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Growing with the Saints
     
 
  Read What Others Are Saying About Us! . . .

Another faith-filled, fun and successful Catholic Kidz Camp

Catholic Vacation Bible School is family mission.

Check out this GREAT artice about the Vatican Diocese of Evansville, IN

Great article from Dominican Idaho. Click the "Link" at bottom to see slide show.
  Hi Susan,
This is the second year that we have used the "Growing with the Saints" program. I do really like these programs because they are written as Catholic programs, not just a few add on items to call the program the "Catholic Edition". The children really enjoy learning about the faith through our role models, the saints, and I like the family connection that is sent home each day. I also love the fact that the books, music, templates,etc. are all included in the program package. It is well put together in a very organized and usable way. Many of the other programs require you to purchase lots of other items to run the program. This gets expensive! The quality of the materials is on par with any other program that I have used. I was especially concerned about the music. I was worried that it would not be engaging for little ones...old fashioned in a way that did not appeal to children. But, it has plenty of music that is upbeat and contemporary with a nice mix of some traditional Catholic hymns done in a way that the children connect wiith. Please feel free to use my comments however you like. I really am a fan! For your information, I did find your program on our Diocesan website list of approved VBS programs so the Diocese of Pittsburgh is already aware of your program. I do talk about it at our District meetings too. Thanks for providing this option!

Mary Vic Taylor
CRE-Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pittsburgh, PA

  I want to say thank you so much for your family developing your programs!!! We had our Catholic Kidz Camp on July 16-20 using the Vatican Express and it was fantastic (sometimes I want to say “faith”tastic). The program was so easy to use. Our volunteers and participants were excited. We incorporated Eucharistic Adoration. From what I understand from several parents, their kids were going around the house singing the songs, sometimes putting on “performances” for younger siblings (in some cases teaching the motions and words to younger siblings) who were too young to participate. My heart was so filled with joy with the quality of the program, the number of participants (158 student ages 4 through just completed 6th grade), number of volunteers with the preparation, event, and clean-up (over 70 adults and 50 teens), and support of our parish. Many of our volunteers are ready to come back for next year. Most of all, I am most delighted that your programs are solid Catholic; not only do the kids have fun, but they have solid Catholic learning as well. Our pastor stopped by on the last day and asked the kids what was something they had learned? One said they learned that St. Jerome translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. Again thank you so much!! I love that in a few years we can re-use this program. Also that our Catholic School and our religious education programs can use them to teach. In addition, we have a new little mission chapel in the area and one of our CKC volunteers (and parishioner) involved in the founding of the chapel plans to use the music CD to teach the children (and most of the families are Hispanic—children speak English & Spanish) about our faith—The song with “one, holy, Catholic, apostolic Church” was a very popular song!! We even showed the Vatican Treasures DVD to our RCIA participants this past spring and will likely use it again. Again thank you and we look forward to continuing to work with Growing With the Saints. May God continue to bless your ministry to share the beauty of our faith!!

Suzanne Krumpelman
Director of Religious Education
St. Joseph Catholic Church
1722 North Starr Drive
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701


Dear Susan,
Last week – August 13 to 17, 2012, Saint Anselm Parish (Philadelphia Pa) conducted your Bible Summer Program – The Vatican Express with Saint Jerome. We have used all your programs over the past years but this one was truly exciting. It was so nice to see our staff get so involved with your program. From the name tags, the faith lessons, the music, the history of the Vatican, the places within the Vatican to the dance suggestions – both staff and students were more than pleased. We all know how much work is involved in putting on a summer Bible program but you have made the task enjoyable. And our reward was seeing the children leave each day with a smile on their faces and a “See you tomorrow” on their lips. Thank you for a great program.

Yours in Christ
Deacon Jerry Whartenby
Pastoral Associate
Saint Anselm Church
Philadelphia, Pa

    

We will be interested in the next camp for summer 2013- So keep the information coming. We modified The Vatican Express this past year and it worked well for us and some of the kids still sing the songs when they see the teachers.
Have a great day!

St. Raymond of Penafort Religious Education
Maria Ammirati
Springfield, VA
   

Thank you for sending the CDs so quickly! The families were delighted to receive them!

Your programs are really incredible! So many parents commented on how much they liked them, because they were truly Catholic. We offered two camps this year, and each one culminated with Mass that the families attended. It was wonderful to see so much joy on both parents’ and children’s faces!

Thanks so much for all you do in this invaluable ministry!

Sincerely,
Christine K. Freas
Elementary Faith Formation Coordinator
The Church of the Good Shepherd
Cummings, GA

What a great week we had! We "loved" the Catholic VBS! It was great to plan the evening around the symbols, artifacts and music of our Catholic faith! Even adults learned things during the week. Some of the points that I liked as a planner was the storybook that we read every night. I liked where the symbols of the evening were coordinated thru lesson, craft and snack. Last but not certainly not least, the music especially "holy catholic apostolic". Many of the parents said the tune is so catchy they hear their husband singing it. They take them in their cars and the children want to hear them. What more could you ask for, right? One more thing you must know....I am not a fan of buying a kit because of beings so pricey. Our pastor encouraged me last year to buy it for fresh ideas! He was right. I have used more of the things that were included in your kit this year than I ever have. Thank you for the clip art that you supplied it was great to use from registration form, to every day preparation! Thanks again, look forward to working with you in the future!

Faith Schaefer
St Meinrad Catholic Church
St Meinrad, IN


Dear Susan, We just completed our Vatican Express Catholic Kidz Camp and it was marvelous! We started out the first day showing the Vatican Video. The teachers liked it so much that mid-week they asked me to show it again. I decided to show it to everyone on Friday when the parents came for our closing ceremony. The parents loved it, and I think it was a nice recap for the kids to see how what they had learned during the week was referenced in the video.
We gave a free St. Jerome storybook to each family that registered by our target date again this year. It was a tough summer to get people to commit to registering. We ended up with 59 kidz (our goal was 60), 22 teen helpers, and 12 adults.
The Skits were a big hit! The first year we did your program I literally had to make the kids participate in the skits. I told them if they were going to volunteer to help with VBS they HAD to be in one of the skits. Now the kidz can't wait to be part of them. They make their own costumes, have several rehearsals, and memorize their lines. I had more teen helpers this year than ever and they did great!
The crafts were amazing! We loved them all especially the Monstrances. They came out so beautiful! We followed the snack ideas this year too and everyone was very pleased with them.
We added the Bible Leader material back into the Classroom material since we thought the classroom time was lacking without it—as I schedule two 30 minute time slots for class time each day. The worksheets for the Bible section were nice. Gave the kidz more to do than previous programs.

Diana Wake
St. Anthony of Padua
Southern Pines, NC


Dear Susan, Just wanted to say that the children and leaders at Annunciation Parish in Havelock NC had the most wonderful week at VBS and enjoyed tremendously the Vatican Express!! How will you ever top that one. I have ordered several from you the past few years and they were all wonderful and I have shared them with the other DRE's in my deanery but this year the message was very powerful and was definitely accepted/understood by our young children. Even though the curriculum did not call for our pre-k and k to attend Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament our priest Father Gregory Spencer encouraged us to include them and they were wonderful. Thank you for all that you do and just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate a Catholic VBS program. We will keep you in our prayers that the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire you in what you do.

Hopefully one day you can provide us with a VBS High School Program for our Confirmation students what a wonderful way for them to learn their faith and have fun!

Peace and many blessings

Marlene Rink
DRE Annunciation Catholic Parish
246 E. Main Street
Havelock, NC 28532


I Want you to know that we just finished the "Vatican Express " and it was another success! Wondering if you have anything new for next year. We have done each of the programs and are curious.

Danielle Mathis
St Ann Summer Catechesis Director


First of all, congratulations on a wonderful program in Vatican Express! We held our summer catechesis June 11-15th with 75 children, over 50 teen helpers and 12 adult volunteers including two Dominican Sisters of Mary! Everyone was very impressed by the program. I even had a mom email me saying that her 4 children were dragging their feet to attend, but by the end of the week, they were ready to head to Rome!!

God Bless
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Diane Walker
Fennimore, WI




Our VBS week was incredible. The kids had a wonderful time. I had several comment that our music was the best ever. The kids loved the songs. We put a program on Friday night in which the kids sang 5 of the songs. The parents shared all week long that the kids come home with such excitement and talked non stop about VBS. One mom said, her kids come home from school and she asks what they learn, without getting much response from the kids. Each day of VBS they came home and couldn't stop talking about all that they learned with much excitement.

Way to go! Praise the Lord for a great VBS program
http://www.themessageonline.org/local/2012/07-06/jasper.html

Pam Freyberger
Director of Religious Education
Saint Joseph Church
1029 Kundek Street

Jasper, IN 47546


Our VBS week was incredible. The kids had a wonderful time. I had several comment that our music was the best ever. The kids loved the songs. We put a program on Friday night in which the kids sang 5 of the songs. The parents shared all week long that the kids come home with such excitement and talked non stop about VBS. One mom said, her kids come home from school and she asks what they learn, without getting much response from the kids. Each day of VBS they came home and couldn't stop talking about all that they learned with much excitement.

Way to go! Praise the Lord for a great VBS program
http://www.themessageonline.org/local/2012/07-06/jasper.html

Pam Freyberger
Director of Religious Education
Saint Joseph Church
1029 Kundek Street

Jasper, IN 47546


The children who participated had a marvelous week and the parents were thrilled with the program. The highlight was our popemobile and all children had their pictures taken in it. What a hoot! I have really creative and artsy partners in set-up for VBS. Thanks.

Marj Craemer
Director of Child Ministry
St. Jerome Parish
Oconomowoc, WI


We had a very good reception of the Vatican Express presentation at our January DRE meeting. Everyone liked the introductory DVD! I hope by now you have received a number of orders from parishes in our diocese. The two years that I served as a DRE at Our Lady of Sorrows we used two of your VBS programs (Holy Trinity and St. Patrick and Assorted Saints) and I received very favorable feedback from VBS participants’ parents and parishioners alike that they appreciated having such quality Catholic VBS programs! I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire you and the Growing with the Saints team to continue to create such wonderful materials for our young people!

Elizabeth Sutton
Director, Office of Religious Education
Diocese of Birmingham

      

Vatican Express provides an excellent study on the Church and the Holy See. We were innovative and used the program for our Lenten religious education program. The clip art, registration forms and advertising promotional material was helpful and easy to input local adaptations. We used a lesson a week and structured the classes at 1 1/2 hours. The lesson, bible activity, story book, crafts and snacks were ideal to structure our time. We especially enjoyed using the treasure chest as part of program. The program is interactive and different age levels is well adjusted. One of our new students asked at the end our session, "what are we doing next". The children enjoyed it and it was easy to prepare the lessons with minimum additional costs.

Father Michael Schneider
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Forsyth, Montana

     

The Vatican comes alive! These were my first words when reviewing Growing with the Saints New Vacation Bible School Program the “Vatican Express.” This unique program takes the students through a systematic presentation of the Vatican meticulously revealing the origins of Vatican City State, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica and prominently teaching us about our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and His role as the Vicar of Christ.

Among its many strengths is the use of Sacred art and music to beautifully reveal Vatican City State faithfully teaching the audience on the role of the Papacy, Apostolic Authority and the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession instituted by Christ. The strongest attribute for “Vatican Express” is its fidelity in presenting the teachings of the Church. I would wholeheartedly recommend this program as a key catechetical tool to hand on the Catholic faith to others.

Marlon De La Torre, MA, Mes. Director of Catechist Formation and Children’s Catechesis, Secretary to the Pastoral Provision, Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
Author of: Screw tape Teaches the Faith a study of Screw tape Letters and the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Tan/Saint Benedict Press and frequent EWTN Radio contributor to the Sunrise Morning Show, Al Krista Live, and Catholic Connection with Teresa Tome, EWTN Live guest with Fr. Mitch Pica and features writer for Catholiclane.com

Hope this helps.

Respectfully,
Marlon

Marlon De La Torre, MA, MEd.
Director of Catechist Formation and Children's Catechesis
Secretary to the Pastoral Provision
Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth

     

Hi Susan,

I LOVE the program and can't wait to get started!
I will keep you posted on our progress for VBS.

Thanks, Lisa Ellis
St. Mary’s Catholic Church

     

Susan,
I recently got a chance to meet with our priest and discuss the possibility of a change for our VBS program. He took the time to discuss how the VBS program originated with the protestant church and how the Catholic churches adopted the VBS program. I discussed with him on how our program is becoming old and routine and that in our small community every church regardless of denomination uses the same company for their VBS programs. I also told him that I would like to do some research on the possibility of looking for another company to use for our VBS program. He was very open minded and encouraged me to do so. When I started to research other companies, I found that they pretty much were all the same except for their different lesson plans. They were basically just generalized programs that could be used for any denomination. These companies did try and change up their programs to be Catholic based by adding information regarding a different Saint a day, but left out the key features in our faith - The Eucharist, the Holy Trinity, Mary, Reconciliation and much more. I was in disbelief that these companies were trying to pass off their programs as Catholic based especially when they had no clue about our faith. I feel that as Catholic's we need to teach our beliefs, not others, or in a generalized way. I was raised Protestant and became Catholic later in my adult life. I was not taught the importance of the Eucharist or many of the other beautiful factors of our faith. I am now a P.S.R. teacher and am finding out more and more that the parents of my students are not discussing the importance of their faith with them. Some of the parents believe that taking them to these classes is their part in teaching their children about the Catholic Faith. It isn't enough, I feel that as a parish we need to give our children every opportunity in the programs we teach, the importance of their faith. We, as Catholics, are not the same as other religions. I am not saying we are better, but we can not be generalized in a packet as other faiths, a mere teaching about a Saint is not enough. I don't want the children of our Parish going to other churches to be taught, I want them to be taught what it means to be a Catholic, every chance we have and to utilize the proper tools to do so. I decided to try a different avenue of looking up a Catholic VBS program and low and behold I found it. It was the Vatican Express program. I figured I should check out this program in depth especially since it used the word Vatican in the name of the VBS program. I was correct in my thoughts, it is a Catholic based program written and created by Catholics for Catholics. I was so excited to read the information offered, but slowly the enthusiasm was lowering. I saw the price of the program and figured since it was more, our priest would say no, but I didn't give up there. I read more and more about the program and realized it just isn't a starter pack. It is the whole VBS program. Most of the programs are just a feeder pack and then they have you buy their additional supplies, like bible buddies, crafts, etc. When I started adding things up, I found out that even though the initial packet was a little more, the savings in the long run was much more. It reminded me of the upcoming Valentine's day holiday. It is basically a "Hallmark Holiday". The beauty and love of this holiday gets pushed aside because of all the bells and whistles that is customary to go with this holiday like, flowers, candy, etc. That is how I feel about the other generalized programs, just the bells and whistles, while the Vatican Express is the beauty and love found in our teachings. Needless to say, we have ordered the packet and will be previewing it for 30 days. I am sure we will be very happy with our findings and will use the Vatican Express for our VBS program this upcoming summer. Thanks again for providing us with such a great program to use for our children.

Jodi Bambeck, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Dover, Ohio

   

Mrs. Lawson,
Our VBS Coordinator thought the Vatican Express module was very good! We will order it!

Nicholas Jagneaux, Our Lady Queen of All Saints Catholic Church, Ville Platte, LA

   

Hello, Susan! Yes, we at Sacred Heart Parish in Oxford, PA, would like to purchase the program. We've had a preview packet, and now we'd like to become "official." Your program includes sound teaching, but it will also be tons of fun. I am especially pleased with the music. That's always the first thing I look at (just because I'm a music person), and I was so pleased with the music that comes with the program.

God bless, Gina Fritz

    

Susan, We are going to purchase the kit, it is very exciting!! We are celebrating our 150th year of being Ss. Peter & Paul parish here in Hortonville, WI so we are going to have our Catholic Kidz Camp the week of June 25 - June 29, and of course the 29th being the feast day of Ss. Peter & Paul. It will work great, I have submitted the bill for payment. Thank you.

Tina Ellenbecker, Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Hortonville, WI,

     

Susan, Good News! St. Joseph, Princeton, Indiana, will use The Vatican Express for our VBS this summer! I have previewed the materials you sent and I am very pleased with the program. . .I do look forward to turning our people loose on this excellent program.

Blessings, Susan Williams, DRE, St. Joseph, Princeton, IN

     

Dear Susan, Thank you so very much for getting the Vatican Express Kidz Camp ordered for me. Wow, I was so happy to hear your beautiful comments to me. Since the first day I talked to you and Melissa on the phone, five years ago, I have thanked God over and over for you and all your hard work to bring our Catholic kids the truths about our faith, the Saints, and now the Vatican. You have been the blessings in my life and all of the students in our Parish.

Just to think, I was driving to pick up my grandson from school that day when I heard about Growing with the Saints on the Catholic Channel. I knew right away that our children needed your program. I picked up my cell phone and called, don't worry, I was just pulling into the school yard. I heard your beautiful encouraging voice and that was the start of our wonderful friendship. Thanks be to God in His goodness.

I would like to mention to you that our Parish of St. Mary's, Umbarger, Texas, is a beautiful site to see. It was painted in 1945, by some Italian Prisoners of War, who were encamped at Hereford, Texas, which is about 25 miles from Umbarger. It is a magnificent site to see. Right now we are having it restored to it's original beauty. The Church is over one hundred years old and restoration will not be finished until some time in October. I would like to invite you and Melissa to come to our German Sausage Festival. It is always on the second Sunday of November. It is wonderful fundraiser for us. Certainly your meals would be free. Then you can go on a Church tour and visit with some of the people who can tell you about the history of it. I know that you both would enjoy the day or a couple of days if you would like.

Please let me know if you would like to come and I will be glad to do what ever I can to make your stay enjoyable. As I always say, May God's most generous blessings be with you and keep you going to make children's lives Happy and Holy.

In Jesus and Mary, Regina Pender, Parish of St. Mary's, Umbarger,TX

     

For the past 5 years, we at St. Vincent de Paul Church have used Growing with the Saints for our VBS programs. This year I am especially enthused to acquaint you with the latest program “The Vatican Express.” Be Bold! Be Catholic! Consider pre-viewing the latest material available for these TOP TEN reasons:

# 10 The program will never become obsolete and can be recycled. All materials are housed in a secure carrying case and are reusable.

# 9 Thematic snack suggestions with colored photos are included.

# 8 St. Jerome, noted for translating the Bible, is the featured saint.

# 7 Faith Lessons provide catechesis for four grade levels: PreK, 1 and 2; Grades 3-4; and Grades 5-6.

# 6 Thematic craft suggestions for the above individual grade levels using Catholic symbols such as a Vatican flag, a monstrance, a chalice, a Pope license plate, are easily completed within a session.

# 5 A complete CD containing clip art, promotional ideas, posters, banners, and possibilities for T-shirt design is included.

# 4 You will be receiving a printed songbook, music CD, and a song and action DVD (Makes the preparation for the final program for parents a snap!), plus a superb DVD on the Vatican.

# 3 The 5-day program explores the early Church, Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel, the Swiss Guard, as well as the Pieta, and our greatest treasure, the Eucharist.

# 2 Written by Catholics for Catholics, this program is not a derivative of other generic VBS series.

# 1 Taa daaa! The number one reason to pre-view “The Vatican Express” is that it is totally Catholic; it celebrates our Catholic identity, and instructs about our heritage and our faith in an engaging and rhythmic manner.

To preview or order a program (You won’t be sorry!) check out the site on
growingwiththesaints.com

Blessings to all, Beth Amick, DRE, St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Wayne, IN

      

Hello Susan, I received all the material from you and am ready to present The Vatican Express at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Publisher Day with the DREs. When the day is over, I will tell you how it went. The new program is great and we will use it this summer!

Deacon Jerry, St. Anselm, Philadelphia, PA

    

Dear Susan,
We received the newest VBS and while I haven't yet had a chance to delve into it... it looks great! I can't wait to give you our latest news about another successful week!
Thanks for all you do!

Karen Manning, St. Thomas by the Sea, Orange Beach, AL

    

Reviewed it yesterday and it is fabulous! I am always excited about VBS week as a DRE it rejuvenates me for the next year. But this one is special and I am so excited to present it to our children and families. Thank you for giving us solid Catholic VBS opportunities.

Marlene Rink, DRE, Annunciation Catholic Parish, Havelock, NC 28532

     

Dear Maryalice:
First of all, I love this Vatican Express program! I feel so at home with it. It is perfect for Catholic children.
Thank you for your time, and for doing such a wonderful job with this program! I look forward to seeing the excitement and joy in our children as they experience this in the summer!

In Jesus and Mary, Christine Freas, Elementary Faith Formation Coordinator, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Cumming, GA 30041

   

Dear Susan--Got it.
Looks wonderful!

In Christ, Lorie Dean, DRE, St. John the Evangelist, Plaquemine, LA

   

Dear Susan,
I forgot to let you know about Last Summer- Assorted Saints and Virtues—We couldn’t believe it but people said it was even better than last year’s program! I thought that we could never do better than Parade Around the Our Father!

The kids all loved the saints. The lessons were wonderful and the activities too. We had a different adult each day act out a certain saint and they did a beautiful job. They told their stories during snack time, while the kids ate. All the Crafts were a hit! We simplified some- Martin's mouse magnets for everyone! Decorations included huge posters of all the saints and the theological virtues of the program. Also, ladies of the parish mad gorgeous 48' X 36' Colorful burlap and felt banners-one saint on each-with their names below-so pretty! These hung in our chapel, where we gathered each morning for morning ceremonies. We had all the background of the church sanctuary hung with sky blue paper and fluffy clouds—like Heaven- and we had banners of the three theological virtues hung in the clouds. We sang "Queen of Peace" together and we prayed a decade of the rosary every morning just after singing this. Our Lady of Guadalupe (a teen all dressed up) lead us each morning). We all memorized the main scripture "You shall love the Lord your God with all your ….and we had motions for this scripture..the skits were awesome!! Better than ever! We had several charities going all week. The children filled their personal shoeboxes full of little gifts and hygiene items for girls and boys their ages. On Friday, the kids wrapped the boxes in bulletin board paper-nice and strong and colorful- and cute religious put stickers all over these. Then, we labeled them girl or boy with age level of toys and laid them under a giving tree which was center stage for the closing ceremony..a Christmas tree-decorated with paper saint dolls the kids made. Finally, we brought these boxes to local charities for children. Besides this, we had a St. Brigid’s pantry(-shopping carts set up at carpool-)so the parents could drop off canned goods and such as they dropped off the children. We labeled our areas Kateri’s Café (food) St. Nick's Novelties(crafts) St. Martin’s Medics (nurses station), Diego's Drive-thru (carpool area) Brigid's Brigades (our high-school play actors who did the skits) and others…
Our classes each had special names—


Loving lambs,
Faithful friars
Hopeful halos
And so on..


Thanks for a beautiful program!
    

I just finished two exciting weeks of Vacation Bible School using your program, "Assorted Saints and the Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love." The kids loved it; the volunteers had a wonderful time; the parents gave us nothing but positive feedback. The best part is the children learned about their Faith while having a lot of fun. One five year old could name all three virtues and explain that they were gifts from God that we received at our Baptism. The kids made connections among the five stories. They easily memorized their Bibles verses as did the volunteers. Everyone enjoyed the songs: we sang them during crafts. Their favorite craft was the Eye of God and they loved the mouse magnets. Their tilmas and maracas were very creative and we took lots of photos. Next year we'll use Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity. Thank you for your wonderful Catholic product.

Mary Rusek, Coordinator of Religious Education, St. Cornelius, Chadds Ford, PA


"This was my first experience running a VBS - what a lot of work!! But your program made it easy. I appreciated your comprehensive program where everything carried on the theme of the day. The kids loved the program; they had fun and learned a lot, too. Our Religious program is dedicated to authentic Catholic teaching, and I appreciated that you sought Church approval of your program. Also, kids don't seem to be getting much in the way of Catholic culture at home, so I loved the idea of bringing to life the virtues through the saints' examples. Your program was thorough and allowed us to structure our VBS according to our specific needs. Thank you for a great program.

Church Staff Person, St. Jude Religious Education


Thanks for an awesome Program. The main thing that I like is that it is a Catholic program. I have tried the other programs from other publishers - even though there is a Catholic companion - they are all the same - they use the same Bible stories. There is nothing exciting about them. We used St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity last year and I loved it. It was so different from the other programs. Both programs, St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity and Assorted Saints and the Virtues have been a breath of fresh air. They are so different from the others - I love them.

I like the music - it is awesome! The children enjoy making the crafts. The 4 and 5 year olds love the mouse mask - we had many little mice running around. I took the pictures on the Take Home Pages and enlarged them. I gave them out to the 4 and 5 year olds to color as they arrived. It gave them something to do as they waited for the others to come. They all like to tell me what they thought the story would be about that day from the pictures they were coloring. They also took the page home and it gave them a reminder of what the story was about. I also liked the reproducible pages - that I only had to place ONE order! Thank you for the simply awesome programs. I am excited to see next years! "

Karen Evers, Faith Formation Coordinator, Immaculate Conception


Oh my goodness!!! One more day of VBS and then we are done!!!! We have 123 children this year and they are loving the program! We are also doing the change thing again and as of today we have raised $800.00. But the great part is, we are also collecting gift cards for the Paul Stefan Home for Unwed Mothers and we have over $500 in gift cards!!!! The gift cards we sold also benefit our school, so we gave to our school as well! One week and 3 different organizations we donated too!

Oh!!! The milk shakes for St. Nick were a HIT today!!!!! As were the reindeer sandwiches! The kids loved them all. They were screaming when they came out into the hallway and saw that their shoes were filled with candy!!!

We have also taken ALL 123 children to Mass each day with our 30 Teenage volunteers getting confirmation hours!!! I am beat, but we have been making you a CD each day with ALL the photos. I hope you and your family will enjoy them!! I really hope our paths cross in person one day! God Bless you and your family!!!

Allison M Gleich, Rel. Ed. Teacher, VBS Coordinator, St. Patrick Church


First of all your program is awesome. The kids really enjoy the songs and art projects as well as the wonderful book and materials. This is the second year that we are using your programs and you have us hooked.

My question is: Are you going to be writing a new program for next year? If you are, can you give me an idea if you where the next year will be headed?

Thanks, God Bless, Becka Nubson, Blessed Sacrament


We had a very successful VBS using St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity this past July! I have been asked to order your other VBS program, Assorted Saints and Virtues for this coming summer. We want to order now so we can begin planning while many things are still fresh in our minds.

The music and skits were a highlight for us, and the crafts were much more kid and leader friendly than some other things we've done in the past. One thought may be to add in an extra craft or two in case the kids finish something quickly... this happens from time to time. The crafts really tied in nicely with the theme of the day as well. Nicely done! We liked the service project, and just modified it to support our Dominican Poor Boys, studying to become priests. The service project for Saints and Virtues sounds awesome! These really help the kids to carry what they learn from VBS to others. God bless, Karen

Karen Gerrity, St. Patrick Church


Just wanted you to know we finished our camp yesterday. Had a great response from all; people have already signed up for next summer. Will be sending you a CD with pictures and also some hints that we found helpful. Hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for all you do! Blessings on your day!

Janet Lucy, Office of Faith Formation, Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church


Are you going to have a new vacation bible school program for next year? This year we used your Assorted Saints VBS and loved it.

Lynn Stadtmuller, Transfiguration Catholic Church


We just completed our second summer of Growing with the Saints. The children loved learning about the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love through these five wonderful and diverse saints, three of whom will be depicted in our new church that we will begin building in the spring of next year. Many families commented that it was our best VBS ever! I am sure you have already begun preparations for VBS 2008 and can’t wait to see what program you have for us to use. Being St. Francis of Assisi, it would be wonderful if one summer you could have a program that focused on St. Francis and other saints that expressed Franciscan spirituality and its elements of service, poverty and prayer, such as St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clare of Assisi and St. Bonaventure. Just an idea! Again, thank you so much for your wonderful program. Yours in Christ,

Diana E. Elwell, Director of Children's Ministry, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church


I just came back from a deanery meeting. 3 of the parishes used your program and we all thought it to be wonderful.

Lynn Bruder, Holy Family Catholic Church


Friday night was the last night of a VERY successful VBS program. Congratulations to all of you at Growing with the Saints. We had to modify it a bit to meet our particular needs but by and far went with your suggestions and program. After we take a breather, we will compile a few notes that we have to share with you. Again, what a great way to teach our faith.

Mickey Caruso, Ministries Coordinator, St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church


Our Vacation Bible School Program was reviewed by Lisa M. Hendey on her website:

catholicmom.com

Following is an excerpt from her review: . . .

"Program materials include a wide-ranging program overview outlining the five stage curriculum, which is designed for students of all ages from preschool through grade six. The comprehensive Coordinator’s guide is designed to help at every stage of the process, from the months prior to the VBS schedule to a complete post-program evaluation. Helpful forms as well as eye-catching reproducible clip art are included.

The meat of the VBS, the curriculum itself, is both trustworthy and informative in its teaching. I enjoyed the emphasis on teaching children not only the concepts of prayer and the Holy Trinity, but also on translating these teachings into our constant call to be Missionaries of the Word in our world. Relevant bible verses, activities, crafts, and even a “green themed” list of snack and beverage ideas are outlined in great detail, ensuring a high quality and fun VBS experience." . . .

- Lisa Hendey, Writer, Webmaster, Wife, Mom

Read full review . . . http://www.catholicmom.com/brvbs.htm


“I cannot begin to tell you have absolutely excited I am with your Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity VBS. I took a vacation day two weeks ago and sat and read through the entire program. By the time I was finished, I was bubbling over with joy (the Holy Spirit at work).

I want to thank you for forwarding the additional games/activities suggestions from other DRE's. Will let you know what we come up with. GREAT job! Thanks for your help, Susan.”

- Mary Lou McNamee, Religious Education Office, St. Philip Parish - Crafton


“Hi Susan!!!!! We just got done with our last day of VBS. Just waiting for the closing ceremony tonight! The week was just soooo awesome, so blessed by the Holy Trinity. After it was over all of the adult volunteers met in the back classroom for a prayer, and quick wrap up. I led a prayer of thanks and praise to the Holy Trinity and then the Holy Spirit led me to invite all to say a "Glory Be" to praise the Holy Trinity. When all started to pray I had the chills going down my arms. It was soooo cool. I can go on and on and on.....

Fr. Liam Leahy, . . . our pastor, said, "People are STILL talking about vacation bible school!"

- Jennie Lane, St. Mark's, Oro Valley


“Many thanks! We just completed our VBS today at St. Anthony/St. Elizabeth parish in King George, Va. . . . I just had to jot you a quick note to let you know how amazingly great everything went this week for our program. The parents were so impressed with the solid Catholic faith we were teaching and the crafts that back up the lessons so coherently.

The opening skit was fantastic -- our teens were such professionals -- excellently written and easy to stage.

At our closing ceremony today, the kids were terrific -- everyone especially enjoyed the little ones in their "piggy masks" (as they called them all week) reciting "Pork Chops and Bacon!"

Our field day was great fun . . .
Another great aspect was having the crafts, songs, games, all written out instead of in our heads as in years past. This made it so easy for our 17 teen helpers to pick up the instructions and provide help. They made bishop's mitres, too -- it was a site to behold -- kids ranging from four to eighteen all in their decorated, very authentic-looking mitres.

I could go on and on, but just know that we were thrilled with your truly Catholic VBS program -- our homeschool group in the parish is ready to buy your next VBS edition to do as part of their monthly meetings.

One last note . . . one of our older, veteran attendees told me today that in summers past, by Thursday of VBS week she is usually bored and ready to have it be over; this year, she was sad to see it end!

God bless you and your staff -- please pass along our thanks and congratulations on a job well done -- we can't wait to "grow with the saints" again!”

-  Tracy Sivak, VBS Coordinator, St. Anthony-St. Elizabeth King George, Colonial Beach, VA


“I just wanted to let you know that the children had a great time with the St. Patrick VBS program. They enjoyed the crafts, the snacks, story telling (our principal made a great story telling pirate),singing and gestures.

Personally as Coordinator of Religious Education, I really liked your program. It taught the children about a real live saint and how St. Patrick taught the Holy Trinity. Last year was our first year having a VBS and it was on Jesus in the Holy Land and when I found out about a Catholic VBS in my search on the internet, I was excited. Teaching our children about our faith, Traditions and customs is important. Thanks so much for your hard work in helping to teach children about our Catholic faith.”

- Eugenia Martinez, Coord. of Rel. Ed., Sacred Heart Parish, Brawley, CA


“Wow! All I can say is Wow! There are no words to describe how amazing our VBS program was this year! As a VBS Director, it was incredible to see children of all ages coming together to learn more about our faith while having a great time. As a parent, it was unimaginable how much my children were inspired and are still talking about it and dancing to the CD!

I want to share a story on how it really hit home. My daughter, Emma (age 4), is shy and a “hip hugger” when I’d drop her off with her group. I watched her have fun, but had no idea she was actually listening until she was talking to her grandma (GG):

GG: What did you do today?
Emma:
I went to VBS and learned about the Holy Spirit – do you know where the Holy Spirit is?
GG:
I’m not sure (pretending), where is it?
Emma:
It’s inside me and you!
GG:
Wow!
Emma: Do you know when you got the Holy Spirit?
GG:
Um, please tell me.
Emma:
At our baptism!

I was so proud!!! God Bless and we’re looking forward to next year!”

- Cheryl Carosone, VBS Director


“EVERYONE from kids to parents to volunteers LOVED the VBS program. So much so that we already have volunteers on board for next year. You should "hear" what our music teacher did with the songs...it was awesome! The kids got into it so much. They sang and sang and sang all week. I understand some are still singing the tunes. At mid-week some of the kids wanted the day to be longer and by end of week they wanted VBS to be longer.... some even said they wanted a 4 week VBS! During the same week we held our VBS some of our kids also attended another VBS program in the evening at another local church. Their mom reported to me that they didn't like it and wanted to stay at ours.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for a fantastic CATHOLIC VBS from all of our little Saints!”

- Christine Boucher, St Mary, Groveport, OH


“Dear Susan, Hello! This is a LONG overdue email to you regarding our fabulous Vacation Bible School we had this summer. . . . I wanted to email you and THANK you for a great program.

. . . I called you some time last year and we spoke about why I should choose your program over the other one I really wanted. . . . after speaking with you AT LENGTH, our RE office purchased it and it was the best investment we have made for VBS!!! I ran our VBS last year with my very good friend Lena and we wrote and organized the entire thing. It was wonderful having it all spelled out for us this year. We had 99 children in 2005 and this year we had 136 children!!!!! . . . I loved how each group had their own section to follow but yet each grade was on the same page lesson wise. . . . There was NEVER a child bored and everyone was eager to come the next day.

The snack ideas were out of this world!!!! Many children never saw green Rice Krispy treats before and our kitchen staff became pros at melting chocolate for the pretzels!

We have never had a closing ceremony and were very nervous about doing it, but God provided and it was great! . . . I am still amazed at how wonderful it was.

. . . I thank you Susan, for taking the time to speak with me personally. If it was not for you, I know our VBS would not have been as successful as it was. I cannot wait to begin planning for next year already.

Please contact me for any referrals!!!!
It is a wonderful program for every Catholic Church to be using! The children had so much fun, they did not even realize how much they learned!! Another plus, we attend St. Patrick Church so even I learned more about St. Patrick then I knew before!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

- Allison M. Gleich


We piloted this program at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church in Columbia, SC.
"This was a great program! The crafts and activities were age appropriate. It was refreshing to work with a VBS program that incorporated a saint, and gives another opportunity to teach our children about the early followers of Christ."

 - Donna Tomasini, Director of Religious Education


Read comments from a few of our satisfied customers:
Susan, I've appreciated our recent communications very much and am so grateful that you "happened" across my desk through your phone call promoting your wonderful product

. . . We have such precious little time really even in a five-day program to touch hearts for Christ and open minds to the treasure of our Catholic Faith -- it is absolutely vital that the materials we use be solid in our Catholic teaching and true to our Catholic Tradition. The material we choose to use IS important -- thank you and thanks to every single person who is a part of your ministry for your commitment to developing TOTALLY Catholic summer programming materials. If only we who work in catechetic would "demand" the tools we need and not settle for second best!

. . . I couldn't wait until the summer to use the materials -- we are putting together a St. Patrick Day after-school event for our parish children in grades 1-3 and will be using the materials you provided. I intend to hold periodic "St. Patrick Adventure Days" using your materials. They are excellent!

. . . I certainly will support a totally Catholic program in the future; especially one that is as solid in content, as delightful in approach, and as thorough and attentive to the details as what you are producing.

. . . Again, again, again, may the Holy Spirit guide you and inspire you in your work.

 - Cindy Fisher, DRE - St. Patrick Parish - Lodi WI


Following are some comments about Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity VBS Program from our home base in Indiana:
"I have found something very helpful from them for summer VBS program; TRULY Catholic!"

- Sister Lois Ann Meyer, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Lafayette, Lafayette, IN


"I was a skeptic concerning VBS programs. This program is very exciting; quality crafts and music. There is no need to be concerned; quality product!"

- Pam Peroutky, Assistant Superintendent, Pastoral Office for Catholic Schools, Diocese of Lafayette, Lafayette, IN


We will be featured in the March issue of Faith and Family Magazine just in time for Easter, as it was Saint Patrick who celebrated the First Easter in Ireland. The Senior Editor loved our material and sent it to Dr. Meredith Gould for evaluation:

" Your materials were forwarded to me by Elizabeth Douglas at Faith and Family Magazine after she and I had a conversation about the agony and ecstasy of publishing. Your stuff is fantastic!!! If you check out either of my websites www.meredithgould.com or www.plowsharespublishing.com, you’ll see that I’ve been writing and editing for quite a while.

I’ve seen a LOT of work and rarely have I encountered anything with so such a terrific mix of creativity and professionalism. Your content is great and your presentation is simply delightful. You probably don't need Plowshares Publishing to make it any better . . .Great work . . . Really really totally great. God bless you and your work!"

-Meredith Gould, PhD

 

 

 
     
    
 

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