A little after 3 p.m. on a Thursday, children in grades three through eight begin dashing through the doorway of an old red brick convent behind St. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Mass., having finished their days at nearby public schools. Lugging backpacks and wearing shorts and T-shirts, they have arrived for religious education — although you wouldn’t know it, just by looking at them during the next couple of hours.
The first stop is the lunchroom, where the kids help themselves to hot bagel sandwiches and juice. Then they separate out into six classrooms upstairs for an hour of homework with help from parish volunteers. After that comes an hour of recreation: soccer and other pursuits on St. Mary’s sprawling front lawn, on a summer-like day in October. Not until the third hour will the children take part in what most would recognize as a spiritual activity — a celebration of the Eucharist in the building’s six-pew chapel.
For St. Mary’s pastor, Father Michael Nolan, all of it is religious education.
From Our Sunday Visitor