The Pontifical Association of the Holy Childhood is a dedicated association for the children established in 1843 by Charles de Forbin-Janson, the Bishop of Nancy, as a missionary to help the Chinese that wrote to the Bishop seeking help. The associate aims to fund programs for the underprivileged children communities, specifically in the less developed and developing third world countries by providing spiritual and physical wellbeing for children through prayer and pastoral care. In 1856 it was raised to the rank of a canonical institution by Pope Pius IX and the bishops were instructed to introduce it in their own dioceses as a practice.
Bishop Forbin was a great preacher in France who traveled throughout the country proclaiming the good news. He received letters from China requesting financial help to save the starving and abandoned babies. As he was unaware of the means to raise funds, the Bishop joined hands with Pauline Jaricot, founder of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, to raise funds by beginning a children’s charity. The members of this association are recognized as Missionary Children that pray, donate funds, and get involved with missionary work to help the less privileged in their neighborhood. Today this mission is practiced across 120 countries under the motto of ‘Children helping Children’. These funds are used to help the orphanages, homes for the differently-abled, refugees, and people living in the streets.
Holy Childhood societies are established in every parish across the catholic churches to bring together harmony and unit amongst the children in the form of performing acts that foster teamwork, spiritualism and charity. The importance of setting up such societies in parishes helps the children in a community to get to know each other whilst learning more about God, the Bible and the religion overall. In most of the parishes, these societies are jointly held with Sunday Catechism school as most of the children gather into Sunday school often. Hence, in the Holy Childhood Societies, children are guided to fight their own fears to profoundly proclaim and embrace the good news of the Lord. Moreover, they organize charities to support the underprivileged in their neighborhood. These initiatives deliver a massive pastoral service to the church communities whilst the children learn qualities such as provide love and care for others if they are unknown. Christianity is held firmly on the grounds of faith and compassion where we care for each other, reaching beyond the limits of family, friends and relatives.
On the foregrounds of the activities conducted by the Holy Childhood societies, it could be apprehended able that charities such as spending a day at an orphanage or a home that care for the differently-abled or elderly, offering them the happiness at least for a moment they lost once in their life brings immense joy to them specifically whilst cleansing the hearts of the children involved in that initiative. The beauty of Holy Childhood society is how children learn about God through the means of charitable work, arts and crafts. They get together and share the word from the Bible and the teacher that guides the children reflect upon the word by relating the word to the little and young hearts of the children. Moreover, they are involved in various entertainment and extra curriculum activities such as fundraising projects, talent shows and community projects. These initiatives help children learn basic psychological realms behind the importance of working as a team to reach a specific goal or a target and the true happiness one could enjoy when they share brotherhood when attached to a specific community and work on several projects. Moreover, all these life understanding and good qualities are taught on the ground of spiritual enrichment and nourishment. Children begin to perceive the divine touch behind every human effort. Thereby, at the early stages itself, their lives would revolve around the apostolic guidance so that they learn to seek God at all circumstances and not get deceived by worldly riches and pleasures. Children begin to learn that life is different for each person and that everyone does not have the privilege to live it on a bed of roses but have their own struggles; they began to realize how blessed they have been to able to enjoy a life of considerable comfort and happiness. As they pay a visit to an orphanage, little hearts and minds of the children feel grateful for the gift of parents in their lives as they understand the agony of the children who have not been blessed enough for it.
It is detrimental to teach our little ones from the early stages itself to share and care because the current world lack that quality in greater heights. As they are made aware of the importance of sharing what you have with the needy as they move along in life and reach greater heights, they could initiate greater projects for the betterment of the underprivileged people. As it is believed and understood the foundation set in a child’s mind from toddler years set the path to the perception they possess as they reach teenage and adulthood. Hence, in such context leading them towards a society such as the Holy Childhood allows them to absorb the reality in life in the spectrum of spirituality whilst fostering them to be upright citizens for the world who share with the needy. Growing up in a church community and environment has various benefits for children, as they begin to see, hear and do acts that are pleasant for the eyes of God and thus their thoughts, reflections and imaginations would be built around the charms of the church such as hymns and prayers. Such positivity one receives from their surrounding assist them massively to control their own life protecting themselves from the negativities and temptations of the world. Despite the fact that the recent pandemic had impacted on such congregations as at all when the entire world returned to its new outlook, our little ones could enjoy their childhood in the presence of God.