This picture is from Jovenes in Action's 2019’s play, “Ave Maria,” that related experiences and challenges of many school-age teenagers and children of immigrant parents. The scene in this photo shows a young lady receiving a phone call from a detention center after her parents were detained and preparing for deportation. Despite the circumstances, the young  lady never lost faith and was accompanied by her best friend, who she later discovered was Jesus.  Courtesy photo
This picture is from Jovenes in Action's 2019’s play, “Ave Maria,” that related experiences and challenges of many school-age teenagers and children of immigrant parents. The scene in this photo shows a young lady receiving a phone call from a detention center after her parents were detained and preparing for deportation. Despite the circumstances, the young lady never lost faith and was accompanied by her best friend, who she later discovered was Jesus. Courtesy photo
As a way to communicate life lessons to youth, Diane Cardona, youth minister in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, has turned to playwriting and the stage for assistance.

Each January for the past five years, Cardona has scripted a bilingual play that members of the Cathedral youth group, Jóvenes in Action (Youth in Action), present to the public.

The main idea is to present “something relatable where in some way it will move hearts and inspire the young people to walk with Jesus in their lives. With all of the temptation thrown at us as youth, sometimes it is easy to forget that God still waits for us and that we have people on our team rooting, or, in this case, praying for us to be better,” said Cardona, who has been involved with the youth ministry for more than six years, almost three of which has been as a leader.

This year’s play is called “Todo a Su Tiempo,” which means, “Everything at Its Own Time.”  It is about a young man who, thanks to the prayer of his mother and an unexpected friendship along the way, finds his way back to the Lord through his tribulations and lives his faith to his fullest extent.

“In the Church, we are often afraid to bring up topics that scare us,” Cardona said, and “we find ourselves afraid to talk about those raw topics that impact us day to day.”

Cardona explained that the youth ministry members are involved in all aspects of the play’s production. Although they receive some help from adults with building props and working the sound system, the play is otherwise completely run by the youth, who serve as the actors, the backstage crew and the welcoming team.

“Even the kitchen is run by the youth,” she said.

As Jóvenes in Action looks forward to marking its sixth anniversary of play performances, Cardona is pleased to having helped build a tradition that can benefit young people. 

 “It is extremely important for all of us to support our youth when it comes to events like this,” she said.

“The youth look up to the older generations and I hope they see their faces out in the crowd when they are on stage in our churches,” Cardona continued. “Giving the youth the opportunity to share their God-given gifts has become our mission as we grow older. With that being said, let’s support these new souls who are eager for God. When Jan. 19 and 25 roll around, remember that the youth in Trenton at St. Mary’s Cathedral are ready to put on the show of a lifetime, and it’s all for God.”

“Todo a Su Tiempo” will be presented Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cathedral’s gymnasium, 16 Bank Street, Trenton.