The children will be treated to a reading of 'Easter Bunny's Amazing Day' and an interactive faith experience.
The Daughters of St. Paul are continuing their annual tradition of reading to children on Holy Saturday in 2021. For years, the Pauline nuns have hosted kids and families for a reading of Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day on the day before Easter. This year, to keep socially distanced, they are moving the event to a virtual format, but that just means more people than ever have the chance to attend.
7th annual event
Sr. Laura Brown of the Daughters of St. Paul told Aleteia that the tradition began in 2014. Author Cathy Gilmore approached the sisters with her newly published Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day (co-written with Carol Benoist), a beautifully illustrated children’s book. Sr. Laura explained:
“[Gilmore] had been to our annual “Birthday Party for Baby Jesus” for kids, and she was hoping that we would like to do something with her new book for Easter. She suggested a prayer experience we could use with the children, along with a story time. The rest is history.”
Sr. Laura described the first year as minimalist in design. The children were read to and then offered a “prayer experience,” in which the kids were directed to place their fears in Jesus’ hands. Children would draw a picture of their fears (storms, the dark, monsters, etc.) and place the image within an egg. They were then invited inside the sisters’ chapel, where they knelt before a statue of Christ holding an egg basket. After the nuns guided the kids through a prayer, they placed the egg in the basket.
The sisters found great success in their first year, as the experience resonated within the kids. One mother even messaged the nuns on social media to thank them, saying:
“Sisters, thank you so much for your Easter event! My son told his father last night, ‘Daddy, you don’t need to come to bed with me. I gave Jesus my fears!‘”
Over the years, the event grew to include more interactive elements. By their most recent in-person event, they had craft and coloring tables; rabbit-themed treats like celery, carrots, and bunny gummies; and a sing-along.
This year’s event will proceed with a few changes that mark a return to the roots of the event. They have no way to distribute the treats, but they will still read to and sing with the kids. Participants will still present their fears before the Lord, but this time to an image of Christ put before them on their screens.
This faith experience is one of the most important parts of the event, according to Sr. Laura. When asked what she hoped kids would take away from it, she said:
“That they will learn to give their fears to Jesus, just as the bunny in the story does. Jesus is always with them and tells them, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am with you.‘”
The event will be held on Holy Saturday, April 3, 2021. Sr. Laura noted that the content is best suited for kids aged 3-8, but she is confident that children of all ages would have fun at this uniquely Catholic Easter event.
The change to a virtual format has forced the sisters to alter aspects of the event, but this makes it more accessible than ever. Whereas in previous years the sisters could only cater to local families, this year anyone can attend from anywhere. Parents can register their children to attend on the Pauline sisters’ website, where they will also receive a free, printable resource book so kids can follow along.
We asked Sr. Laura what else she would recommend for kids to read during Easter time and she was kind enough to suggest quite a few choices. She suggested Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg,Easter Story Bible & Activity Book,Living and Celebrating Our Catholic Customs and Traditions (for parents) and Jesus, Savior of the World.These titles can be found on the Pauline Books & Media website.
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