Working with the high school and middle school teens of this parish has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding decisions of my life. From the outside looking in, it may seem like the vast majority of time at youth group is spent eating pizza and playing games, but there is so much more than that happening at any one of our Life Teen or Edge nights here at All Saints. Each of these nights, while pizza and games are often involved, are all opportunities for the youth of the parish to encounter Christ, sometimes in a completely new way.
Our nights and curriculums cover a vast range of topics, from the lives of individual saints, to Catholic teaching on relevant current events, connections between scripture and the mass, and much more, but these teachings are all different avenues of achieving the same goal: giving the young men and women of our parish the opportunity to encounter the living God. To that end, I can honestly say that there is nothing more exciting and fulfilling in this world than being able to witness the moment when a young person falls in love with Jesus Christ. That is what is at the heart of this ministry.
One event that offers just a brief “snapshot” of everything that happens within the program is the end of the year lock-in. It is easily one of the most tiring nights of the whole year, but also one of the most fun and rewarding. To spare the vast majority of details, most of the lock-in is exactly what you would expect, games, movies, bounce houses, capture the flag, the classics. However, what made this year’s event so special was the fact that during the middle of the night, around 11:30pm, after capture the flag had ended and before we inflated the big projector screen for the movie in the gym, we offered adoration and confession in the Church.
First, it was amazing to see the priests willing to get up and come out for something that late in the evening, but it was equally amazing to see how many of the teens (and volunteers) entered into that time of prayer and availed themselves of the sacrament, even in the chaos of the lock-in, when that invitation was extended. In that moment I was reminded so much of how God continues to call us deeper into relationship with Him, no matter what is happening around us. He is there in the joys and sorrows of life, but He is also there in the middle of late-night conversations and time spent playing games with friends. Our faith is beautiful in that way. God wants to be present and part of our lives no matter what is going on, and He is always there, waiting for us to allow Him in more completely.
Our Life Teen and Edge programs are amazing resources for the teens of this parish but also for the adults who volunteer. We, Jessica Duron and myself, have collected just a few quotes from some of the teens who currently are or have been active members of these programs and asked them what being involved meant to them. This is what they had to say:
“Life Teen is a community like none other. It gives people the opportunity to make new connections with others from different schools and backgrounds which is a gift very few other programs can offer.”
“I have enjoyed the past year very much. I have made a lot more friends and have gotten closer to my other friends. I learned so much more about my religion and have gotten closer to God. I look forward to the next couple of years and doing more fun activities with Life Teen.”
“For me Life Teen is all about connections. The bonds between other teens, leaders, and God himself are truly like none other and keep me coming back week after week.”
All teens and young people are welcome to our events. We would love to have you join us. Likewise, if anyone over the age of 21 reads this and feels something stirring inside of them that this might be a ministry that you are interested in becoming involved with, please email us at email@example.com. We would love to discuss the possibilities with you.
Life Teen/Confirmation/EDGE Coordinator
Fear and anxiety are trying to take hold of us. As Christians, we know that God doesn’t want this for us…or at least he doesn’t want us to face them on our own. He is always by our side, giving us the tools to battle them. But are our eyes open to Him?
Three years ago, I sat in the pew during Mass as a glorified jungle gym. I was doing my best to keep my children quiet and reverent, but I was full of the anxiety of judgment. I looked around the sanctuary, and I didn’t recognize one person. I felt alone. I wanted to enjoy the Mass to its fullest potential, but I was only going through the motions of our Catholic faith. I wanted more for myself and for my family, but I was fearful of where to begin.
While having coffee with a fellow parishioner, she shared her experience of attending the Women’s Welcome Retreat (formally CRHP). She was positively glowing from being ignited by the Holy Spirit. Hearing her talk about the women she met and experience she had made me want the same for myself. The Holy Spirit was tapping me on the shoulder, but fear and anxiety tried to creep in again. How was I going to make time for a weekend retreat with two small children, a busy work schedule, and a million activities? But God knew I needed to put myself first. So, I signed up for the retreat, and everything I worried about fell into place. He had taken care of it all.
The Welcome Retreat was the renewal of my faith and relationship with God that I was looking for. Every meal time conversation, every small group discussion, every group activity was filled with warmth and connection. I had found a group of faith-filled women to share my fear and anxieties with. Not only was I no longer alone, they reminded me that the love and support I was seeking and feeling was from the Lord.
Until I attended the retreat, I hadn’t knowingly experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. But as I reflected on the weekend, He was there every step of the way. Now, I spend more time praying, reading the Bible, and seeking out religious experiences. Knowing that God is supporting my every step, my fear and anxiety have lifted. And the best part is that I am not the only one benefiting! I have become a better wife, mother, friend, and parishioner.
So, in conclusion, I ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede in the hearts of the women in our parish. Ask for them to be given the courage to sign up for the Women’s Welcome Retreat this September. To take the step to become the best-version-of-themselves, to grow in community with the women of our parish, and to experience the amazing power of the Lord, our God.
May God bless you!
Erin Wang, Spiritual Director
Women’s Welcome Retreat: September 17-18, 2022
“Do not fear: I am with you, do not be anxious. I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“The Legion of Mary! What a perfectly chosen name”! Pope Pius XI
Last August in 2021, the Legion of Mary had a world-wide celebration of 100 years of service. We were fortunate to have Msgr. Marren celebrate this special event at All Saints Catholic Church.
From its humble beginning in Dublin, Ireland, the Legion of Mary has grown to become the largest Catholic lay apostolate in the world. The first Praesidium of the Legion of Mary was founded by Frank Duff on August 7, 1921. From that date until his death on November 7, 1980, he guided the world-wide extension of the Legion with immense dedication. His insight into the role of the Blessed Virgin, and the mission of the church are reflected in the Legion Handbook.
The objectives of the Legion of Mary are as follows:
The personal sanctification of its members, who, taking Mary as their role model strive to imitate her virtues of Faith, Charity, and Humility.
The spread of devotion to Mary primarily by encouraging the recitation of the rosary. (Mary’s request at Fatima).
The performance of apostolic work under the direction of our pastor.
We currently have two different types of membership available: Active and Auxiliary. The only requirement is a willingness to fulfill each duty which membership in the Legion requires.
One of the most rewarding gifts you receive with membership is the special bond you share with our Blessed Mother. Legionaries from around the world all cherish this gift. We strive to foster this in the hearts, and souls of all those we meet.
Being involved in the Legion of Mary has helped me grow closer to Jesus through Mary. Mary tells us at the wedding of Cana “do whatever He tells you”. The request sounds so simple, yet it’s so difficult to fulfill. Through prayer we can discern what God is calling us to do. It’s not always easy following Jesus. The journey can be long, and difficult. In my heart I know God is calling me to be part of the Legion. We all need strength for the journey. Perhaps, the strength is found in each other. To understand, and encourage each other along the way. Finally, to discover what God is calling us to do.
Our presidium meets every Wednesday in the parish library at 7:30pm. Anyone who loves praying the rosary, and has a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother is welcome to attend. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to learn more.
By Kathy Richardson
Q: What do a Bishop from Sri Lanka, a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (and former private secretary of Pope St. John Paul II), orphans in the D.R. Congo, and seminarians studying in Africa and Asia have in common?
A: They are all recipients of support from the generous parishioners of All Saints!
Over the years, All Saints parishioners, through the leadership and support of Msgr. Marren, have participated in collections to support the work of bishops, priests, and missionaries worldwide to empower the poor and share the gospel of Jesus Christ through partnership with Catholic World Mission (CWM).
Through parish appeals and as donors of Catholic World Mission, All Saints parishioners have supported building orphanages, water wells, churches, and schools. Beyond construction projects, parishioners have also supported evangelization efforts and the physical and educational nourishment of school children and orphans. Additionally, All Saints has supported the formation of seminarians worldwide through CWM’s Seminarian Support Program. Some of our All Saints parishioners and clergies, including Father Dan, Monsignor Fennessy, and myself, have traveled to visit these projects (such as those in Ghana, Jamaica, and Mexico for example).
Aside from taking collections, All Saints has housed many international CWM partners in the rectory when visiting the U.S. For example, All Saints has hosted several bishops such as Bishop Harry Perera (Sri Lanka), Archbishops George Antonysamy and Filipe Neri (India), Bishop Pierre Celestin (D.R. Congo), Archbishop John Kwofie (Ghana), and Archbishop Emery Kabongo – the canon of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and former private secretary of the late Pope Saint John Paul II. All Saints has also welcomed Superiors of religious orders and priests, including our beloved Father Anthony Eshun (Ghana). And who could forget our current visitors, Msgr. Simon Assamoah (Ghana) and Father Donatien (D.R. Congo).
If you visit CWM’s website (www.CatholicWorldMission.org), you will find one of its unique programs: giving out monstrances (for free) to parishes worldwide to promote Eucharistic adoration. Many of you may not be aware that the idea of giving out monstrances came from our very own, Msgr. Marren! Thank you, Msgr. Marren!
Together, CWM and All Saints have done so much to live out the call to discipleship and build out God’s Kingdom on earth. Thanks to your generosity, we have done so much for the poor around the world by providing both material and spiritual support to communities that need them most. We have taken the love, concern, and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ to so many people and places.
On behalf of the board of Directors of Catholic World Mission, its staff, and myself, the Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and your deacon, I send our DEEPEST GRATITUDE. Words cannot express our appreciation for your continued generosity. We cannot thank you enough; only the good Lord can thank you sufficiently.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Deacon Rick Medina
Executive Director of Catholic World Mission
To see the pictures and videos of your generosity, please visit www.CatholicWorldMission.org.
When Msgr. Marren asked me to write about my experiences at All Saints, I decided to offer you one of the most impactful experiences, namely, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
We are taught from a young age that God is everywhere and that Jesus is in our heart always. These simple truths help us know God’s closeness at the earliest of ages. Human beings have a need for companionship – family, friends, co-workers – the physical presence of others in our lives. God, in His wisdom, gives us His physical presence in Adoration, a unique and tangible way to be with Him outside of Mass. This is one of those “ministries” where God does the ministering. You don’t have to prep for it by reading or studying or researching. He does the work. I remember once when a new Guardian signed up for my hour. Gregg was completely new to what Adoration was about, and he spoke with the Adoration Coordinator for some tips and then started his first week. After about three weeks, I asked Gregg how it was going. And he said it was good, but he didn’t know if he was really doing it right. I said there wasn’t really a “right” way to do Adoration, you just – and he chimed right in finishing the sentence, “show up.” Bingo. What took me years to figure out, this guy gets in a few weeks. If you asked fifty different Guardians how they spent their Adoration time, you’d get fifty different answers. God guides everyone differently and does the work. As Gregg said, you just “show up.
Adoration has enriched my life by increasing my trust in God. Why would anyone spend their precious time sitting in front of a piece of bread if He wasn’t really there? We show up and He’s always there. With every problem and decision we bring to him, He’s there making lemonade out of our lemons even when we discern incorrectly.
This spills over into a greater trust in the power of the other sacraments as well. I don’t know why, but it does. If He’s there on the altar in Adoration, He’s there in the Mass. He’s there in the Confessional. He’s there in the Anointing and all the rest. Jesus is no less present than the priests as He works through them in the sacraments. I remember going through a long and difficult family situation. I can only credit Adoration for getting me through this time. Somewhere along the way, I had to cede control to the Lord and trust. As we all know, this is not easy and often has to be done over and over. He does the work. We just have to show up.
Before COVID we had Adoration every day at All Saints, and I was the “Friday Coordinator,” which was code for “make sure people show up on Fridays.” This was an easy job as the Friday Team was as devoted a bunch as they come. I remember one couple suffered a devastating family loss, and a substitute filled their hour that week. The following week, amid the heartbreak and pain, there they were back in Adoration covering their time slot and kneeling before the Lord. What a striking witness this was for me of persevering faith in Him and the power of His presence in Adoration.
A Guardian once told me he always prayed his best when he was in Adoration. At home, when he prayed, there were a thousand distractions that tended to creep in. The silence, the presence of Jesus right there in front of you, the peace – these helped his prayer life tremendously. You and me both, brother! The journey continues for all of us. What a gift to have the Eucharist as the source of our Catholic faith. What a blessing to have Adoration at All Saints to help us live this faith to the full. And all we have to do is show up!
By Kitty Moots