By Sister Gina Fleming, OP
Nov. 16–17, eight students from St. Agnes Academic High School (College Point, New York) came to St. John the Baptist High School (West Islip, New York) for a weekend of prayer, study, and the forming of community. These students were the latest group to attend one of our youth preaching workshops. They learned how to bring to life their baptismal call to “preach the Good News” by using the gifts and talents that have been given to them by our loving God.
One of the highlights is when the students visited the Amityville Dominican Sisters’ motherhouse on Saturday and joined the retired sisters for an ice cream social. This is a fun event for all who participate. These young people are hungering for any opportunity to come closer to God. One need only listen to their reflections during our prayer times to hear the hunger in their hearts for relationship to the Divine! How blessed are we to be able to provide a venue to foster and ignite that relationship.
The participants continue to find the weekends very spiritual, prayerful, and a great deal of fun. Most importantly, many stay connected to us after experiencing the weekend. Some return as youth mentors and have the opportunity to lead a new group of young preachers, some have volunteered on the third and fourth floors, and still others continue to write Advent and Lenten reflections on our congregational website. Many of these same young people will attend this year’s National High School Preaching Conference in Michigan. However they choose to stay connected, we are grateful for their presence among us.
I am forever grateful for the continued presence and assistance with these weekends by Sisters Denise Haviland, Barbara Schwarz, and Irene Weiner. I am also grateful for the willingness of our sisters who reside here in the motherhouse to come and join us for some quality time. I am sure that all would agree that these programs have been a blessing to the participants, the committee, and also to the congregation-at-large in whose name the programs continue.
If any group is interested in participating in these weekends, please contact me. All high school-age students are welcome.
Sister Gina is the co-director of the National College Preaching Conference and the Promoter of Youth for the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, New York. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org