Preparing Children for Sacraments (DVD Review)

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Used by Permission from Paraclete Press.

Used by Permission from Paraclete Press.

Kids & The Sacraments
DVD available from Paraclete Press.
Running Time, 50 minutes
Copyright 2013

The content in this DVD is particularly good for children of catechetical age going through RCIA or younger elementary school kids experiencing sacramental preparation.  An introductory overview on sacraments given by DVD host Fr. Ken Overbeck, offers a dependable and familiar definition (i.e. sacraments as “outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace…”). The definition is then repeated and reinforced at the start and ending of each sacramental unit drawing attention to the specific outward signs in each sacrament, whether they be the objects used in the ritual, the words, scriptural references, or aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry.

This short “doctrinal element” is then broken down into candid testimonies by various elementary school-aged children, which helps viewers identify with the content. Following this section a guest speaker (i.e. priest, minister, or other religious person) talks in more detail about the sacrament. The segment concludes with a montage and summary from the DVD host.

This DVD is by no means exhaustive, but it a good place to start with a classroom or small group, or individual child. It is well suited for elementary-school-aged children, for parents working with children of this age, and for RCIA preparation with children of catechetical age. It should elicit the start of a good discussion rather than answer all or even some of the most basic questions ordinary children (or adults) might have about these sacraments.

Some memorable and remarkable highlights of the DVD are the experience of watching the Passionist Sisters of Erlanger, Kentucky prepare communion bread to be shipped off to various churches. Fr. Ken’s pedagogical repetition of what a sacrament is and how that translates into each of these sacraments is also praiseworthy. The different pastoral descriptions of the sacraments from other priests and the candid answers from school-aged children offering examples of their understanding of the teachings about the sacraments is also particularly helpful to viewers.

The DVD also comes with a short discussion guide. It can also be purchased as part of a larger sacramental preparation kit or purchased as separate individual sacramental DVDs. The four sacrament version reviewed could have been further enhanced if there was a video example of a confession or the celebration of Confirmation, since these sacraments are often less visible to the wider parish community, or to the children preparing to celebrate these sacraments. Paraclete Press may offer supplementary videos on their site or as part of the larger sacramental preparation kit.

(NOTE: A slightly longer, more in-depth review with additional links is available here.)

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Copyright © 2015 Jay Cuasay
DVD Cover Image Used With Permission by Paraclete Press, 2013.

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About Author

Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on Religion, interfaith relations and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. He currently ministers to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish. He can be reached at [email protected] or at TribePlatypus.com.

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