Fan Into Flame the Gift of God Which Is In You
The young people of our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community are setting the church afire with their examples of faithfulness and excitement in learning and living the Gospel. When asked how they witness to their faith they are initially stumped and then they can identify helping others, bearing other’s problems, being peacemakers and studying to do well at school. This is not easy in a neighborhood where violence is ever present and others may drop out of school and family life. Sometimes there are problems and bumps in the road large and small. One family was struck with tragic illness of one member and these youngsters did more than children are expected to do in being there for that member and the stressed adult caretakers. Economic realities are hard yet these young people do not ask for much. They are clear that most important is love and they are grateful for their parents and grandparents. Most significant for the youth who have remained with us over the years is that adult family members come to church with them. They are not just sent, they are led by parents, grandparents, aunts and Godparents. Instead of withdrawing from church as so many do, they come to church faithfully and to our Sunday classes where they share their lives, share God’s love with all present, and work at learning how to follow Christ.
They are not fully aware of how much joy they bring into the lives of their church family members with their smiles, and participation in the liturgy and in the life of the church. We are happy to support them as they work hard at success in school and having fun as kids should have. Most recently we were amazed as all of our young people elected to move forward to Confirmation at the end of April, the week after Easter. (On Easter our three youngest children, the triplets who are 5 and a half, will be baptized).The enthusiasm of our youth led about ten of our adults to elect Confirmation as well. Yesterday we held a joint Confirmation class with the young people and the adults. As Timothy was told by Paul to fan the flame of the gift of God in him by the laying on of hands by Paul and the community, our young people are leading their elders into the laying on of hands and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit not only in Confirmation but in every day life. We are blessed with wonderful families and young people!
Nia, Kia and Ria Preparing for Baptism
LInda and Lili, Two of the Moms look on as the Youngsters prepare for Confirmation
Keion doing a good job!
Using our gifts
Joy in our Junior class
Efe Jane Cudjoe,Our Youth Leader and Pearl Cudjoe, Our Junior Class Teacher
This picture was taken at The Good Shepherd in mid-January before Efe Jane who is a Junior at Brown University left for Washington DC to prepare for a semester abroad. Efe,who is pre-med was chosen to go to Viet Nam, South Africa and Brazil to study community support for local medical centers. She will live with host families and we are sure that her joy and light will brighten their lives even as our lives are brightened by her. We are already looking forward to Efe’s return this summer to share her experiences with our youngsters.
Going to see Frozen and Play Miniature Glow Golf
Trying Something New Our Golfers with Pastor Judy B.
We thank God for our Good Shepherd youth! We also thank the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community of New Jersey with Pastors Mary Ann Schoettly,RCWP and Mike Corso for their generous support of our youth activities. Seven of our youngsters also led the procession with drums and liturgical dancing and carried the gifts in the recent Ordination of two women priests and two deacons in Sarasota on January 18,2014. Efe Jane Cudjoe was the Lector for the First Reading.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,but set an example for the believers in speech, in life,in love, in faith….” Tim 4:12
Let us pray for young people everywhere to enliven the church!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,ARCWP
Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Fort Myers, Florida