BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A group of young Archdiocese of Newark parishioners volunteered to assist with maintenance projects at Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield on July 24. Their efforts were part of “Days in the Diocese,” a new summer program presented by the archdiocese’s Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry; the program offers one-day service immersion experiences to archdiocesan teens throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.
The participating high school students — who are all enrolled in a parish youth group or Confirmation program — dusted and washed the floors in 16 classrooms, removed furniture from the old convent, filled a 30-yard dumpster with garbage, and completed a variety of other cleaning work in the church basement and school auditorium. They were joined by Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, the archdiocesan auxiliary bishop representing Essex County, who blessed the teens and led them in prayer.
“In his First Epistle to Timothy, Paul said, ‘Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity,’” Cruz said. “The teens I met today truly embody this verse. By giving up their free time during the summer to help a parish in need, they’re showing people of all ages how Jesus wants us to act.”
The Saturday of service at Sacred Heart Church was the second of four “Days in the Diocese” planned for this summer.
“I hope the teens realize they can make a difference,” said Rich Donovan, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry’s associate director for events and training. “A lot of people say teens are the Church of tomorrow, but they are very much the Church of today. They’re very important. But, if we don’t get them involved through programs like ‘Days in the Diocese’ and show them how significant they are, they may not be here tomorrow.”
Photos Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Newark