Middle Schoolers Engage in Spiritual Enrichment during College Football Gameday

DSC_0044 Good Shepard Middle School Youth Group
In a football town during any game day, the majority of the population can be found tailgating and partying before and during the game. Especially, when the home team is ranked the highest it’s been in years and we are playing our biggest arch rival. Today, Tallahassee is hosting FSU vs Miami. As for the middle schoolers of Good Shepard Catholic Church, you will not find them at the football fiestas, but rather at the church in Christian fellowship, participating in acts of faith, and in prayerful evaluation of self.

When the pastor saw the large turn out, Fr. Mike Foley smiled and said,  “It’s a blessing to see the presence and vitality coming from the youth.” More than 60 middle schoolers participated in the over night retreat. It was a true joy to be around the youth as they ran between different stations of activities that demonstrated works of mercy. The young teenagers were very excited to be learning more about themselves and their faith. “This is evidence and proof that the Spirit of God is still active and alive working in the church. The youth will be witness for the world,” Fr. Tom Dillon.

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The retreat was full of fun things to do, spiritual engagement, religious education, arts and crafts, and they even watched some video clips from World Youth Day Brazil 2013. Deacon Tom McBrearty provided a short talk about his efforts in prison ministry. During questions from the audience, he assured the middle schoolers, “we are all called to love God and sometimes it takes some good time to learn that.” Then, the middle schoolers choose names from a list of inmates who the deacon ministers to and wrote them personal Christmas cards with very short witnesses of faith.

Reactions from the youth about the weekend:

 “The best part about being here is experiencing the love of Jesus with my friends and meeting new brothers and sisters of Christ. Hashtag OMG #CatholicSwag.” – 8th grade girl

 “Adoration was really really… like really cool. Being there with God… He made me feel like He took all my troubles away and, at that moment, nothing else mattered.” – 8th grade boy

 “I love the feeling after confession and during adoration. #GodIsAwesome.” – 7th grade girl

 “Regular people can be saintly too. You don’t have to be the same religion to learn about other groups of faith.” – 7th grade boy

 “This weekend was great. I learned that it’s better to light a single candle than to be mad at the darkness.” – 6th grade girl

 “It was cool that the minister from prison told us that he sees inmates becoming Christians even while they are in prison.” – 6th grade boy  

DSC_0165 Tryptichs made by the youth and Christmas cards to inmates

By Benjamin Horbowy

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