2018/2019 promises to be an exciting year for Youth Ministry at Our Lady of Fatima church! In our third year of ministry, OLF will have 4 main branches of the Youth Ministry tree, with numerous smaller special break-out groups, clubs, and informal ensembles--the twigs and leaves, if you would--that allow the young people of Our Lady of Fatima parish a wide variety of opportunities for friendship, service, and worship.
We understand and respect that every family’s schedule is different, so we follow a “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach to levels of time commitment. The mission of all of Youth Ministry is to simply give our children and their families chances to draw ever closer to Jesus and to explore their faith in a plethora of ways. We strive to accomplish this by organizing a number of service projects, activities, prayer meetings and services, and more. We aim to meet our young people where they are, listen to them and their ideas, and act as a conduit to guide them in channeling their passions and interests into expressions of praise that glorify the Lord by their lives. There should be something for everyone--and every schedule--within OLF youth Ministry.
The 4 Main Branches:
Junior Ushers and Greeters: dedicated children and families who welcome congregants to the Sunday mass. Their smiling faces and enthusiastic greeting have the potential to set the tone for many parishioners’ mornings and aid the congregation in being properly disposed to the holy sacrifice of the mass. They also carry the gifts to the Altar during the Offertory, which is so appropriate because they themselves are a gift to our parish.
Sodality: co-ed Catholic youth group for preteens and early teens in grades 5-8. They meet weekly on Tuesday afternoons in the Parish Center. Sodality is specifically task oriented and has evolved to become the powerhouse of most Youth Ministry events. Sodality does work. They plan and develop projects and events, perform all of the “behind-the-scenes” chores, and are indispensable in the successful completion of nearly all that Youth Ministry sets out to accomplish. Over the course of last year, OLF witnessed Sodality become a very tight knit group--something that they we not at the start of last September. They did not start out as friends. They grew into that, and all through the common bond of discipleship of Jesus. And they pray together (a lot). Even when they aren’t aware that anybody is watching, they pray together. It will be exciting to see what happens this upcoming year, when new members seek to enroll.
Children of Mary: co-ed, junior version of Sodality. Children of Mary is further split into two groups based on age (grades K-2 and grades 3-5). These two groups meet on alternating Friday afternoons in the Parish Center. Children of Mary aid in the completion of service projects, and participate in age appropriate activities designed to enrich their catechesis. Some examples of Children of Mary activities are “Grace Before Meals” Catholic cooking classes, monthly screenings of Catholic children’s movies that teach Bible stories or depict the lives of the saints, and special celebrations surrounding particular feast days and seasons of the liturgical calendar.
Prayer Ambassadors: The Prayer Ambassadors are recruiting children in grades 3-8 who have an interest in public speaking to lead the congregation in prayer (eg: the Prayer to Saint Michael) from the lectern at the closing of the 9:00 and 10:30 masses. October is the kick-off month for Prayer Ambassadors!
“Twigs and Leaves” (some examples):
Adoration Club: Small but sincere group of children, mostly in grades 3-5, who regularly attend First Friday Adoration in the Upper Room of the Church, usually from 4:15-4:45 PM.
Christmas Choir: Special choir formed to sing at the Christmas Eve children’s vigil mass. The Christmas Choir is open to kids in grades K-8, and practices throughout Advent. While some Christmas choristers go on to join Mr. Hadley’s regular Children’s Choir, that is not a requirement. This is a great way for kids to “check out” what being in the choir is like, should they have the desire to become full time choristers--to “get get their feet wet.” It also creates an option for little ones who wish to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, but cannot commit to a full year of rehearsals.
Tree Lighting Pageant: Youth Ministry teams up with the Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes to stage an elaborate and fun pageant that culminates in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. Last year, youth ministry kids learned about Mexican Catholic traditions throughout the month of December, as our pageant was a nod to the Mexican tradition of “Las Posadas.” In celebration of the universality of the Church, we aim to honor a different Catholic culture each year. This year, we will highlight Polish Catholic customs and will base our pageant on the Polish Vigilia.