Congress Exhibitor Offers Catechetical Tool for Parents

Biblical Diorama Makes Faith Interactive for Children

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By Junno Arocho

DUBLIN, Ireland, JUNE 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Walking around the Royal Dublin Society, site of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), people can find an array of seminars, addresses, and liturgies that aid in helping participants develop a deeper appreciation for the Church and the sacrament of the Eucharist. The congress also has an exhibition hall, where hundreds of people from around Ireland and the world have on display products for use in the liturgy and resource information on missions across the globe.

At the center of the exhibition hall, Gerry Malone explains his product to a crowd gathered around. The 52-year-old native Irishman, along with his wife Ann, his children, including his daughter Sinead and her husband Sebastian Kraszkiewicz, and business partner Paul Barnes, created an arts and crafts diorama for children called the Jesse Box. "It's a way to help parents to tell the Bible stories where the children become actively involved creating the story itself," he said. "What we're trying to do is encourage family liturgy, where the parents will read a piece of Scripture." Malone and Kraszkiewicz sat down with ZENIT to discuss their product and why they chose the IEC as main venue to launch it.

Malone explained that he, Barnes and Kraszkiewicz saw the importance of using sacred Scripture to pass faith to their children. Originally, Barnes wanted to create a Nativity crèche that would aesthetically appeal to children while explaining the story of Christmas. The idea, then developed into telling the story in different stages, and ultimately led to telling other stories from the Bible. "We prayed a lot and have been working on this for two and a half years," he explained. "The three of us belong to a group in our parish called the Neocatechumenal Way, and over the years, in this community, we have received many, many riches along with an understanding of the Church and what it gives to everyone. The Neocatechumenal Way has brought us to the Church to discover this. And we've seen over these years that trying to pass faith to our children in this society, in this secular society, is very difficult."

When asked why they chose to launch their product at the IEC, Kraszkiewicz said he felt that participants in the congress are looking toward the new evangelization and searching for tools that explain the faith, while helping in the renewal of the Church. "The renewal of our Church depends on the youth that come to our church. And this renewal can't come if the youth lack faith," he said. "This is one of the reasons why the Jesse Box came to be: We wanted to help parents pass the faith to their children. If you pass the faith to children in their families, no one can take it away from them, the experience will stay with them all their lives."

"This is why a Eucharistic Congress is an ideal place," he continued, "because renewal of the church depends on passing the faith to the children. If this doesn't happen, a link will be missing."

People at the IEC have responded positively to the diorama. During the congress, members of the Neocatechumenal Way, who also help Malone as exhibitors, perform a play that explains how one can use the Jesse Box in the context of a family liturgy. "What we do is the origins of the Eucharist through the Scripture, beginning with the Exodus on the night of the Passover. And the participants of the congress are very familiar with this story and are amazed at how we use it to explain the roots of our Eucharist through the Passover of the Hebrews."

Regarding the importance of the home liturgy, Malone explained the need that he saw in his own family of passing faith to his children. "I used to think other things were important like making money, becoming successful, all seemed important but they pass away quickly. But what doesn't pass away is the love of Christ. And what I want to pass to my children is that Christ exists, that he's overcome death and that he wants them to share in this," he said.

Faith, he continued, "is a bedrock for them. They'll see many things in their lives; problems that they'll face, in work, in their marriage, etc. Whatever it is they will face, they will have this rock that they can always return to."

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On the Net:

More information: www.thejessebox.com