HOW can adults communicate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ to children?
The Catholic Leader columnist and catechist Selina Venier said “it’s a teaching worth much time and explanation”.
“Children, in my experience, have a profound ‘knowing’ about God and if they are Mass-going, this ‘knowing’ is particularly profound,” she said.
“Still, it can be a challenge to find the right words to communicate the supreme gift of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Church and in the Eucharist.”
Ms Venier has written her third children’s book, Invisible Presence, to help all children and particularly those preparing for the sacrament of First Holy Communion.
“Invisible Presence traces a conversation between two friends, one who has received First Holy Communion and one who is about to,” she said. “I’ve again collaborated with graphic designer Veronika Plant to publish a work that aims to instruct and inspire, and indeed to encourage conversation about the Eucharist.
“Veronika and I have taken much time in its production, with great attention to detail to ensure it’s liturgically correct and in keeping with Church teachings.”
Banyo Nundah sacramental co-ordinator Angela Greathead said she was looking forward to using “Invisible Presence” in her ministry next year, as she had done with “Invisible Mud” (about Penance) and “Invisible Fire” (about Confirmation) in 2014.
“Invisible Presence is an excellent resource for children who are preparing for the sacrament of First Holy Communion as it explains what happens at Mass and how to receive Holy Communion,” Mrs Greathead said.
Annerley Ekibin priest-in-residence Fr Paul Chandler said he “commends” Ms Venier’s books “so that children may understand the wonder and mystery of the sacraments”.
“To help children to be well prepared for these moments of intense encounter with Christ is the high point in the role of parents and other educators in the faith,” he said.
“I believe that these books are among the best instruments I have encountered for doing this … (and) I most strongly recommend them for every family and every parish and school.”
As “an addition and an alternative” Ms Venier said Invisible Presence would be available before Christmas in colouring-book format.
“I was with some children, looking at Veronika’s designs before they were coloured,” she said. “And it was one of them who said, ‘I’d like to colour that, why don’t you do a colouring book?’
“Even though I’m not a fan of colouring-in as catechesis on its own, especially for the age bracket concerning sacramental formation, I thought it a good option if teamed with explanation.”
Invisible Presence will be available in late January in full colour at St Pauls Book Centre, Brisbane, Sydney and Toowoomba, as well as Christian Supplies, Brisbane, and St Vincent de Paul Society Hermit Park.
Ms Venier thanks all those who have pre-ordered and have been “exceptionally patient”.
“I’ve found the more something is worth doing for the Lord, the more time, for a myriad of reasons, it takes,” she said. “I do hope Invisible Presence can play a small role in helping families appreciate just how precious and real a gift Jesus Christ’s presence is.”
For more information about this book and others visit www.vineyardofthelord.com.au