Blessing bags were donated to Michigan City area homeless courtesy of teens from Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. The teens assembled the packages, which contain everyday essential hygiene items and snacks, during a new, week-long program called Ignite. Aside from giving back to the community, the group of 21 teens had opportunities to grow in faith and fellowship. Activities throughout the week of July 16-20 included a bonfire, a Mass and penance service with Father Kevin Huber, SoulCore prayer and stretching, a visit from the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and a film on St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Diocese of Gary seminarians Ivan Alatorre, David Martinez, and Deacon Delcan McNicholas visited throughout the week. “We often treat teens as if they are the future of the Church,” commented McNicholas. “The reality is that they are the present. We want them fully active now.”
Ignite participant Luke Heitmann, age 15, saw the event as a place to meet others who share his faith background. Mae Bardusk, 13, most enjoyed learning about St. Ignatius of Loyola through an evening film. The bonfire was a favorite activity of Drew Oss, age 12.
Ashley Kopp, a Queen of All Saints parishioner, volunteered at the program. “My son has expressed interest in pursuing the vocation of priesthood,” she said. “Any opportunity I have to expose him to the faith is good.”
Ignite was organized by Alysha Fath, chair of the Spirituality and Worship Commission, and local middle school teacher. “We see our youth attendance at church functions drop off after the sacrament of Confirmation,” explained Fath. “I wanted to create an event to keep teens engaged; this fit in well with the Diocese of Gary’s synod initiatives regarding youth too.” Fath said this will not be the last teen event at Queen of All Saints, and hopes to create a schedule for the coming year involving both social and formational opportunities.
The event was free of charge, and Fath wishes to thank the volunteers who donated their time and also parishioners for donating snacks and supplies. Holly’s Restaurant donated popcorn for the movie night as well.
Queen of All Saints Catholic Church is located at 606 S. Woodland Ave. in Michigan City, IN. For more information, visit www.qas.org or call (219) 872-9196.