Each year our parish hosts a tea party for girls aged 9-13 and their mothers as part of a larger program entitled All In God’s Plan. The goal of that three-part ministry is to inform parents of the Catholic view of human sexuality and to aid them as they communicate it to their children.
While our tea party, and it’s male counterpart, the Father/Son Barbecue, were last weekend, the events actually began several weeks ago with a required parent night where a speaker gave an overview of the very helpful document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, experienced parents talked about practical ways they taught the topic in their own home, and a medical professional gave a brief overview of adolescent body changes, NFP and related issues. Parents were able to ask questions and evaluate the topics to be covered at the Tea and Barbecue events to see if it would be appropriate for their children to attend.
The outline of the Tea is always the same:
Guests arrive and are invited to have their photo taken in a cute little area all set up with Easter flowers and tea things. (The photos are developed right away as a souvenir of the special day together.)
A small group of mothers and daughters lead the others in 15 minutes of praise and worship time.
The first talk is given by a young woman from the parish, or someone recommended by the diocese. It’s Great to be a Girl! tells the girls about the blessings of being female and God’s unique love for us.
Next, we hear from a female Catholic doctor or nurse about nutrition and exercise for growing girls, and basic body changes a girl can expect.
Everyone moves into our social hall for the tea party to begin.
A teen girl from the parish gives a talk entitled When I Was Your Age. The girl chosen is always someone considered to be an excellent example for these younger girls. She talks about the importance of modest dress, choosing friends wisely, taking your faith life seriously, and developing a good relationship with your mom.
Next we hear from someone with a religious vocation about how she heard God’s call, and what her life is like as a religious.
The day ends with a very controlled Q & A session and a closing prayer.
We’ve been doing this for twelve or thirteen years and every year the evaluations are overwhelmingly positive. Parents appreciate the tools to do this job well and mother and daughters love the special day together. It’s not uncommon for people to attend 2 or even 3 years in a row, and often girls who are too old to attend as guests will return to help prepare food and serve the tables.
My role in the event is to manage the kitchen and tomorrow I’ll post a few notes about creating a tea party for 100 people.
This event was developed in our Archdiocese and you can contact the Office of Marriage, Family, and Life if you have questions. Several of the Church Ladies have experience with this program and we'd be glad to answer your questions also. Just email or leave them in the comment box.