HORNELL — Faith-formation students gathered with decorated foam cups in hand outside St. Ann Church June 13, ready to complete the craft portion of their evening.
Craft and Prayer night provides kindergarten through sixth-grade parishioners of Our Lady of the Valley Parish — which comprises St. Ann and St. Mary Church in Rexville — with the opportunity to engage with others and learn Scripture in a creative manner. During the June 13 Craft and Prayer night, students created Father’s Day crafts by using crayons, pipe cleaners and tags to write messages of love to adorn white foam cups.
“I enjoy going, because I get to have fun while praying and learning more about my faith,” faith-formation student Angelina Christine LaFrance said of the Craft and Prayer nights. “I wanted to participate in Craft and Prayer to learn more about God. It’s important that I attend to get closer to God.”
The monthly event is hosted by Lisa Brott, director of faith formation for kindergarten through sixth grade at Our Lady of the Valley Parish. The theme of each Craft and Prayer night activity coincides with the faith-formation lesson being taught, she said, noting that this reinforces faith-formation home study, which was introduced during the pandemic. The events also serve as opportunities to gather in person rather than working independently or meeting together online, Brott added.
Brott says there’s a regular bunch of families who attend, and if a student reaches out with a craft she or he had wanted to do but could not attend to participate, she will save them the material from that night to give to the student.
While families were responsible for purchasing the faith-formation workbooks this year, Brott said that, thanks to a parishioner donation, the books will be free next year whether faith formation is in person or once again home study.
Most recently, after seeing the need for Bible awareness among her students, Brott began a Bible-study group, which meets the hour before Craft and Prayer nights. During this time, students have worked to memorize and understand three different prayers as well as books of the Bible and verses from Scripture. The parishioner donation also allowed Brott to purchase a Bible for each faith-formation student, she added.
Students like Angelina have found an interest in learning how to read the Bible. Brott said that while Bible study will not take place on a regular schedule during the summer, she hopes to be able to plan some activities outside the church so she can welcome more students to each event while maintaining a safe environment.