In our parish, eighth grade and high school students have a number of opportunities to enrich their faith and enjoy each others company. Youth ministry at St. Raphaels follows the guidelines established by the U.S. Bishops document Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry (1997), which encourages parishes to develop programming that fosters full adult membership and discipleship in Catholic young women and men. At St. Raphaels, we have developed a youth ministry program that nurtures in young people a spirit of faith, service, and community, and challenges them to become Ambassadors of Hope in the parish and beyond it.
As with everything else we do, youth ministry at St. Raphaels begins with prayer. Our parish encourages teens to participate fully at the 5:00 PM Mass on Sunday
evening. Each week, teens serve as ushers, readers, extraordinary ministers of Communion, choir members, and instrumentalists. Our teen readers are well-prepared and articulate; our teen extraordinary ministers are faith-filled and reverent. Our music is vibrant and lively, and we are blessed by the gifts of two young adult professional musicians and adult volunteers who support all our music efforts. One goal of youth ministry is to continue building our choir and instrumental ensemble membership.
After participating at Sunday Eucharist, teens move to the school building for a simple supper, an activity or service project, and shared prayer and reflection. We meet on Sunday evenings immediately after Mass: 6-8 P.M. from September to June. In the past
year, our teens cooked and served brunch and provided entertainment for the senior citizens in the parish, presented a play about Easter to the youngest members of the parish on Holy Saturday, and most recently, organized and staffed all the games at the St. Raphael Parish Festival of Hope. They made sandwiches for the Mary Brennan Inn in Hempstead, assisted Parish Social Ministry in transporting food from the Church to the PSM office, and participated in traditional Christmas caroling in East Meadow. We ended last year with a barbecue and volleyball game, and four of our most active members were trained as peer leaders through the Diocesan Youth Leader Program. This year, we plan to continue our tradition of service, prayer, and socializing together.
If you have questions about St. Raphael's youth ministry, please contact Joann Heaney-Hunter at the Rectory (516) 785-0236.
Page Updated November 3, 2014
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