Let The Children Live! is a Christian charity founded by Fr Peter Walters and an important part of the work of Funvini is to look after the spiritual and pastoral needs of its children. Most people in Colombia are Roman Catholics and all the children with whom Funvini works are Catholic too. However, if they were not it would make no difference because the charity is committed to help any child in need, no matter what their religion. However, since almost all Funvini’s 400 children are Catholics they are all offered the opportunity to make their First Communion. At this point some discover that they are not baptised so they are then prepared for baptism as well as First Communion.
The First Communions may take place in the chapel at Casa Walsingham or in the shanty-town where the child lives. Thanks to the generosity of a Colombian benefactor who gives a generous donation to Funvini at this time, Funvini’s staff are able to hire First Communion dresses and suits for the children. This is probably one of the only times in their life when they will be dressed so beautifully.
The day is very special for the children and any family they may have.
They love to have photos taken so that they can look back on them and keep the day alive in their memory.
After the Mass there is a party with a special cake and that ‘compulsory’ drink …………coke!
The chapel is always open and children may go in to pray or just to be quiet whenever they want. There are services on Festivals and other special occasions and sometimes Days of Prayer, such as St Joseph’s Day when all our children visit the chapel to pray for the charity’s future and well-being.
The Angelus is said at 12 noon each day and at this time the children pray for the charity’s benefactors and for any who are ill, in danger, or who have especially asked for their prayers. Sometimes they have problems–spiritual, moral, social–which need the help and advice of a priest. Fr Peter and Fr Enrique ( one of our Colombian Trustees and a psychologist ) are always available for this.
The total well-being of the children– physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual is our concern, and the spiritual and pastoral element plays an important part in this.