The Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal devotes special attention to the religious education of children and youth. It has a program called Spiritual Orientation for Children and Youth (visit the site), for children of UDV Members, which aims to convey the essence of the doctrine of the União do Vegetal. In this way, when these young people turn 18 years old, the minimum age for membership in the UDV, they are better prepared to follow their paths as members of the UDV – if they choose. One must be at least 18 years old to be a member of the UDV.
The activities with children and youth do not follow a Sunday-school-like model in which kids stay with teachers, but rather are designed to create opportunities for parents to develop religious content for their children and bring it into their homes.
About 800 members throughout the United States, Brazil and Spain are involved with development of this work which includes significant participation of children and youth.
MESTRE GABRIEL – DEVOTION SINCE CHILDHOOD
The religious customs of the family raised by Manoel and Dona Prima (Mestre Gabriel’s parents) were part of the reason that they lived their lives their lives cultivating high values of honest work, care for the family, and reverence for God. Interviews with family members show that religious devotion was part of Mestre Gabriel’s life since childhood. He attended Catholic mass and celebrations and, along with his Aunt Rose, sang the hymn of St. Cosmo and St. Damian.
After he recreated the União do Vegetal, Mestre Gabriel held several sessions on the day of Cosmo and Damião (September 27th). He also attended to youth and children in sessions of the Vegetal and taught some of the prayers that he learned during his childhood. This example is what inspired the creation of the Spiritual Orientation Program for Children and Youth.