September 1, 2019 - Pastor Message09/20/2019
“Then children were brought to Jesus that he might lay hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 1314).
Jesus always had a special place in his heart for children and young people, offering them a special blessing, holding them up as an example of the kind of faith we need to have as his disciples, and inviting us to call God, the Father, “Abba,” literally translated, “Daddy.” The new life present in children serves as a powerful symbol of the newness of life that he came to bring, and their simple, trusting faith reminds us of the relationship Jesus desires with all of us.
As Christ’s Church, we too are called to hold the children and young people of our community in special regard. Without seeking to place any blame, unfortunately this has not always been the case here at St. Boniface. One of the most common, and most well founded, concerns voiced by our families and parishioners is that we do not have the most effective faith formation and youth ministry. We thank Sister Rose Kuzma, who recently retired after ten years of faithful service, for her efforts to serve the children and young people of our parish. We now need to move in a new direction.
We have already taken the first steps by beginning to shift our religious education program in the direction of family-centered faith formation. This approach moves away from the outdated classroom model and puts parents and families squarely in the driver’s seat of their children’s faith formation. We now need to coordinate that effort with solid youth ministry.
We are grateful to have a young mother who by both personal experience and professional training understands the unique challenges families face today to lead us forward in this new adventure. I am pleased to introduce our new Director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry, Mrs. Jeanne Yaple. Mrs. Yaple is a familiar face to many here as she has served as the second grade/ First Penance and Reconciliation catechist in our religious education program for three years. She also has experience in Catholic education, including time as a kindergarten teacher at St. Boniface School and a third grade/First Holy Communion teacher at Villa Maria Elementary. I thank Mrs. Yaple for coming forward and taking on this challenging yet rewarding task. I have already been deeply impressed by her enthusiasm and willingness to dive right in to get things going. Please stay tuned for more information and for the great things I have full confidence will follow from Mrs. Yaple’s work, and please listen for God’s call in your own life if you can help get the effective ministry our children and young people need off the ground here at St. Boniface.
Fr. Marc Stockton