By Hugo Veracx and Alesia Bruffaerts, FFWPU Belgium
On Saturday, the 20th of May we had what we called ‘the purity ceremony’ in the Belgium FFWPU headquarters. Eight youngsters from Belgium, France and Holland participated. This was the culminating event after 6 months of preparation. During 6 months on a weekly basis the children together with their parents went through several readings and Q&A that Alésia Bruffaerts had compiled in a beautiful booklet. These readings helped them to speak and discuss openly with their parents on topics related to purity and our faith. This is a very good working tool to strengthen the relationship between parents and children and for the children to inherit of the wisdom of their parents.
Alésia worked hard in cooperation with other elder Sec. Gen. to build up a good foundation for this event. On Sundays, they had activities related to the purity ceremony to help them prepare for the ceremony and to strengthen their relationship with each other. Alésia reports about this day as follows:
On the day of the ceremony itself, all children and their parents were invited to a workshop where elder BCs gave a testimony about their experiences.
David Stout from the United Kingdom, Pierre Kwala from Germany, Amadej Bruffaerts from Belgium, Karl Zimmerman from Germany, and Joyce Koetsier from the Netherlands, all gave very touching and inspiring testimonies. In their unique ways, they all expressed how keeping purity is an important part of their lives. They shared what is of help to them during difficult times and how they could overcome challenges. The testimonies really brought a good reflective atmosphere for the rest of the day. The children were a captive audience during the testimonies. Having positive role models, hearing that they are not alone in what they are going through, and hearing how elder BCs went through those challenges, was surely helpful for the young ones.
After the testimonies we had a few games, to relax a bit before starting the ceremony.
The whole community was invited for the ceremony. It started with a short but powerful speech by national leader Hugo Veracx. Subsequently, some of the participants were invited to share about what they had learned, and what they wanted to promise Heavenly Parent on that day. It was a nice moment, seeing those kids taking their purity and their relationship with Heavenly Parent so seriously at such a young age. Next, we had a candle ceremony, where each participant received a holy candle that should help them keep the right direction in difficult times. The most moving moment was when the parents handed over an item (ring or watch or necklace) which the children will keep as a reminder of their promise.
The whole day was nice. It was inspiring that many people from the Belgian community and abroad could be present and support the children in making this important life decision. I think, even though the participants were quite young, this day was something meaningful for them. I could see on their faces that they were sincere. Even though this day was a success, I do not think it is enough. The ring itself is a reminder of their promise, but is not the answer to all problems. I believe we need to keep supporting the children on their way to adulthood. Going through puberty in this world is not easy, but having a supportive family/ community, where one can receive love and guidance, is undoubtedly a tremendous support. I therefore hope we can keep on doing the activities with the young ones that can help them in choosing the right path.