A Holy Childhood Animator can be introduced as an exemplary person full grown with spirituality, a virtuous second Parent, a witness bearer of Jesus Christ, protector of the vocation, provider of the spiritual leadership and shepherding of the Holy Childhood children through the Pontifical Mission Societies for fulfilling the activities of the Holy Childhood Society.
Especially they lead the children in different backgrounds of the dioceses and live in different social backgrounds themselves and are capable of holding responsibilities (after sitting the General Certificate of Education / Ordinary level exam) they are eligible to take part in a 1st Training Seminar, upon receiving experience of six months service to the Holy Childhood Society of the Parish after which on the authorization of the Parish Priests as well as the PMS Diocesan Director an Animator becomes eligible to take part at a special 2nd Training Seminar which is organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies, National Office, Sri Lanka. They will thereafter, act to work with collaboration with other Animators of the Parish cordially and gain the blessing to engage in Holy Childhood activities in launching services on the guidance of the Priests and be a replica of Jesus Christ.
Truthfully, in order to make alive the Missionary life the request of Jesus Christ being “Go then to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” got to be enkindled within the flesh of an Animator. It is taught at a 2nd Training Seminar that by meeting Christ, making Him live and by sharing Him with dedication there is an opportunity to enter into a deep Missionary process and make it alive which is the aim of the Seminar.
The National Office organizes such 2nd Training Seminars and in order to nourish the Holy Childhood Children of Sri Lanka – in a year three in the Sinhala medium and two in the Tamil medium. The themes are selected according to the need of the time. Letters are sent to the PMS Diocesan Directors before many months of the date to hold a Seminar in making them aware thereby, encouraging them to make a full participation of Animators for the planned Seminars. These are usually held as a three days residential program. By this it is expected of the Animators to cooperate and obtain best use of the Seminar with dedication by staying in house on the three days. They become eligible to obtain a Permanent Membership Badge at the Seminar. All Animators who have received the 2nd Training and have received Membership Badges are fully active in the Holy Childhood Society of their respective Parishes and are dedicated to take the loving story of Jesus to the children. They also receive the opportunity to be active members of the Animator’s National Committee of the diocese and thus to represent the National Committee and build up inter diocesan cooperation and relationship. They also can help and support the composing of the Yaathra Animator’s Magazine and to engage in communication with the National Office. This is a best place to develop the vocations.
Accordingly, the first 2nd Training Seminar which was launched in the year 2023 is explained as here under;
A 2nd Training and Badge awarding Seminar this time was held on the organization of the National Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies on 10th, 11th & 12th March, 2023 at St. Agustine’s Centre at Galmuruwa, Madampe. As customary, the recitation of the opening prayer and the lighting of the traditional Oil Lamp was done. Rev. Fr. Basil Rohan Fernando, National Director, Pontifical Mission Societies warmly welcomed the participant Animators for the Seminar and explained the purpose of this special 2nd Training and Badge awarding Seminar and about the Pontifical Mission Societies. 49 Animators from the dioceses of Galle, Kurunegala, Rathnapura and the Archdiocese of Colombo participated at this Seminar.
In making the Seminar more meaningful, the Administrator of the Cathedral of Galle – Rev. Fr. Damian Arsakularatne delivered a talk on the theme “The missionary task within the Catholic Apostleship”. Of the details explained by him he highlighted the qualities of the Apostleship are knowledge, training and being sent as per the request of Jesus for vocations “Come follow Me”. Jesus’s call therefore is to swim up river. This means to live according to His words “Love one another and love your enemy.” and expects us to live according to His teachings. Also be sent for the Mission service. The attention of the Animators was drawn to the three dimensional tasks entrusted to St. Peter by Jesus which are explained as Kingly, Priestly and Prophetic. About the many ill wills that are brought by our partners too were discussed at length.
Animators do get the training to hold responsibilities as Teams, the liturgy, cleanliness, time management, food and duties of every aspect and to activate them. The Way of the Cross too was conducted by the Animators this day.
In the meaningful dawn of a new day the PMS Diocesan Director of the diocese of Rathnapura, offered the Holy Eucharist.
National Director of the Family Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Colombo – Rev. Fr. Gihan Gunathilake held a talk on the theme “How to bear fruits of evangelization in the live existence of a responsible missionary Animator?” There he drew the Animator’s attention especially to the three aims of the Holy Childhood Society - Deepening of faith, Living in faith and Sharing of faith. He stressed the importance of going beyond the three ‘S’ dimension of Smart, Sound and Speed and to lead your lives by being equipped with the Holy Spirit which leads you to be selected by God for a missionary life by which an Animator is called to make known the loving story of Jesus, to all.
The next talk was held by Accountant – Mr. Suresh Motha and spoke on the theme “A virtuous leadership amidst the challenges we have to face in the present social background”. He questioned the Animators as to what the present challenge of the Society is? What is Leadership? He explained the challenge of management. The Internet is like a sharp knife he said. It can be used for future good as well as for evil. He explained in detail about the truthful Leadership and the management that can be used for a good and the knowhow to do it. He stressed the importance of making plans suiting to you and to witness to Christ within one’s life experiences.
Thereafter, the opportunity for the Animators to participate at the Eucharistic adoration with a true repentance through the sacrament of reconciliation was provided by Rev. Fr. Dimuthu Fonseka, Parish Priest, Pellandeniya Parish and the Director of Youth Apostolate of the diocese of Kurunegala.
The Holy Eucharist to dedicate the Badge recipient Animators was offered by Rev. Fr. Basil Rohan Fernando, National Director, Pontifical Mission Societies who was the main celebrant and was assisted by the participation of the PMS Diocesan Directors of the dioceses of Galle, Rathnapura and the Archdiocese of Colombo as co-celebrants. The participants were well revealed “about the development of the seed of faith within them in order to act closely with God in being adjacent to Him.” Also the Animators were awarded the Badges along with a Holy Bible, a Mission Cross, a Certificate and a Scapular by the National Director and the PMS Diocesan Directors. By these it is intended to nourish the spiritual life of the Animators by making them experience the power of the word of God, personally to train to use the Holy Bible daily and to make the Animators through the sacrament of reconciliation for a conversion of life and the 2nd Training Seminar provides the necessary guidance for the development of an Animator’s life. It on the whole provides the guidance to be nourished and to be converted to a spiritual life. As Badge recipient Animator can therefore be introduced as a farmer who grows in children the training of Mission and faith.
Before the end of the Seminar and evaluation was made to ascertain the success of it and a chance was granted to forward new suggestions. The Animators did say that an Animator’ life truly converts to a missionary life and shared their experiences on this matter. The Badge recipient Animators did stand for a group photograph with the Rev. Priests. They even thanked the diocesan Shepherds for the support provided by understanding the responsibilities entrusted to them. Also a special thanks was made for organizing the 2nd Training and Permanent Membership Badge awarding Seminar without any shortcomings of anything.
Rev. Fr. Basil Rohan Fernando,
Pontifical Mission Societies.