Dear Editor: Gratitude and thanks are due to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, Paul Morisi and the Generations of Faith Fund.
As we just celebrated Thanksgiving and are beginning Advent, I have reflected with a grateful heart on the blessing of the Catholic Youth Ministry Initiative, which I directly get to see the fruits of on a daily basis. I am one of dozens that are employed to work in the parishes and schools of our Diocese as a coordinator of youth ministry. This Initiative was started by Bishop DiMarzio a few years ago, was brought to life by Msgr. Gigantiello, animated by Paul Morisi and is funded through the Catholic Foundation, by the people of the Diocese who pledged and paid to the Generations of Faith.
Working with youth has been a blessing and a challenge for me but through this initiative, all full-time ministers are gathered monthly to network, be formed, supported, encouraged and held accountable to outreach and help the young Church. We get a chance to pray, get trained by professional youth minsters from around the country. What a gift and I don’t know how a new Youth Minister could learn, grow and thrive without this program, support and funding!
Recently, I was able to take eight youth and adults to the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. It was a tremendous experience of God and the bigger Church, 25,000 young people from all over the USA. This mission experience themed, Called, would have not been possible without the financial support of the Initiative.
I do have one anxiety, what happens when the campaign is over and there is no more money left? You can continue to help this great cause and make sure that never happens anytime soon!
Editor’s Note: Wodzanowski is the coordinator of youth ministry for St. Athanasius, St. Dominic, and St. Mary, Mother of Jesus parishes in Bensonhurst.