I've always thought that the prayers of children are especially powerful. With that in mind, when I'm giving parish missions, I always make myself available to talk to the grade school children about the Apostleship of Prayer. I usually begin my presentation by asking them, "Who do you pray for?" The most common responses are for sick family members, deceased grandparents, a friend, our soldiers, and pets. I ask them if they would pray for something that the Pope asked them to pray for and, of course, they all raise their hands and give a resounding "yes!" And then I ask the question that brings silence: "Did you know that every month the Pope has two special intentions that he wants you to pray for?" Unfortunately I've yet to meet a child who knows this. The Apostleship of Prayer really has its work cut out for it!
The other day, as I met with the children at St. Paul's Grade School in Danville, IL, I was able to share with them something new. In 2004 we began having a Children's Page on our web site. We tried to explain the Holy Father's intentions to children. Starting this month, with the help of Stephanie our administrative assistant and her sister Stacey, who recently provided the illustrations for our new Sacred Heart children's booklet, we now have a much more engaging "kids' page." Each month there will be simple reflections to help children understand the Holy Father's General and Mission Intentions and questions for them to think and pray about. And then there comes the "fun" part. Each intention has a word search and a coloring page. All of these things are in pdf format and can be downloaded. You can find them here: http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/reflectionsChildren.html
When I projected these images on the screen in the audio visual room, the reaction was immediate and positive: "Cooooool!" Then I showed them the YouTube daily video reflection for September 1, when I reflected on being at the Minnesota State Fair. They enjoyed that and afterwards I heard that one of the things the kids most enjoyed about the presentation was that there was a priest showing them "good stuff" on the Internet and YouTube.
That's what we're trying to do. Like St. Paul, we're trying to bring the message to people of all ages wherever they are.