By: Miriam Hernandez
Coordinator for Youth Ministry – Salesian Family Youth Center
As a Youth Minister, I believe young people can be capable of serving the church now. Saint Dominic Savio is a great example of a teen who served and led others to Jesus through his vast love of the Eucharist and his selfless love and kindness for others. St. John Bosco recognized that Dominic was special, and he challenged him use his gifts for the good of others. Even though we have fully capable Youth Ministers, we cannot and should not do everything, we must empower young people, ADMA, past pupils, cooperators, parents and more to share the mission and love of Don Bosco for others, especially young people. We are blessed to have our amazing Salesian Family!
This week we celebrated the feast of St. Dominic Savio with a Bonfire lead 100% by teens. Our youth ministry core team and this year’s SYLC group came together to prepare for a night of prayer, fellowship and smores! Each meeting they discussed what activities they would love to see; they created a Spotify playlist and a schedule for the big night.
Our youth took over St. Mary’s parking lot playing kick basketball (kickball variation). After a short water brake, they gathered around the fire for a reflection on St. Dominic Savio. Joanna Cordero led the reflection speaking in-front of her peers for the first time. She spoke about what she had learned about Savio and how she identified with being blamed for things in her life that she did not do. Many teens in the group could relate and they demonstrated by snapping their fingers in agreeance. Joanna shared that she looks up to Savio’s ability to not see himself as victim and forgive those who did him wrong. She challenged everyone to become saints and do better each day.
During the closing prayer everyone was asked to write down three things that they have been holding on to from this past year. Three things they would like to let go of or forgive others for. Once the papers were thrown in the fire the party began. Our feast continued when Fr. Rafael Sainz and the rest of the team opening the dance floor inviting everyone else to join in.
The following days I spoke to youth about their thoughts of our celebration and youth ministry in general. Here is what one girl said, “I used to feel like I was missing out when I would see people posting things on social media and were going all over the place, but now that I attend youth group and Camp meetings, I feel like everyone else is missing out. I’ve met new people and we have so much fun.” The oratory is thought to be a place, but we are called to be the embodiment of the oratory. We are called to encounter Jesus through our youth and vice versa. St. Dominic Savio, Pray for Us!