| By Zulma Diaz-Rosa | Guest Columnist

Mother Mary brings parishes together in faith

Every summer St. Louis Parish in Waco offers Vacation Bible School (VBS) to our parish, our school and the community of Waco. Every year we pray and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose the theme we feel called to present. This year from the very start, we felt called to share Mary with our campers. But we asked ourselves, what should we share?

There is so much to learn about our Blessed Mother, so we decided to take it to prayer. During Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we took extra time to ask Mary what she would prefer we share with her little children about her life. What would be the one thing that would make a difference in not only the lives of our campers, but also their parents? Finally, we had our answer, we needed to share Mary’s yes that changed the world. “Mary’s Fiat” became our theme for our 2023 VBS.

Because we prepare our own curriculum, this was challenging; however, with the intercessional help of Mary, we put together our lessons. Our group of volunteers and our discipleship group made sure decorations were up, classrooms were ready, and even our school cafeteria manager got involved by making sure we ate every day. Our campers had the opportunity to listen to stories about Mary, sing songs to Mary and make their own rosaries, and everyone made a tilma (like the cloak San Juan Diego received that featured an image of Our Lady), which we wore on our last day.

We wanted to offer our campers an experience to remember. We wanted to go on a field trip, but where would we go? With 50 campers and volunteers, this was also a challenge. On the last day of VBS, the campers and volunteers were to consecrate themselves to Our Lady of the Brown Scapular, so we needed a special place where Mary’s presence was obvious.

We had a bus, a bus driver, scapulars, tilmas, consent forms, but no place to go. Once again, we turned to Mary and asked for her help.

Our ever-faithful Blessed Mother led us to St. Martin Parish in Tours, which is about 20 miles from St. Louis. A message was sent, and a visit was arranged.

St. Martin Parish went out of their way to welcome us! The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children was the perfect place for our Mother Mary to take us on that final day of VBS. What a beautiful gift it was to honor her through our consecration to the Brown Scapular.

We are so grateful for an amazing day and this beautiful example of how communities come together for the sake of the kingdom. We, the volunteers, the parents, and our campers, felt so honored to be welcomed with such great love and warmth. Our Lady was definitely present along with her Son and the Holy Spirit. On that day two communities joined together in celebration and thanksgiving for the love and unity we share through our faith.

Zulma Diaz-Rosa is the director of religious education at St. Louis Parish in Waco.