Dear Friends of the Atrium,
We have a presentation in Level II called the “Synthesis of the Infancy Narratives.” This is a very formal name for a very beautiful experience for the children that conveys a very powerful message. In this presentation, all of the materials for each ‘moment' of the Infancy of Christ - The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation in the Temple - are laid out in a long line on the floor. In front of each moment, is a tea light. As this is a synthesis, the children have all received the presentations of each of these moments individually. So what really stands out this time is the movement of the light.
The first candle is lit while reading the scripture for the Annunciation: an angel comes to Mary, she receives the Light, heaven touches earth. The second candle is lit with the light from the first, when Mary visits Elizabeth where the Light spreads from the little town of Nazareth, from a poor, young girl to another household in another town. Then the third candle, the moment of the Nativity where Jesus comes into the world, tiny and humble but still bright and mighty, fulfilling ancient prophecies. Then the fourth candle, where lowly, dirty shepherds are the first to receive the Light with an invitation to the throne of their Savior. The fifth candle is lit in front of the temple, where Simeon and Anna encounter the Light promised to God’s Chosen People. The sixth candle receives the flame from all of the previous candles and is set in front of the Magi, who came from the ends of the earth, following one light but being completely overcome by the One True Light.
In the silence that follows this lengthy and deep presentation, you notice that the room is brighter, the light has spread farther than where it started.
And isn’t this exactly the Hope we encounter during this Advent and Christmas season? The hope that the light of Christ could extend to one more corner of the world? To one more corner of our hearts?
Every session in the Joyful Child Atrium is a witness to hope. We see it when a child’s relationship with God is ignited and deepened. We hear it in the stories from parents whose faith has grown because of the faith of their children. We feel it when our community rallies to care for one another in prayer and action.
We don’t want to stifle that hope. We want to bring the Light of Christ to more families - regardless of financial situation, schooling situation, or special needs. We see that potential in our Atrium and we are working towards being a space that is part of a resurgence of faith and community in a weary world that is desperate for an opportunity to rejoice.
We invite you to be a part of that, by your donations and your prayers. Our Atrium functions on the back of many volunteers who are passionate about setting children before Christ and allowing him to work in their lives. Each year those tasks grow as our rosters grow and our space seems to shrink. It is a wonderful problem to have.
God bless you during this season and may Christ’s Light illuminate and ignite your heart.
Dear Friends of the Joyful Child Atrium,
“The Lord is my Shepherd…”
This psalm is heard from day one in the Atrium. It is a psalm frequently read
and said and contemplated. As children go through the Atrium they are
invited to encounter this Shepherd in prayer and parable. We aspire to
create a space where they can experience the peace of Christ.
“He restores my soul…”
But of course, the question remains whether or not these works and
presentations and discussions are being internalized. Are the children
actually coming to know Jesus in a deeper way? Is this a place for them to
grow in their faith? Here is what they recently told us:
“I feel satisfied here.”
“Atrium feels like home…”
“I was thinking about how happy I feel when I come to the Atrium. All of
my favorite people are here and I get to be with Jesus.”
“For you are with me…”
Each year we become more and more convicted of the deep work the Spirit
is doing in the Atrium, in spite of any human failings we bring to the table.
This year was no different. We are then compelled to give God the glory and
celebrate our 10 years with a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. John the Apostle
in Leesburg on June 17 th at 6:30pm. We would love if you could be there
with us. We will have a small reception with beverages and cupcakes - bring
a blanket and join us for fellowship on the lawn outside the church. Please
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be sure to have
cupcakes for you and your family!
We ask for your continued prayers and support for The Joyful Child Atrium
We invite you to take time out of your day to meditate on Psalm 23 with this
lovely card from artist Monica Welch of DovetailInk.
Let him lead you. Seek his peace. Find rest and abundance in him.
In Christ, the Good Shepherd,
Board Members for the Joyful Child Atrium
The Joyful Child Atrium utilizes the teachings of the Catechesis
of the Good Shepherd catechetics program and is a 501(3)c non-
profit. Any donations made to the Atrium are tax-deductible.
Dear Friends of The Joyful Child Atrium,
We are so grateful for your support throughout these 10 years.
You have given us your time. You have spent time on your knees in prayer.
You have told others about the work we do. You have volunteered countless
You have given us your talent. You have filled specific needs in the Atrium by
teaching and building and organizing.
You have given us your treasure. You have donated and helped to pay our
lease. Your contributions allow us to fix and replenish materials. You have
helped our unpaid teachers afford training.
As we ask for your continued support, we would like you to take a moment
with the enclosed card and consider this reading from the Gospel according
+When they came to the Caperna-um, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went
up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And
when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think,
Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their
sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then
the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go the sea and cast a
hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you
will find a shekel: take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” + Mt
What an obscure passage! I’ll admit the first time I saw this in my daily
readings I went to my husband and said, “Have you ever heard this story
before?” He admitted it was one he was not familiar with. I honestly don’t
think I grasped some of it’s meaning until I came across Elizabeth Zelasko’s
portrayal in this piece of art that we share with you in this letter. It is a
reminder that God provides exactly what we need. This “shekel” would have
provided the exact amount to pay the tax for Jesus and Peter. When God
provides what we need, he is not being stingy, he is being specific and
purposeful, and reminding us of our reliance on Him.
Another point of interest is the passage that comes immediately after this:
+At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of
them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in
my name receives me…”+ Mt 18:1-5
This year, our Atrium has entered its 10th year. This represents 10 years of
aspiring to bring the Catholic faith to children just as Christ asks us in this
reading from Matthew. We have invited children as young as three years old all the way up to our parents and catechists to sit at His feet and listen to His
Word, to encounter His Bride, the Church, in a beautiful and tangible way.
It goes without saying that the joy of seeing our 10th year has been
overshadowed by heartache. Last year brought hardships to many of our
families and friends and neighbors. As a group and individually we have
striven to support those affected by Covid-19 in our prayers and through our
In the midst of this God is still moving and working. And we at the Atrium,
who are privileged to witness all its beauty, still feel the tug to grow.
We have hope for a future where we have space and resources to do more.
Where we bring more children with special needs to an encounter with
Christ. Where public school families have more options than weeknight CCD,
sitting in a classroom after being in a classroom all day. Where adults can
deepen their faith through retreats and fellowship. Recently, a priest said,
“Faith does not add content but reveals a different dimension. The gift of
faith is not our pursuit of study but a disclosure by God.” This is what we
strive for in the Atrium. It is merely a means of encounter and disclosure.
Maybe 2020 was severely unkind to you and your family: our sincerest
condolences. Please use the prayer on the back of this card to place your
petitions and anxieties on God and know that our prayers are with you.
Never hesitate to reach out and lean on the incredible community that has
been built around the Atrium. There will always be hands and hearts ready
to give and help.
But we also ask your intercession for our Joyful Child Atrium when you pray
this litany. We know God has wonderful plans in store – perfect and exact
plans to serve and grow His Kingdom – and we can do nothing apart from
Him. We will be using the coming months to plan and develop a future for
the Atrium, including a new and permanent home for our ministry and
Thank you again for your prayers and support. God bless you during this
Holy Week and throughout the Easter season.
The Board Members for the Joyful Child Atrium
The Joyful Child Atrium utilizes the teachings of the Catechesis of the
Good Shepherd catechetic program and is a 501(3)c non-profit. Any
donations made to the Atrium are tax-deductible.
Registration is up and running for the upcoming year. Please visit the "Atrium" tab for information on classes and how to register.
Registration will be up and running at the end of February for the upcoming school year.
Good Day to You!
We are well on our way to the opening day of classes. You will be receiving a family packet in the mail later this week with all the information you need. For now, you can find the calendar under the "more" tab of this website. Thank you to everyone for getting those registrations completed. I know that all the Catechists are looking forward to getting back in the atrium with your children.
The date for the family picnic at Hamilton Park is October 2nd from 4 to 7. Please save the date! If you haven't received an evite to that, please let us know.
Have a wonderful day,
Registration for the upcoming school year will be posted by March 14th. We are upgrading our system so it can be done online.
It's been a very snowy winter! We hope you've all been enjoying your days off. While you were relaxing by the fire and sipping cocoa, we have been on a beautification program in level I. Lots of painting, decorating, and finishing the new space are now completed. We hope you like it!