Mission Report: Our Lady of Czestochowa

Our Lady of Czestochowa iconOn January 26th, a group of young adults took a short drive from Ann Arbor to Sterling Heights, MI to lead a two hour event for a group of young people from Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Parish. As the name implies, all of the teenagers had strong ties to their Polish descent and heritage. Blessed John Paul II, St. Faustina Kowalski, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and other Polish saints played a prominent role in the decoration of the Church and parish center. The purpose of the event was to present the young people with the person of Jesus Christ and His deep desire to have a relationship with each one of them. We wanted to share our love of the Lord, and facilitate an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and draw them into a deeper personal conversion.

It took a little while for the kids to feel comfortable with ‘outsiders’ speaking to them about faith. We began the event with introductions, and the kids were stoic to say the least. A few of our team members attempted to make some jokes and these attempts were met with a few smiles and mostly solemn faces. After introductions, the girls went to a smaller cafe-like room and the boys stayed in the main parish hall. Instead of starting with an overly spiritual topic, the boys began by having a Rock/Paper/Scissors championship which helped break the ice and revive the boys’ energy. Joey McCoy then gave a testimony which focused on his journey to realize his identity in Jesus. He spoke about recognizing that he was made for greatness and this calling could only be accomplished through a personal relationship with Christ. After Joey, Pete Burak spoke on the reality of Christ’s love and how this reality can transform our lives. Through personal stories, Pete painted the picture of a life lived in Christ and how this calls for a daily submission of our will to His.  The talk culminated with an opportunity for the boys to publicly witness their faith by standing up out of their chairs. Every guy in the room stood up for Christ!

     The girls had a similarly successful session as four young women from i.d.916 gave various sharings and testimonies about the love of God, His plan for our lives, and their own experiences of Christ. Debbie Herbeck led the session and she was joined by Natalia Collins, Sarah Patton, Julianna Macarelli, and Jill Grabowski. Each speaker utilized a multi-media dimension including the music video from Taylor Swift’s Love Story. The deep love and respect that God has for His daughters was highlighted as well as the revelation of our true identity through a personal relationship with Christ.
     After the first session, we all entered the sanctuary and took some time for praise and worship as well as Eucharistic Adoration. Joey and Julianna led the music and they lifted the energy in the room and soon many of the kids were singing and entering into worship. After Adoration we said a closing prayer and ended the mini-event. We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to the two hours and the gratitude expressed by the parents of the kids. Additionally, many of the kids took the time to thank us and assure us that this was something they needed and wanted again sometime in the future! Let us continue to pray for these teens that they may grow in their relationship with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady of Czestochowa, Pray for us!
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