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Regarding our Vacation Bible School this summer, your program Vatican Express was a tremendous success. Though I had a hard time initially convincing our DRE to accept the new Growing with the Saints programing, when it was all underway, she became so excited and said what a great success it was for the children and that SHE learned so much more about the Catholic faith. Keep in mind that we had more children participating this year than ever before in our VBS history - one hundred twenty children and thirty adult and teenager facilitators. It was an outstanding success.

 As I mentioned, I promised to find real Roman ice cream to serve to all of our participants on the last day of the event. No one goes to Rome and the Vatican without getting exhausted by the end of the day. One must always look for their famous GELATO (ice cream) as a treat. There are Gelatoria (ice cream stands) all over Rome and most Italian cities. There are dozens of flavors to choose from. I found a manufacturer of authentic gelato in New Orleans and he promised to make the ice cream for me in a special shipment. I drove to his store in Baton Rouge to secure the three flavors of Roman ice cream for our children. They were treated to three flavors that were recommended to us as children’s favorites. We scooped out one hundred fifty-five servings and the children LOVED it! It was an authentic treat to bring their week on the Vatican Express to a close.

I am grateful that the children FINALLY experienced a Vacation Bible School that truly had a Catholic curriculum. They learned so much about Saint Peter and the successive popes. About Pope Francis. About Michelangelo and the Pieta. About the Swiss Guards. About the Vatican flag. And about Peter being a ROCK of faith in Jesus Christ and that we will never abandon what we believe as Catholics. It was wonderful.

As an added facet of our week, we asked the children to bring canned goods each day for the needy of our community. They learned a tremendous social outreach of charity to the needy and less fortunate. It was wonderful. God bless and prosper the work of your hands and minds as you continue to create these Bible School classics. I look forward to your next program and would recommend you to the sharpest critic. The children and the teachers loved it all week long!

God bless,

Fr. Scott Chemino, V.G.

St. Anthony of Padua, Bunkie, LA

Diocese Alexandria, LA