They Were Moved

By Norman Fulkerson

“You may think you are insignificant in this big world,” I told the wide-eyed fourth graders, “but if you imitate Blessed Jacinta you can do a great good for God.” The openness to the faith expressed by these innocent souls made an already significant day a memorable one for me.

It was October 13, 2005, when my fellow custodian John Costa and I, were asked to give two Fatima talks to students at Saint Merici’s Catholic grade school in Pittsburgh, Penn., and another one later in the evening to their parents.

The next group consisted of students in grades 5 to 8. Save for one inattentive student, the young audience paid attention to the presentation.

Imagine then my shock to find out later that several teachers complained about us mentioning hell to the younger students and showing illustrations of hell to the older students. The teachers accused us of “scaring the children,” to which some quickly added a concern that nightmares would follow.

This naturally led me to expect angry parents for the evening presentation, but I was surprised to find the exact opposite. Among the positive reactions was from a mother whose eighth grader had attended the earlier presentation.

“My daughter got off the bus this afternoon,” she said, “entered the house and said, ‘Mom, you will not believe what they showed us at school today. I am scared to death.’” This mother continued, “My daughter has been attending this school for eight years now and has seen different programs—such as talks on abortion—but I have never seen her come home so moved as she did today. After seeing your presentation, I can see that you are exactly right.”

As the evening wound down, I pondered the irony that we were only weeks away from Halloween. Few complaints are lodged when children are intentionally scared with haunted houses full of ghosts and goblins. Were the teachers, I thought to myself, upset because we scared the children or because we moved them?

From Crusade Magazine: March / April 2006

Header Image: Fatima Custodian Norman Fulkerson brings the message of Our Lady to school children.