"Hello friends, I hope this message finds you and yours safe and healthy. Over the past few weeks of quarantine, we all have been challenged with our new reality. What a bizarre world we live in right now! As we adjust to our new normal, and settle in, I ask you these questions, what is God saying to you right now? What is God asking of you today? Our world has been put in a “time out” (so to speak), and I believe that God is waiting for each of us in that space.
Just a month ago, the “normal” looked nothing like it does today. Lent, last year, looked completely different. Lent is normally a time of reflection, a challenging journey inward. This Lent has offered us all of that and more. A chance to self-reflect. A long, loving look at our relationships, a chance to count our blessings, celebrate our strengths and an opportunity to recognize and “lean into” our weaknesses.
We are faced with the challenge of rethinking what we “have always done” and isn’t this needed in our families, in our jobs, and most importantly, in our faith communities? We, in Youth Ministry, are doing the same…rethinking. The past few weeks have found us somewhere in the cycle of grieving. What does prom look like? Graduation? Celebration? Vacations? Our yearly trip to Harlan, Kentucky for our mission trip, can it still happen? We had been planning for Youth Hosted Masses and Service Retreats, plans for nurturing our spirit filled teen CRHP’ers, how does this all look right now? How do we all cope? Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance and back again. Where can you be found today? How do we allow our faith to guide us to acceptance?
In Youth Ministry, one of our foundational pillars is, what Jesus did best, accompaniment. How can we accompany each other during this trying time, because isn’t that what it’s all about? In the past several weeks, we have adjusted our meetings and gatherings to online platforms, we have upped our online presence, we have been encouraging ourselves and others to think out of the box and try new things.
Not too long ago I spoke to seventh graders about being brave enough to fail at something new, little did I know the enormity of that challenge as it left my mouth. We feel distant and obviously, are physically apart during this crazy time, yet our souls crave human interaction, connection and community.
We have been brainstorming new ways to accompany you through Holy Week. A group of teens and young adults met via Zoom and, I am proud to say they have graciously accepted that challenge and will be offering a “virtual twist” on stations of the cross this year. They will be available to all online and we hope that you take time, with those you love, and give them a try. Each station will offer scripture, reflection, music and prayer. We are hoping to tap into your faith journey, wherever you may be, and walk with you.
So yes, Lent looks incredibly different this year, and I don’t know that it’s a bad thing. Deepak Chopra said, “all great changes are preceded by chaos.” Our church was in desperate need before all of this happened and now, we sit anxiously at the crossroads. Do you allow this “break” to be the excuse you need to walk away from your faith, or do you seize the chance to discern your role in it all? When this is all over, and it will be, how do we emerge from our tombs? Let’s rise, as Jesus did, and make all things new! So, I ask you again, what is God saying to you right now? What is God asking of you today? Your faith SHOULD look different after all this is over, it SHOULD evolve and change. I encourage you to sit with Jesus in this time and be inspired by Easter. YOU NEED Easter, our CHURCH NEEDS Easter, so leave your tomb inspired and motivated to go now to love and serve the Lord, but this time…for real. We will continue to come up with new ways to bridge this gap, we just ask that you be brave, try something new and say yes to the offer of accompaniment. And the church says, AMEN"
Kim Madonia Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry Saint John Fisher & Most Holy Redeemer
*Please bare with us as we build our online platform - more excitement to come
Begin your digital journey through the stations by clicking one of the stained glass depictions below. Each station will provide you with an understanding of Jesus' journey to Golgotha as well as a song and brief reflection presented by one of the members of our youth program.
May God bless you and yours during this Lenten Season.