Is your child an eighth grader preparing to be sealed by the Holy Spirit this school year? Many people are standing by to lend a hand with his or her formation during the Sept. 21 confirmation retreat, which takes place this year at St. Joseph High School on the South Bend side of the diocese.
The prayerful helpers will include Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who will celebrate Mass for about 400 retreatants at 9:30 a.m. Seminarian Samuel Martinez, assigned this year to St. Pius X Parish in Granger, will also be present all day, leading a service workshop and teaching confirmation catechesis. Emcee for the 8:45 a.m.-3:30 p.m. event is Dane Litchfield, who made a pilgrimage to Panama for World Youth Day with the diocese in January.
Brittany Baucom, youth minister at St. Pius X, will lead a prayer workshop over the lunch hour. High school students who are part of diocesan youth leadership will also be on hand to assist.
John Pratt, diocesan director of youth ministry, is leading the planning for the day. He said a retreat is an important part of preparing for the sacrament of confirmation, “because it gives students a chance to reflect on the meaning of the sacrament they are preparing to receive, grow in knowledge about their faith and have a meaningful experience of Christ through the prayers, activities and community fostered on retreat.”
Sister Fiat, who recently took temporary vows with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, will present the keynote talk, “The Gospel Message of God’s Love.” Her faith was nurtured in this diocese, where she grew up as the fourth of Tony and Carol Staley’s five children.
“I was raised in a beautiful family in which the faith imbued the whole of our life,” the former Rachel Staley said. She attended Corpus Christi School and St. Joseph High School, and spent a gap year between high school and college living intense community with 10 people on a national evangelization team. The group shared the good news of the Gospel with youth and grew even closer to Jesus, she said, especially in eucharistic adoration.
From that point on Sister Fiat was drawn to religious life, exploring several different orders before she found her vocation among the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, for whom she had worked as a housekeeper while attending Holy Cross College. Now halfway through her eight years of formation, her special assignment is promoting vocations.
Five Congregation of Holy Cross seminarians who form “The Band of Men” will provide music during Mass and at other times.
Besides Mass, retreat participants will listen to presentations about the sacrament of confirmation, prayer and service; spend time in small groups; meet new friends and play games like saints trivia and “Final Jeopardy.” They will also have an opportunity to spend time adoring Christ in the Eucharist and celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, before benediction.
Who should attend?
For eighth graders who plan to be confirmed this school year.
Speakers: Sister Fiat Staley, Seminarian Samuel Martinez, youth minister Brittany Baucom
Activities: 9:30 Mass with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, small group gatherings, confirmation catechesis, icebreakers/games, eucharistic adoration, confession, benediction
Cost: $20 (includes T-shirt)
Questions? John Pratt, director of youth ministry, 260-422-4611 ext. 3321, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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