This week in the pastor’s corner, we feature our Youth Ministry. I’m sure most of you are aware of the fact that we have a youth ministry, but I’m also quite sure many of you are not aware of what it involves. Here is Rocelyn Catris, our Youth Ministry coordinator, to tell you what it is all about. Please let me start by sharing a reading inspired by the Gospel of St. Mark: Some people brought youth to Jesus for Him to place his hands on them. But some of the other adults in the parish scolded the people saying, “Send the youth away… …they’ll just mess up the parish hall. …they’ll be loud wherever they go. …they’ll use a lot of money in the parish budget. Just forget about them until they are adults and know how to act. When Jesus heard this, He was angry and said to the parishioners: “Let the young people come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Then, He took the young people in His arms, placed His hands on each of them, and blessed them.
For years, I witnessed that our young people have the same hunger and thirst for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty – same as the adults – and sometimes, more. This longing (for God) that resides in every human heart is one of the reasons why YM exists. This isn’t for a lone ranger – it can’t be! This ministry is only as strong as its leadership TEAM. It is a ministry of presence and love, and of choosing to see Jesus in every young person we encounter, no matter what their situation is. As leaders, we strive to meet them where they’re at and not where we’d want them to be – to be part of their present world, however structured or chaotic it is. And like Mary, we point them to Jesus, our Way, Truth, and Life.
Some of the opportunities that allow us to minister to or serve our youth are in: SPARK events for grade 6-8 students every first 4 Mondays of the month, except holidays FLAME events for high school (normally) every 2nd & 3rd Fridays of the month CAMP FLAME annual high school retreat Out trips and casual hangouts Archdiocesan & international youth events
YM offers a variety of volunteer positions – from prayer intercessors to office helpers to event volunteers. NO prior experience required, but regular event volunteers need to undergo a criminal record check. I also do my best to accommodate a volunteer’s availability. Please consider sharing your time, talent, and/or treasure in spreading the Gospel to our young Church.
Our parish is abundantly blessed with young people. It’s our responsibility as their Church community to protect, nurture, and pray for them. May God strengthen those whom He has called to serve in Youth Ministry, and may they be able to say ‘yes’, like our patron, St. Mary. Thank you Rocelyn, in the name of St. Mary’s Parish, for this information and for your ministry, and may God bless it abundantly.