Youth from 10 different parishes spent the day together in prayer, fun and fellowship, Oct. 5 for the retreat in Bellerose. (Photos: Melissa Enaje)
BELLEROSE — It took more than nine months of planning, but for the first time, the “One Youth Rally” retreat on Oct. 5 brought together teens from the 10 different Queens parishes within Deanery 5 for a a variety of opportunities for the youth to grow in their faith.
“The beautiful theme that we came up with ‘One’ was that we’re one in Christ, one with the Church and one with each other,” Father Kevin McBrien said.
The pastor from Our Lady of Snows in N. Floral Park helped plan the event at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy. Father McBrien said he hopes the teens leave the retreat inspired to go forth with Christ in their hearts.
Dozens of youth swapped screen time on their smartphones on a Saturday in order to participate in Eucharistic adoration with Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto, reconciliation with different diocesan priests and an afternoon Mass.
The day was led by emcee and youth minister Brandon Morel from Sacred Heart Church in Bayside.
“The goal with them is to create that connection and hopefully plant a little seed that as they go forward back into their parishes, back into their youth groups, they’ll just feel more connected to the Church and it’ll help their youth groups grow from that,” Morel said.
Teens also heard from a keynote speaker before discussing their faith during small group sessions. After the breakout sessions and lunch, the teens had time to enjoy the sunshine and play outside.
Adrian Codrington, a sophomore in high school, attended the retreat with his brother Aaron and a couple of their friends from Our Lady of the Snows’ youth group. Codrington said the event was fun and provided an outlet where he can talk about topics like religion.
“It’s something that creates common ground to discuss in comparison to school,” Codrington said. “There’s a lot of diversity, having a group of people who are the same helps to discuss a little bit more.”