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Catholic Vacation Bible School Exceeds Expectations


Holy Family
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
United States

More Info

For more information, email Vicki Gable.

A parish uses its members' gifts and talents to put on a successful "Kids for Jesus" Catholic Vacation Bible School.

"This is the best thing we have done this summer! When I told my 3 boys they were going to attend VBS, all I heard was complaining. After the first day, they couldn't wait to go back again!" Laurie Harper - Parishioner

The need it meets

Our parish is in the Bible Belt, where Protestant churches offer dynamic VBS programs that entice our children and families away from our Church. A totally Catholic Vacation Bible School gave us a much needed alternative. It was user-friendly and fun, focused on teaching participants about their Catholic faith, virtue, and the saints, and was true to the Magisterium. We didn't have to labor over trying to create a program from scratch.

Where it came from

Vicki Gable, DRE of Holy Family Catholic Church, wanted a Catholic Vacation Bible School (CVBS). During the search process, she discovered the K4J (Kids for Jesus) VBS (

How it works

The CVBS lasts for a week and takes place in the mornings. The activities are broken into small group "station" activities and large group assemblies.

  • Small Groups are divided by age level (from 3 years to 8th grade).
  • Kids in grades 5-8 are "Captains". They meet at "Expedition Headquarters" to arrange special performances at "Exploration Hall" and to take a leadership role in various aspects of the program, based on their interests.
  • In the daily large group assembly kids learn the day's Gospel passage and focus-point, sing K4J Songs, watch a skit about the day's saint and receive instruction on the daily "mission" project.
  • Small groups rotate through 5 exciting stations: 1)Missionaries in Motion - kids learn to put their faith into action; 2)Get Moving - indoor and outdoor games and fun; 3)Cool Craft - crafts with a mission; 4)Snacks - fun and tasty treats; 5)Celebration Preparation - preparation for the closing day's liturgy, CVBS show and carnival.
  • All participants attend a daily Closing Assembly for wrap-up and closing prayer.
  • As an add on to the program, our parishioners offered a Hospitality Room for parents and grandparents, providing coffee and donuts as well as a Gospel reflections for those who wanted to stay while their children were in the VBS.
  • The DRE was aware of each step in the CVBS process and came each day, providing great support.

The results

Key elements

  • Prayer and support by our pastor was a key success factor. Father is invited to attend one day for a Q&A session with the children.
  • A structured plan was necessary to put all pieces together for the CVBS. The outline of this was provided by K4J.
  • A well-organized and creative parishioner played a key role in putting together a team of teachers and volunteers.
  • K4J has 4 actual VBS programs, allowing for a four year rotation.
  • K4J is comparable in cost to similar Protestant programs. By charging a fee of $10-$15 per child, the CVBS pays for itself. We actually made money for our Religious Education Department.

How to implement it

  • Priest and DRE need to make decision to provide CVBS for the Parish.
  • Select a week for CVBS that will fit well into the parish calender.
  • Priest makes announcements after Masses to help boost enrollment.
  • DRE selects organized parishioner to coordinate CVBS.
  • Order K4J program from
  • CVBS coordinator selects 2-3 teachers/volunteers per class. including the nursery, which is provided for the children (ages 4 and under) of the teachers/volunteers.
  • Promote (announcements at Masses, fliers in bulletins, decorated registration table, early set up - about 4 weeks prior to CVBS).
  • Coordinator has 2 meetings with CVBS staff prior to CVBS, uniting them in the mission and goals of the week.
  • Coordinator and DRE are in continuous communication over details of event and most importantly, to pray.

Father Timothy Fuller is pastor of Holy Family.

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