Spirited teenagers and young adults are energizing faith communities throughout the four counties of the Archdiocese of Newark. As reported in the Oct. 10 edition of The Catholic Advocate, young people are getting involved, making their voices heard and making a difference.
The Youth Retreat Center in Kearny represents the hub of this activity, organizing workshops and retreats. Parish youth groups are flourishing at Saint Elizabeth in Wyckoff, led by Gina Marie Alala; Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jersey City, led by Father John J. Galeano; Saint John the Apostle in Linden, led by Father Joseph Meagher and Father Phil Latronico; and Immaculate Conception in Montclair, led by Jon W. Bonesteel.
Theology on Tap sessions, like those that featured Archbishop John J. Myers and Bishop Thomas A. Donato earlier this year (see The Catholic Advocate, Aug. 8 and Feb. 21) provide informal, inviting venues to mingle and share ideas. Our Catholic schools and colleges are sources of pride.
Are there challenges on the horizon? Sure, but the missed opportunity would be to only contemplate things to come, rather than appreciate the many blessings provided by young people-here and now. Young adults and teens "are not the future of the Church; they are the present." Gregory Welch, a representative of Plainfield-based RENEW International, offered this observation last year, as quoted in an article by Staff Writer Melissa McNally.
This youthful, faith-based energy offers insights for all age groups in the grand mosaic of the archdiocese. Be engaged, compassionate and considerate. Be strong enough to share an open heart and mind. Be brave enough to make mistakes and try again. Be prepared to embrace the truth, seize the moment and trust in God.
-Michael C. Gabriele