"The church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you!" These words were spoken by Pope Francis and they are absolutely true. You are the next generation and our church needs you. Our communities of faith do not survive without you and your love for Christ; and I am here to remind you that if you do not know what Jesus says about you, then you believe what the world says about you. Brothers and sisters, normal is an illusion. No one is perfect, but we all have gifts. Christ calls each of us to use these gifts to serve others and gain inspiration from one another through stories and shared experiences.
As we prepare for the 2020-21 ministry year, our parish forges ahead with a mission to be disciples of Jesus Christ by inviting, forming and sharing our faith. This year just looks a little different, at least until 2020 draws to a close. While we cannot meet in person, I am here to remind you of an awesome God who loves you just as you are. A God who desires to be a part of your story. So, I invite you to join us on the journey to spread Jesus and help make this world a better place.
While we may not be able to gather in the youth room at St. Barbara, the good news is our youth and adult core teams will return ready to serve and bring to the table their joy, enthusiasm and love for Christ. We have some amazing high school teens and adult leaders, and their testimonies, shared experiences and love for the young church make us one unique and authentic parish youth ministry. This year, we will also begin a new partnership with the young people of Sacred Heart and Ascension parishes in Jeannette. I ask for everyone to offer their warmest welcome and best hospitality to our neighbors in the kingdom next door.
Our Middle School students will embark on their Edge Nights virtually as we tackle the topic of the seven sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders). Our nights will still have kooky games; we will still breakout into small groups for discussion and engage in prayer; and everyone will still get to see my amazing Christian face (JK) alongside our youth and adult core team members. Just an FYI though, you will need to bring your own snacks. We have yet to purchase the Zoom package with smell-o vision.
For those teens attending High School in the fall, our Life Nights will also meet virtually, but we will traverse down a different subject path. If you have ever wondered what the church teaches about same-sex marriage; transgender; racism or why we pray to Mary and the saints, then I highly encourage you to join me and your Life Night adult leaders as we unpack these and more hot button topics. Our nights together will also include small group discussions, prayer and games to lighten the mood.
New details for the 2020-21 year are now available. Letters, a 2020-21 Registration Form, and calendar were sent to the residene of all registered teens and parishioners of St. Barbara, Sacred Heart and Ascension parishes.
I do ask for your continued prayers as we traverse down this new path that seems to be ever changing. Your support of our parish community means a great deal to me, as does your specific support and love for our youth ministry here at St. Barbara. If you know me, you know I am a people person in every sense of the word. I thrive being around others and I have a huge love for Christ and these young people of our community. While I do not want to be behind a screen serving you for the remainder of 2020, I do realize this is what God is calling me to do for his people. Like God never abandons us, I will not abandon you. I intend to be here with you every step of the way. Please reach out to me at any time with any questions in the Parish Office or by email at email@example.com.
Stay strong, be brave and hold onto hope. God is good … all the time! My assured prayers to you and your families,
Elisa A. Esasky
Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry