Fr. Simon Says
Greetings Faithful Parishioners in Christ,
Our new Youth Faith Formation (YFF) Mission started last Wednesday, August 25 th , 2021!
I am grateful that we have faithful parishioners who responded to the call of God to care for His children in this way. It took trust in God, but we eventually filled all of our catechist positions in both parishes grades 1 – 8.
We are still forming up our youth disciple high school mission. I am the catechist for both parishes, but I need more substitutes and assistants. Thankfully, we have other parishioners who put forth a sincere effort to discern their calling as well. For them and for more parishioners, we will have other opportunities to serve as we introduce other aspects of our YFF Mission.
We had a great turn out of young and youth disciples in both parishes excited to join in this mission adventure, except for grades 11 – 12 in Sacred Heart Parish (SHP). We did not have any youth disciples from grades 11 – 12 attend last Wednesday. That was very disappointing, because I always included grades 11 – 12 in my communications and plans. I found out that the previous practice for high school religious education was that there was not anything offered after students received the Sacrament of Confirmation. This changed with YFF.
Our two parishes are now offering youth disciples in grades 9 – 12 one combined mission area made up of both parishes with one mission team lead directly by me. I am trying to provide as much personal opportunity as possible for youth disciples to have personal interaction with their parish priest, who is a trained missionary, and our new mission team. So, this is relational youth ministry, not just religious education, that seeks to make and form youth disciples and to equip them with what they need to be faithful adult disciples of Christ.
To work this out practically and logistically, it will take some creativity with increased priority and commitment from all of us directly involved and from supportive parishioners. It will be worth the sacrifice for all of us to attain a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church!
I propose we alternate locations for grades 9 - 12 since I have to alternate locations for the sake of all of our young and youth disciples. For legal reasons, the parents will be responsible for getting their young disciples to the location for that particular Wednesday by 6:30 p.m. For convenience, the respective church parking lot will be available for carpooling before 6:00 p.m. I will be talking to personnel from both school systems to try to work out release from all activities to be out the door by 5:45 p.m. as is the Gettysburg school system policy. With some parent preparation and planning, our youth disciples can have food ready in the cars. (On Wednesday, September 8 th K. of C. will be serving a meal 6:30 p.m. to include SPXP H.S. youth. I understand what I am proposing will not work for some families for various reasons, including winter travel. We have a less effective alternative available if needed for serious reasons, provided we have adult volunteers available. Youth disciples will be able to participate by Zoom from either location or from their homes. I will be at St. Pius X Parish (SPXP) Church this coming Wednesday, September 1 st starting at 6:30 p.m. with confessions.