ELIZABETH, NJ — A group of young Archdiocese of Newark parishioners volunteered to assist with maintenance projects at Immaculate Conception Church in Elizabeth on Saturday, July 31. 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 that offers one-day service immersion experiences to archdiocesan teens from Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.
The participating high school students — who are all enrolled in a parish youth group or confirmation program — mopped floors, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed carpets, washed windows and completed a variety of other cleaning work in the parish’s three buildings. They were joined by Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo, the archdiocese auxiliary bishop representing Union County, who blessed the teens and led them in prayer.
“I’m sure these young people had plenty of things they could have done on a Saturday, so it says a lot that they were willing to use their free time to put their faith into practice,” Lorenzo said. “They truly lived Jesus’s example of service by helping a parish in need. I hope the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry provides more opportunities to follow Christ’s path like this in the future. And I pray the teens leave this experience having learned the value of assisting others, even if they are strangers or people from completely different backgrounds.”
The day of service at Immaculate Conception Church was the third of four Days in the Diocese planned for this summer. The first two were at parishes in Hudson and Essex counties, while the final one will take place at an archdiocesan site in Bergen County.
“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