Bronx Parish Planning Gatherings of Faith, Fun for Youth

| 04/11/2024

By: Armando Machado

Holy Cross Church is giving the initiatives “the highest importance”

Father Vincent Druding leads the faithful in prayer in a Jesus in Zion gathering during Lent 2023 at Holy Cross Church in the Bronx.
Father Vincent Druding leads the faithful in prayer in a Jesus in Zion gathering during Lent 2023 at Holy Cross Church in the Bronx. Photo by Armando Machado/ The Good Newsroom

Holy Cross Church in the Bronx, will soon host two gatherings for young people: Easter for Children, on Sunday April 14, a combination formation and fun event; and for teens, the parish’s Youth Spring Retreat, from Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5.

The gathering for grade-school students is part of Holy Cross’s Year of Children 2024. The celebration will start with the 12:30 p.m. Mass, followed by lunch in the cafeteria of Holy Cross School, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2023. Then, under the leadership of James Marci, the school’s physical education teacher, all will be invited to enjoy activities, games, and competition with prizes on the parish property (in the school gym if it rains), in English.             

Organizers said the weekend retreat for teens 13 to 18 will take place in the parish’s Retreat House, which is on the parish grounds. It will include fellowship, talks, testimony, recreation, praise, and worship, Eucharistic Adoration, and a Mass. The event will be led by Father Vincent Druding, Holy Cross parochial vicar, along with Jayris Hernandez, the parish youth minister for high school students, a worship band, several speakers, and volunteers.        

“Holy Cross declared 2024 to be ‘the Year of Children’ for us because to a large extent, the Church has lost contact with youth and children. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them.’ We give the highest importance to making sure that this desire of Jesus is fulfilled,” Holy Cross Pastor Father John Higgins, told The Good Newsroom

Father Higgins noted that recent “sobering statistics” from the New York archdiocesan Office of Youth Faith Formation showed that “only one out of eight young people under 18 who identify as Catholic are within any of our programs or schools. So, these initiatives are an attempt to extend the reach of Christ through the Church.”

“This is very important, because in the Christian life, community is everything…In the youth group, you see the love that everybody has for each other; it’s like a family. It’s what inspired me to join ministry – to get more people to experience the love of Christ…And community does that; we have a community to walk with them – like the disciples, the disciples had each other,” Ashley Sierra, 18, one of the youth retreat servers, said.

Sierra is a sophomore at NYU, studying to become a social worker. She was a Holy Cross youth ministry member while in high school and now serves as a ministry volunteer. 

Holy Cross Church is located at 600 Soundview Ave., the Bronx. For retreat registration and general information call the parish: (718) 893-5550.

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