Thursday, April 16, 2009

Endings. A note to our youth catechists.

As we begin the final three sessions of the faith development year, my mind turns to more sentimental things. Endings. I just hate endings. As you all know, the parish office was demolished last week and a shiny new gym will stand exactly where the old building was. There were many good memories in the parish office for me as well as those I work with. Many years ago it was a convent and was later converted into the STM parish offices. If only those walls could talk!

I was wondering when I looked at the pictures of the destroyed office whether the many hands that worked so diligently all these years had any real effect on the many faces that graced its doorway? Did we make a difference in the lives of the faithful? Was Jesus happy with our ministries and most importantly, did we do justice to being “Christ’s hands and feet?" There were many memorable events over the years. We celebrated with those coming to plan weddings, baptisms, new registrations, conversions etc…but most assuredly there were the days where people came in for help out of desperation and sadness: those hungry, those struggling with fallen away children, an unexpected death and sadness. The parish staff worked hard to understand, listen, serve and hold those who were in pain and suffering. We did what we could and that is all. The Lord took care of the rest. That is our commitment to our calling, our ministry, what we were placed here for.

At the same time, we look toward the ending of the faith development year and the many memories we hold of the junior high youth group and their unique exuberance for life. We have had some great moments where we collected tons of clothes for the poor, invited inpirational speakers such as APeX ministries and Steve Angrisano, had whitewater rafting/skiing adventures, movie nights, open gym nights...we prayed together, laughed together and became friends. All good memories, all good times.

Then there were those tougher things to get through…the challenging kids who proved to be difficult in the classroom, sacramental prep struggles, bilingual barriers, coming unprepared, what seemed like a million distractions, and lack of time to impart the teachings of a very big church. Did you wonder at times if you would ever get this year over with? I did.

But as we near the end of this faith development year, we naturally want to ask ourselves the question, “Did I make a difference with the kids?” Did I do a good enough job? Did I do justice to being “Christ’s hands and feet?” “Does it even matter?”

And these are good questions to ask. Especially at the end of the year.

I don’t know for certain the answer, but I do know of many adults along my journey who helped me in my early years of formation, and I am sure they asked themselves the very same questions. Who were the ones who helped to form you? Did they do a good job?

We are ministers of Jesus and his Church. With Mary as our mother and Jesus as the center of our lives, we impart the wisdom of the faith to the kids each Sunday, and that is all we can do. The Lord takes care of the rest. That is our commitment to this ministry. So walk in confidence that Christ is with you in your class and that while things may not be going so well in the physical world, it is what happens in the supernatural world that counts….and he is there at both. Cheering you on and walking with you and your class and fertilizing the seeds that you are so diligently sowing. So keep sowing and never stop; that is the part that never ends. And that is the part where together, we are making a difference.

Mark. 4: 26 and 27: This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for several years now. I found it while looking for youth minstry info for confirmation class one night. I just wanted to say thanks for letting us know there are the good times with the bad. I thought maybe something was wrong with me when I just couldn't get through to that one child or had communication problems due to the language barrier. I walked away from all of it a little over a year and half ago and while having made my peace with my pastor I haven't been able to forgive myself for walking away. Thanks for letting us know struggles don't have to mean the end.