Sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville, NY, the November 2018 Youth Preaching Weekend welcomed sixteen new “ Youth Preachers” to the Dominican Family.
Students from St. Agnes Academic HS, College Point, NY and Good Shepherd Parish Youth Group in Holbrook, NY excitedly arrived St. John the Baptist High School Retreat on a Friday evening to begin a weekend of prayer, study, community, and mission.
These students were the latest group who attended one of our Youth Preaching Workshops. Since the workshops began in 2001, they have served over 1,000 students, ages 13-18, in 60+ workshops. The workshop encourages students to fulfill their own baptismal call to “Preach the Word of God, in all things they do” by using the gifts and talents that have been given to them by our loving God.”
The weekend began with an introduction to the Dominican Pillar of Community as the students shared a meal and began to get to know each other.
Another Dominican Pillar, Prayer, was experienced in a unique and exciting opening prayer service in which participants and facilitators were asked to bring water from their homes and schools. The water was poured into a single bowl, illustrating our coming together with one another. This water was then blessed and used in turn to bless one another. So began the journey of young Dominican preachers.
Merriam Webster defines the word “preach” as “deliver a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church.” One of the most important takeaways from the workshop for the participants was that there are so many ways to preach the Good News beyond the pulpit.
Throughout the second day students attended breakout sessions on preaching through drama, art, music, and dance. The highlight of the day was the chance to meet some of the retired sisters for an ice cream social. This was an opportunity to converse with the sisters and learn from the many ways the sisters have preached so beautifully with their lives.
Listening to the students reflect on the workshops, one can hear the hunger and desire in their hearts for a relationship and opportunity to come closer to God. The Dominican Youth Movement USA is blessed to be able to provide a venue to foster and ignite that relationship.
Each of these workshops concludes with Sunday liturgy at the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville’s Motherhouse in which the students plan and participate in the various parts of the liturgy. The youth are given an opportunity to use their newly awakened preaching skills by reading from scripture, bringing up the gifts, reading the intercessions, as well as leading the congregation in the responsorial psalm in song and liturgical movement.
Year after year participants continue to find the weekends spiritual and prayerful, and most excitingly, many of these new Youth Preachers stay connected to the Dominican Youth Movement USA after experiencing these weekends. Some even return to future workshops as mentors and have the opportunity to lead a new group of youth preachers. Many of these youth preachers will attend the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference in Michigan, which continues to empower students to discover and deepen the preacher within through prayer, study, community, and the Dominican Family.
The Dominican Family is grateful for their presence among us and the ways in which they stay connected.