HOLY JOURNEY • Father Brian Woodrow, center, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown, stands with altar servers from the parish in a church in Rome. Altar servers and their families traveled to Rome with Father Woodrow and Father Michael Wallack over the summer. Courtesy photos
Walking out of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, talking with his fellow priests, Father Brian Woodrow stood in admiration of his young altar servers who were standing in a group sharing a laugh.
“They were all gathered together, getting along on the rock where Christ founded the Church,” recalled Father Woodrow, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown. “Looking at them, I got the overwhelming sense that they knew they were home. This is as close to home that they could ever be.
Pulling weeds in a farm field on a blistering hot summer day may not be how most teenagers would spend their summer vacation. But the 42 youth and 18 adults from five Ocean County parishes taking part in the fifth annual Mission: Jersey service project wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Just knowing that God put me here to do his work is so powerful to me,” said Brittney Speer, 17, of St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville.
“It’s been great, seeing so many teenagers give a week of their summer,” said Matt Accisano, 27, of St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor, one of the young adults to serve as group leader during the weeklong service immersion experience held the first week of August. “It’s great seeing them bond with each other and make friendships.”
Gathered together in St. Catharine School, Spring Lake, the morning of July 25, 45 teens and youth ministers came ready and willing, not simply to work but to serve the Lord.
The teens participated in the annual, one-day service work project and retreat known as Splash, a service program set up for students in grades eight through 12 that is coordinated by the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. More ... Thursday, July 27, 2017
Cooperation was at the heart of service when youth ministers and teens from Mercer County parishes joined to serve the hungry July 23 at The Lord’s Table, a program held once a month in Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, that provides a meal and fellowship to those in need. More ... Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The teens in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral Parish, Freehold, often spend their youth ministry group meetings socializing and discussing faith and their roles in the Church.
But with the recent popularity of the Jay Asher novel-inspired Netflix drama series, “13 Reasons Why,” which tells the story of a high school sophomore who commits suicide and reveals her reasons in doing so through 13 audio tapes, one of the group’s recent meetings instead focused on a growing, prominent issue: teenage suicide. More ... Tuesday, July 18, 2017
After a childhood of competitive swimming and months of training in cold weather in preparation for her first Olympic-distance event, Stephanie Peddicord, president of the Center for FaithJustice, completed the “Escape the Cape” charity triathlon in just 3 1/2 hours.
For three members of the Diocese’s staff, the path to the new diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries has been in the works for a while.
For close to two years, Cristina Imparato and Jerry Wutkowski have been serving the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life as ministry assistant and assistant coordinator of young adult ministry, respectively.
Father Martin O’Reilly, parochial vicar in St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake, and diocesan chaplain of youth ministry, arrived to the Diocese last summer after working with young people for more than 20 years in his native Ireland.
But it took the hiring of Dan Waddington as part-time member of the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life in the spring to make the new department complete.
About 100 young people filled the auditorium of St. Joseph Parish, Trenton, for a daylong retreat June 17 that focused on self-worth and the potential for anyone to live the life of a saint. More ... Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Addressing the more than 50 young adults gathered in a comfortable pub-like setting, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., admitted he had been looking forward to the June 27 Theology on Tap series for weeks.
“I am thrilled, over the moon to be here tonight. I have to tell you though, it’s the hardest audience I’ve ever prepared for,” Bishop O’Connell said while serving as the keynote speaker of Theology on Tap at Triumph Brewing Company, Princeton, an event sponsored by the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life and hosted by the young adult ministry of St. Paul Parish, Princeton.
Teens looking to share in the camaraderie of faith while serving God by helping others are invited to take part in the upcoming summer Splash event, the Diocese’s annual community service experience. More ... Tuesday, June 27, 2017
For 41 years, the Shamrocks football team of the Basilian-run Detroit Catholic Central High School had a coach named Tom Mach who lived the motto of the school, “Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.” He retired earlier this year after bringing 10 state titles to the school, and a whole lot of legacy. More ... Thursday, June 22, 2017
Service, faith and an awe-inspiring joy. These are just some of the characteristics 25 teens from different parishes around the Diocese of Trenton have in common in winning this year’s St. Timothy Awards.
Presented annually by the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life, the awards recognize youth who follow in the footsteps of St. Timothy as an example of love, faith and virtue.
In their own words, read what youth ministry leaders found exceptional in nominating these young people – and how this next generation of Catholics is living God’s mission of love and mercy in everyday life.
Young adults who look forward to the Theology on Tap series are in for a rare treat: Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will be the featured speaker June 27 at Triumph Brewery in Princeton. More ... Thursday, June 15, 2017
As part of the St. Benedict Parish faith formation committee’s goal to encourage community-building, two young adults organized an evening of art on Ascension Thursday as a way to reflect on Scripture and prayer through canvas painting. More ... Tuesday, June 6, 2017
The young adult ministry of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford, will be hosting a dinner June 10 for millennials from its cohort parishes.
Sean Bell, the ministry’s co-leader, says the dinner is intended to bring together young adults from area parishes to socialize, discuss young adult ministry’s role in the Church as well as what he aspires for the collaborative group moving forward.