Youth Formation Letter 2013

Addressed to Parents of Parish Youth

August 6, 2013
Transfiguration of the Lord

Dear Friends,

“Go and make disciples of all nations!” (Mt. 28:19).  This was the theme for the 28th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where millions of young people gathered to meet with Pope Francis.   This is the mandate given by the Lord and reiterated by the Pope to the bishops and priests of the world especially in regards to the young: “spare no effort in the formation of young people … help our young people to discover the courage and joy of faith, the joy of being loved personally by God.” (Pope Francis’ Mass with the Bishops, Priests, Religious and Seminarians, July 27, 2013).   The call of the Lord to “make disciples” is as the Holy Father reminded us, a difficult mission, but it is the mission of the Church especially toward the young.   In the parish community, this call must be answered by each of us, not just the priests, deacons and catechists, but by the entire community.   Each one of us is called to “proclaim the Gospel” with courage and enthusiasm. 

This is the reason why I believe that second only to the work of celebrating the Sacraments of the Church with love and reverence, is the very important work of forming our young people into the Lord’s disciples.   Theirs is a heart ready to be set aflame, a heart ready to respond with generosity and joy.   We cannot neglect this very important duty.    The Christian formation of young people takes a committed team effort that begins with and revolves around the witness of the family.  Parents must be the first to take up this call with utmost urgency and care and I urge you and to make every effort not to allow anything to hinder the Christian formation of your children.  Do your part in teaching them the faith and their prayers, modeling for them authentic Christian living and encouraging them to become active members of our parish community by their Mass attendance and participation.   The parish formation team led by the pastor is here to support your work in helping them to experience the faith in the Sacraments and in communal prayer.  The entire parish community offering their prayers as well as their support assures that we respond to the Holy Father’s instruction that we “spare no effort.”

This year I am pleased to welcome Elizabeth Griss who will take on the responsibility full time of overseeing the Ark program for elementary grade children.   She is assisting me in working to revise our program and make it of the highest quality, along with the help of Angie Windangle formally on our staff.   The Pope urged us to be “creative and bold”.  Within our Youth Formation program we are working diligently and prayerfully to respond to our children’s needs effectively.  We are also pleased to have the help of Meagan Foglesong who will be assisting in the Youth Office and serve as a catechist in our High School program.  I am also excited to welcome Dave and his wife Lauren Moore who will be part of the new Youth Formation Music Ministry program, leading music for our young people during retreats, adoration and especially our youth Mass on Sunday evenings.   They all join Mike Cleary and Jessica Underbrink already vital parts of our Youth Formation Program. 

Pope Francis reminded the world’s youth in Rio that they too are called to go out make disciples by sharing their faith; “Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission!”  He reminds us that the Lord is calling all of us to “go, do not be afraid, and serve!”  This is the true path of Christian discipleship.   Together we will form a community of faith that is not afraid to share our faith boldly and unambiguously.   We ask the intercession of the dear Mother of God, the Star of the New Evangelization to watch over our efforts and protect all our beloved young people.  

In the Lord Jesus,

Fr. Rodolfo D. Vásquez, Pastor

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