Beginnings at the End…

Because of the rapid-fire nature of the events of the last few weeks, we haven’t had a chance to blog about one event that I think is very important for the future of the House of Brigid.

From its beginning, members of the House have hoped to start a youth group–some church-based activity for secondary-school-aged students, combining community-building with catechesis. But different things have come up to prevent that from happening. With no secondary school actually falling within the parish boundaries, it’s been difficult to get any students together to even invite to something like this.

So the first year’s group began working with younger children in the primary schools, hoping that these children would grow up just a little more comfortable in the church. The second year’s group began working with the Confirmation students, who in addition to preparing for that sacrament are preparing for their transition from primary to secondary school. This year, we’ve continued both of those things, hoping that by the end of the year we would be able to invite some of these students to some sort of kickoff event.

And two weekends ago, somewhere in between the Folk Choir’s visit and our own little pilgrimage, we did just that. We especially invited this year’s Confirmation students to a Mass where, Confirmation complete, they could come take their place as adults in the community. About 12 students–all of whom know the House of Brigid from Class Masses, the Family Liturgy Group, or “You Shall Be My Witnesses”–came to two rehearsals in order to provide the music for one of our Vigil Masses. And after that Mass, we gathered about 20 students to watch a faith-related episode of Simpsons, share some snacks, discuss faith a little bit, and mostly just be together. It’s a model we hope will continue next year, probably on a once-a-month basis at first, but perhaps more often, eventually.

Some of these students were the ones we expected to show up–like the very first cantor from the very first Class Mass in 2009. Others, like the one whose attention we couldn’t seem to engage on his Confirmation retreat just a few weeks ago, were a surprise. But all of them were anxious to make sure they’d hear about the first similar event next year, and each of them was, for me, a sign of hope.

I’ve felt for several months that this year’s Confirmation class was the right one with whom to start an endeavor like this. Their participation in their preparatory sessions was wonderful, and their parents are remarkably generous. I also don’t think that it’s any coincidence that this year’s 6th-class students are the 4th-class students from the first year of Teach Bhride. The seeds that Season 1 was hoping to plant 3 years ago are starting to show their fruit, and I now stand at the humbling point of being grateful for the work of the past and excited for the work of the future.

  • Steve Warner

    What a joy it is to read these wors, Jessica! I hope we can talk more about this when we get back together again in the States.

    We’re in Rome now, at Villa Irlanda. It is the hottest we’ve experienced all summer …. Real summer weather for a change!