On the weekend, most teens want to hang out with their friends, and 16-year-old Eder Pineda is no different. Except, instead of spending that time at the movies or the mall, he chooses to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Every time we do Adoration, I get closer to him,” said Pineda, confirmation candidate. “I feel that connection again. It motivates me to be a better person.”
Pineda was one of about 50 teens that attended a National Evangelization Teams (NET) retreat at St. Junipero Serra Parish in Phelan [in the Mojave Desert] on March 11. The day-long event included skits, games and small group discussions to help teens encounter Christ and grow in their faith.
NET, based in Minnesota, currently has missionaries traveling through our diocese with plans to offer 15 different retreats here this year. With Bibles and props in tow, the group of eight offers different retreat themes like “Love One Another,” which is about friendship, and “Sealed & Sent,” which is about Confirmation…. Ernestina Zilius, St. Junipero Serra’s Confirmation and Youth Minister Coordinator, chose “True Presence.”
“[The youth] have questions … They say, ‘We take the Eucharist, we come to church but we don’t know what’s going on,’” explained Zilius. “So we picked the Eucharist theme … so they can start comprehending what it means … I hope this encourages them to want to continue that relationship with our Father.”
Part of the day’s lineup included the missionaries acting out a “drama” that takes place in a confessional. The “priest” reminds the repentant how Jesus died to save her from sin. 17-year-old Miguel Salmon said that part of the retreat will stick with him the most….
22-year-old NET Missionary Luke Klavins gave his testimony before the group at St. Junipero Serra. After growing up with an abusive stepfather, experimenting with drugs and generally feeling like an outcast, he decided to make a change.
“My home life wasn’t super easy. I was bullied and very lonely,” said Klavins. “[During Adoration] I decided to look straight into the Eucharist and I really felt like he was looking at me too … God is happy that I’m here.”
As they travel, the missionaries live with host families which is considered part of the evangelization they are tasked with. Diana Martinez, Religious Education Coordinator at St. Junipero Serra and mother of three, had a full house hosting the eight missionaries plus two supervisors. Initially, her kids were not so sure about the arrangement….
“We had a Mass afterwards and I noticed [the teens] were very reverent, very good. They participated,” said Martha Padilla-Thomas, Youth, Young Adult and Confirmation Coordinator. “Also after the retreat, in small group sharing, they tend to open up more.”
Some 70 NET missionaries have come from the Diocese of San Bernardino, and they are in need of more, particularly men. Interested young adults can go to netusa.org for more information….
Original story on Inland Catholic Byte.
Pope Francis has told “keyboard warriors” to put aside online polemics and get out from behind their desks to proclaim the Gospel.
Speaking in St. Peter’s Square on April 12, the pope urged Christians to go out and “get moving” to share the good news of the Gospel with the world. “One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, engaging in polemics like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there,” Pope Francis said.
From CNA via spiritdaily
What an awesome program. I hope the program continues to grow.
Um, if the youth are going to church and receiving Communion but “don’t know what’s going on,” what the heck is wrong with their confirmation teachers and youth ministers and pastors? Sounds like catechetical negligence to me. Youth ministry has been a catastrophe.
Catechetics and youth ministry are two different things.
Probably what that sentence referred to was a poor liturgical formation.
That is done in 2nd grade when it is necessary. It needs to be added to higher grades as well.
In five years some of these girls will be interviewed on college campus by Cal-Catholic and they’ll say things like: yeah, my family was catholic and we attended church and stuff like that but um I don’t have time for it anymore so I’m more like spiritual than religious and I pray to God in my room or on a walk when I need him for something, and I think whatever someone wants to believe is cool with him or her because God can be anything to anyone.
“In five years …” I don’t think so. Most interviewees I recall did not have a proper immersion either intellectually or spiritually into Catholic life and thought. If the Net program reaches deep enough into their souls, these youth will have been better formed and inoculated against secular poison.
Hopefully in five years the Cal Catholic interviews of students on college campuses will no longer be a feature of Cal Catholic Daily!
CCD, thanks for posting an uplifting, Catholic story.