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.