By Brithney Rivera
I attended my first Jornadista Mass at Epiphany Church in Williamsburg. Although I am not a Jornadista, I attended to observe what it’s like to be a part of the Jornada Movement through one of their special events this year – a Halloween Costume Drive for families living in shelters.
I saw the way Jornadistas continue to carry out their mission as a community to encourage other people around their age to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and learn about His love.
I’ll admit when I first arrived at the church I was extremely nervous. I didn’t recognize anyone there.
However, I quickly realized a large amount of youth present and the dedication they had when organizing donations they had brought in themselves. I saw how close-knit the Jornadistas were and how they truly enjoyed being there, not by pressure but by their own accord.
I started to relax because even though I may not have known any of them personally, it helped to see people around my age having fun and showing how much they wanted to be there. After all, they were teenagers just like me.
I spoke to Jornada President Melanie Feliciano and Vice President Juan Rosa. Melanie spoke to me about how she decided to become a Jornadista when she was 17 years old and Juan discussed how their role of leadership in the community is to inspire others to become Jornadistas as well.
They wish to inspire others to dedicate time and do good deeds for God and our brothers and sisters. Melanie was also a part of the chorus, singing songs directed toward the youth with a lively rhythm.
The music even transported me back to when I was a little girl with all my family members listening to the same type of music in a chapel in Puerto Rico. The music played in the Jornadista Mass made me feel more comfortable and at peace, spreading the good news of God.
Love God, Love Others
The Halloween Costume Drive allowed me to look through the lens of Jornadistas taking action in the name of God for others. Jornadista Saida Colon works for Ricky’s NYC and asked her company to donate to the Costume Drive. She expected perhaps one or two boxes, but instead received six!
Eighty costumes were donated by Ricky’s NYC and will be given to children who wish to participate in Halloween festivities.
“If I’m able to help, I want to do so,” said Colon. “It was something that needed to be done.”
I.D. Rodriguez donated a princess costume and said she enjoys helping the youth through the many drives the Jornadistas take charge of and how she finds joys in helping others regardless of age.
After the Mass and the Costume Drive, I was able to speak with Father James Kuroly. He expressed that being a Jornadista meant going on an adventure to find young people who can impact life in a positive way.
This experience has led me to think that perhaps I want to become a Jornadista as well and spread the love of God by helping others with that same love God gives to us every day of our lives.
Brithney Rivera is a parishioner at All Saints Church in Williamsburg.