NEWARK, NJ — The Office for Youth & Young Adult Ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark recently launched its new “Days in the Diocese” program, which offers one-day service immersion experiences to archdiocesan teens throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.
High school students enrolled in a parish youth group or Confirmation program will volunteer for service projects at one of four locations. Every site represents a different county served by the Archdiocese. Projects will include cleaning windows, moving furniture, washing floors, and a variety of other maintenance and landscaping work at churches and the soon-to-be-opened Hackensack location of Mercy House.
For their efforts, the teenagers will receive a blessing from the Archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops — who will be present at their county’s site — in addition to the reward of knowing they have made an impact in their own backyard.
“You don’t need to go on a mission trip in a foreign country for a week to do service,” said Rich Donovan, the Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry’s associate director for events and training. “Through this experience, the teens will learn there is always something that can be done in their own parish or community. And they’re going to see they can do a lot of good locally just by volunteering for a few hours.”
Upcoming “Days in the Diocese” are: Saturday, July 24, at Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield with Bishop Manuel A. Cruz; Saturday, July 31, at Immaculate Conception Church in Elizabeth with Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo; and Saturday, Aug. 7, at Mercy House in Hackensack with Bishop Michael A. Saporito.
“I hope the teens realize they can make a difference,” Donovan said. “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.”
“Days in the Diocese” kicked off with a Saturday of service at Our Lady of Sorrows/Christ the King Church in Jersey City on July 17. A group of young parishioners gathered there to assist with various upkeep projects. Bishop Gregory J. Studerus was also on-hand to greet the teens and lead them in prayer.
“Catholics of every age are called to serve God’s children, so it warmed my heart to see the Archdiocese’s young people giving up their free time to help a parish in need,” Studerus said. “It goes to show, today’s youth are still committed to their faith despite the rising secularization of society.”
For more information, visit https://www.newarkoym.com/.