by Jara medina, UST 4th Year Student, BEED major in PSED
Last November 21, Lia and I chose to volunteer for the A.R.A.L project for the first time. The project’s objectives were to give Catechism, Math and/or English classes to children in nearby public elementary schools. We decided to join this project in order to gain experience and to broaden our knowledge in the social economy surrounding us so that we can increase our awareness the rising trends and issues.
As first timer volunteer in this program, I didn’t know what to expect; the age group of the children nor their schema on the agenda assigned for the day. But one thing for sure, I was excited to meet the children and get to know the situation more. Upon arriving in Iraya, we were informed that for that day, we were going to prepare the children for their first Holy Communion and specifically, and teach them how to genuflect. I was surprised that a very basic Christian action such as genuflecting was about to be taught and not caught. We were also to read to them the "Pagsisi". Besides, we were also tasked to give each one hygiene kits
Upon arriving in the activity room of Loreto Church, the children started arriving one by one. They all seemed excited that the room was filled with so much energy. There was healthy noise and restlessness among them that was overwhelming. Before the kids went to Confession, we showed the hygiene kits that they were to receive that day. Eagerly, they named the items inside and their purpose. They were taught that it is not only their physical bodies that must be cleansed, but also their spiritual soul as well. While briefing them on their first communion and confession, I felt happy for them as I remember my own first Holy Communion. I was eager for them to have the same beautiful experience I had. It was like having a flashback from a few years ago when I was in Grade 3 like them and was preparing to receive the Holy Eucharist. I was excited, jumping and even praying more and more for I felt a special attachment to the Lord. After the briefing, we brought them inside the church to practice genuflecting. It was nice to see that the children more or less knew how to genuflect although they needed a little help in doing it more properly.
Going back to the center, I felt a lot of emotions coming in all at once. At first there was exhaustion; surprise, then came eagerness and relief. I was so excited for the children to receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. I wanted to share the feeling of my own experience way back when I was in third grade and hopefully, they would feel the same thing or maybe even more during their First Holy Communion.