Youth from St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, take part in some field day-like games during the Battle of the Youth Groups event April 27 on the grounds of Holmdel’s St. Benedict Parish.
Youth from St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, take part in some field day-like games during the Battle of the Youth Groups event April 27 on the grounds of Holmdel’s St. Benedict Parish.

By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor

Kathleen Connelly was all smiles as she spoke about the field day-like event that saw youth from different parishes engaging in some friendly competition.

“I really like the way it turned out. It took different youth groups, different kids, different high schools, and meshed them together because they have the common interest of being Catholic,” said Connelly, a youth ministry member in Holmdel’s St. Benedict Parish.

Photo Gallery: Battle of the Youth Groups 

On April 27, the parish played host to the first-ever Battle of the Youth Groups, where youth from Monmouth County parishes were invited for a day of games, dinner and s’mores with one goal in mind: to build camaraderie.

Logan Monahan of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, said, “We are all bound together – we are a family because we share a faith. It’s a strong bond that nothing can separate.”

He said he wanted to take part in the day because, “I wanted to show what faith and commitment is really about.”

That idea falls in line with the diocesan Year of Youth initiative decreed last summer by Bishop David M. Connell, C.M., to encourage young Catholics to live and witness their faith and be more engaged in parish life. As such, the official diocesan Year of Youth cross traveled from the Chancery in Lawrenceville to the church to stand witness to the day’s event.

Megan Sutherland, a member of St. Benedict Parish, said the event definitely unified the dozens in attendance.

“These days, knowing that kids your age are in the same position [as you] and that everyone’s still working out their faith – it’s good to know other people who are in the same boat as you,” she said.

Fellow parishioner Rina Gallo agreed, saying it was good to meet new people in the area, too. “It made me realize how many people there are in my age group who really are passionate about what they believe in about religion.”

Added Connelly, “Everyone has a different background and a different education … Coming from a Catholic school, my faith is strong. Then I meet other people, and they are strong. When we are together, we are just too strong for anyone to handle,” she said with a laugh.

Video from freelance photographer Matthew Marzorati contributed to this report.