled members and many more who are to be enrolled. By giving a true Christian and Missionary formation to the children even from their very tender age, the society could render a great service to the future generations of children, it also would help, to protect our children from being corrupted at a very young age by the selfish, irreligious values of modern society. Besides they could be trained, not only to think of their own spiritual or material needs but also to the needs of their children.

 

The Holy Childhood emblem

The 3 stars depict the goals of the society

Deepening of faith

Living of faith

Sharing of faith

The 3 children in the global show the worldwide solidarity of the movement .The shape of the emblem, the cross, is a sign that makes the children aware of their goal as members-the path of the cross that Jesus himself followed.

 

The Missionary Childhood cell

This is a way of assisting the children to acquire a strong faith and missionary formation. It visualizes smaller groups of children under the care of one or two animators who are sent through a programme of work which gradually develops a sense of love and loyalty among the children for Jesus and the Church He founded and a strong desire to join in the missionary tasks entrusted to it actively and zealously. 

It allows for closer follow up of the children and encourages them to interact and share their responsibilities. Accent here is very much on animation and formation leaving room for the generosity and the spirit of solidarity of the children to attend to financial contributions. It sort of leads them to direct missionary activity and witness and "to feel one with the church" in its needs globally. Cells can be organized in schools, parishes, villages and even BC or zones of villages. They have the capacity for autonomous action.

 

The main components of a cell are

The member

And

The Animators

 

Membership 

Not more than a manageable number of children between ages of 6-14 years are to be the constituency of the cell, they could be sub-divided to suit the different levels of maturity such as 6-8, 9-11, & 12-14 years. Manageable number consists of a number that can be closely followed up by an animator or two.

 

Name

Each cell should have its own name

A saint's name

Other meaningful names like "blossoming flowers" "shining stars" etc.

 

The Missionary Childhood Animators

The idea of an animator is very much oriented-unlike in the European context where it is basically a teacher student relationship that prevails-in our context and for that matter even in the case of Jesus and the disciples it is a relationship of guide and disciple. Role models and guides are important for children and their psychological upbringing. Besides, the animator often stands for the parents who are otherwise busy with their daily occupations. Each cell should have at least two animators-preferably from the youth. By associating with and seeking to be role models for children, such youth too benefit from the experience.

 

Animators' Leadership Badge 

The animator should be.............

Of good moral and religious disposition

Recommended by the parish priest

Trained at a seminar conducted by the National/diocesan Office of HC

Desirous of serving voluntarily

Should have a period of internship under a trained animator before coming in for training

 

Disposition of their soul...............

Committed deeply to the Lord-striving for personal holiness Zealous and dedicated sharers of Christ's mission-impelled to proclaim Christ and make others too to do that Feel that he or she is part of the shepherd role of Christ and hence needs to love and care  for the children A second parent Committed to the salvation of the children and be ready to love them up to that desire - ardor for souls Specially concerned for the suffering child

 

Task entrusted ............

To be a link between parents & children

To encourage children & parents about faith & faith sharing

To be a discreet guide to children

To ensure the active & sustained participation of all children in all the activities of the cell

To get other cells organized

To strengthen the weak ones by ones own way of life

To work closely with the Parish Priests, Parents, Parish associations and in harmony with their pastoral orientations.

 

Organization of Children

The cell

The basic unit of the movement with a manageable number of children under the care and guidance of two or more animators

 

Activities of the cell

Common gatherings (meetings), prayer, activities for witness and evangelization, sharing of resources, spiritual motivation programmes, study and reflection on the scripture and role models of faith and life. Organization of such activities and leadership to be given to the children

 

Meetings of the cell

To be held at a regular frequency to ensure stability and continuity. Time for meetings to be fixed in consultation with the parish priests, parents and animators and according to the needs and timetable of the children.

 

The meetings

Can have a regular structure but flexibility is a good principle. There should be room for Prayer Reading, reflection and assimilation of scripture or church teaching on mission. Reflection about the lives of heroic missionaries Hymns, songs and group dynamics. Sharing of mission experiences. Decisions and resolution for prayer and action. Allocution of animators/Parish Priest/Elders

 

Other Activities

Organization of "Special Mission Days" in the parish Holy childhood Sunday celebration each year in the parish

Support and participation of the children in any Parish venture. Action of solidarity and support for other initiatives in favor of children-even in conjunction with a religious or non-Christian religious organization.

 

Animators and Children

Role of educator

Facilitate the discovery of Jesus as a personal experience.

 

Role of a spiritual guide and example

What is needed is the encouragement for new ardor of Holiness"(Rm 90) One must strive to be personally holy  facilitate personal and communitarian Prayer.

Frequent and loving reception of the sacraments especially that of Reconciliation. Listening  dialoguing and responding to the invitations of the word of God in Scripture. A deep love of the Lord & dialogue with Him. A deep and abiding love and concern for the church especially for the salvation of others.

 

Role of missionary

Lead the children to consider everything they do as a contribution to the salvation of the world.

 

Role of the shepherd

Exercises role of pastoral love and guidance on behalf of the church and feel it is important.

 

Role of a second parent

Special attention to children having difficult background and overall concern for their integral growth.

 

Role of a facilitator for witness

Encourage children to render a loving witness to Jesus in their lives.

 

Role of a guide to Jesus

Hold the children by the hand; protect them from inimical forces and lead them to the Lord-"Let the little children come unto me�do not hinder them" (Mk 10:14)

 

Role of a facilitator for vocations

Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus- the animator too should strive to let the seed of a religious or missionary vocation to form in the children.

 

How to choose an animator

Volunteers

Exemplary Catholics recommended by Parish Priests or heads of such institutions

Preferably youth  as children come closer to youth easily

Preferably laity  continuity is assured

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About PMS

The Pontifical Mission Societies is an invitation to the baptized Christian throughout the world to share in the command of Jesus Christ when He said, "Go out to the whole world and make disciples". The most convincing way in which this command was carried out by the first Christians was when they lived their Christianity sharing and caring for each other in Love

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