Go And Preach The Gospel
Jesus entrusted me with the most precious mission in Ottawa of leading children to him, speaking about God, and forming young hearts. I started working in the school through the First Communion program after having participated in the Scouts. Scouts is particularly close to my heart as I was a member in my youth. The mission of this organization is to guide and educate youth in their integral development and in character building according to the Scouts values such as faith, patriotism, fraternity, friendship, service, work, justice, freedom, and peace.
In the last three months, with leaders Monika and Carolina as well as young girls from the ISKRA group, we worked on the Little Christian Program. Every Tuesday evenings, we held meetings divided in three parts: physical activity, thematic teaching, and crafts. The scouters learnt the meaning of being Christian. They discovered the lives of the first Christians. They deepened their awareness and capacity to listen to Jesus today. To aid them, we discovered the lives of the saints. The saints show us how to be open to God's grace and how they lived the Gospel. It is good to have friends among the saints. They can help us in our daily situations whether they be important or sometime difficult. For example, when we lose something, we can always count on a saint like Anthony of Padua! When we are in a tough spot, it is good to talk to Saint Rita. And when we are facing exams, let us ask Saint Stanisław Kostka's help. We have many friends! Each girl received her patron saint's image. They will intercede to God for each one and be a model towards holiness. During our meetings, we also learnt different prayers. The scouters made their own prayer books and rosaries. For a better understanding of the Scriptures, I told them some of Jesus' parables such as the Flight into Egypt, the Good Samaritan, the Lost Lamb, etc. We acted them out. Each meeting was filled with activities.
At the end of the program, we had a pilgrimage to the Polish church with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. We walked in the evening for more than an hour from the school to the church with lanterns, signing and praying. In the church, Father Tomasz blessed us, our prayer books, and our rosaries. Then, the parents treated us to chocolate and cakes. It was a lovely moment. We ended our program with a celebration where each girl received her badge for her participation and work. I am convinced that this time together will bear fruit in their lives of loving Jesus and serving others. I am grateful for this time spent together, for my mission, and for the wonderful people I met. I am especially grateful to God for his great love.
Agnieszka Pal, fmm
Day of gathering for the Synod on young people
Friday, September 28, 2018
On Friday, September 28 from 9 am to 5 pm, more than 150 participants gathered at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario in preparation for the synod on young people. Its theme was Faith And Vocational Discernment. Faith leaders, students, and those in ministries throughout Archdiocese of Ottawa attend this event. They spent the day sharing experiences, discerning their lives’ path and possibilities. The facilitator was Mark Slatter from the faculty of theology at Saint Paul University (SPU).
In the morning , the guest speaker was Dr. Regina Bibby. She gave an eloquent presentation on Canada’s Millennials: New life, New hope, New possibilities. It was thorough with facts, figures, and surveys from her research.
The afternoon was lighter with Jason Lamantia, SPU theology graduate student and Kerry Kronberg, Wesleyan Methodist minister and SPU theology student, sharing their personal stories of discernment and lessons learned. The students had time for group discussions, personal reflection, and a well-appreciated coffee break. From 3 to 3:45 pm, we had a panel on vocation and discerning God’s will. This was an opportunity for students to voice their questions and comments about the day’s theme. The panel members were Professor Karl Hefty, Sister Annette John, fmm, and Reverend Kerry Kronberg. During this exchange, the young adults raised their concerns, preoccupations, hopes, and dreams to the panelists with great faith, openness, and respect.
The day ended with a beautiful and meaningful celebration of the Eucharist by Christian Riesbeck, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Ottawa in de Mazenod chapel. The lively choir added an extra spark to the whole liturgy. The day was indeed a day of blessing for all the participants.
Annette John, fmm
An Annual Franciscan Gathering for Youth 18 to 30
Labour Day weekend, August 31 to Sept 2 2018
Rich in His Poverty was the theme of the 15th Fête des tentes that Arlene van Zyl, Agnieszka Pal, Maria Lich, and Vinosa Mary, our four FMM sisters were able to attend. The theme is a reference to the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”(2 Cor. 8:9) We attended several workshops during the weekend open to French-speaking young people interested in the Franciscan spirituality. We addressed the topics of voluntary simplicity, the religious vow of poverty, Laudato Si, & poverty in the bible. It was a joyful opportunity to share with other Franciscan religious communities also present and with young people passionate about their faith. A spring of thanksgiving is what remains in my heart after this experience.
Arlene van Zyl, fmm