Antioch Youth Community serves teens in St. Joseph County and offers them the opportunity to know, love and serve Christ. Antonio Marchi directs the ministry, which is a cooperation between St. Monica, St. Bavo and St. Joseph parishes in Mishawaka.
“I have lived in the South Bend/Mishawaka area my whole life. My wife Jenny and I were part of the Antioch community as teenagers,” Marchi recalled. “We returned to lead the community four years ago. Antioch has served as one of the most consistent blessings of our marriage and family life.”
Antioch has a special place in the heart of the Marchi family, as Antonio and Jenny both experienced strong fruits of conversion being part of the community throughout their own teenage years. As they seek to center their married and family life around Christ, they say they are humbled by the opportunity to continue growing alongside the teens.
Antioch ministry came together more than 10 years ago as a way to provide fellowship and deepen the spirituality of Catholic teens at the three parishes, which at the time were not able to sustain individual youth groups. It has continued to thrive under the direction of faithful couples like the Marchis and the involvement of caring priests.
“The ministry has dedicated adult volunteers who have been impacted by Antioch; some for the past two decades. The teens and adults involved with seek fidelity to Christ above all else. We gather weekly to pray and deepen our formation, growing in knowledge, love and service of Christ,” he said.
At St. Monica on Thursdays, the evening begins with a holy hour of adoration. Afterward, they gather in community from 7 to 9 p.m.
“Our time together is spent in worship, prayer, formation, study of Scripture and sacred tradition, along with some time for recreation,” explained Marchi. “The Antioch teens hunger for truth, seeking to deepen their conversions as we draw nearer to Him.”
Through the ministry teens have opportunities throughout the year to take time away from their busy lives and go on retreat. Last summer, a powerful retreat took place at St. Joseph. Such moments bring together young people closer to each other and to the Lord, as they rely on the generosity of others to provide food and prayer support by signing up for an hour of adoration. More recently, the teens celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Felix Catholic Center in Huntington. It was an opportunity to dwell on the Blessed Mother’s model of perfect discipleship, said Marchi.
“This retreat offered a period of silence to practice hearing the word of God as His Mother Mary did. The teens reflected most especially on Mary’s Magnificat and discovered their own personal fiat.”
“Many teens are wrestling with the circumstances that have been out of their control during these difficult times and have come to terms that perfect peace comes from putting Christ first,” said Marchi. “As we focused on our Blessed Mother’s Magnificat and learned to cry out ‘my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,’ even in the midst of the challenges we face, we came away with a sense of peace knowing that our Lord is with us through all seasons.”
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