‘ONE CROSS FOR GOD’ • Those gathered in the St. Benedict Parish library, Holmdel, hold the paintings they created May 25 during a Divine Design evening of prayer and artwork. The two co-leaders of the parish’s young adult ministry organized the evening as a way to reflect on God on Ascension Thursday.

‘ONE CROSS FOR GOD’ • Those gathered in the St. Benedict Parish library, Holmdel, hold the paintings they created May 25 during a Divine Design evening of prayer and artwork. The two co-leaders of the parish’s young adult ministry organized the evening as a way to reflect on God on Ascension Thursday.

By Jennifer Mauro | Associate Editor

As part of the St. Benedict Parish faith formation committee’s goal to encourage community-building, two young adults organized an evening of art on Ascension Thursday as a way to reflect on Scripture and prayer through canvas painting.

“We wanted a way to bring everyone in the parish together and enjoy a night of reflection and relaxation with God,” Ashley Albro, co-leader of the Holmdel parish’s young adult ministry, said of the Divine Design event, which took place after the evening Mass May 25. “We get a really great diversity for a fun crowd.”

Fellow co-leader Shannon Connelly agreed. “We try to find a way to connect each reflection to everyday life,” she said. “Last week’s theme was Ascension Thursday. I focused my reflection on remembering that our job after Jesus ascended is to spread the Good News of Jesus here on Earth. We can do that simply by being kind to others and showing others that we care.” 

Started during Lent 2016, Divine Design brings together people of all ages, from youth and young adults to parents and seniors. Everyone who attends gets a canvas and paints and follows a predetermined artistic design that is God-focused.

The evening in the parish’s Father Anderson Library started with a reflection on the Gospel.

“God is truly present at this event,” Albro said. “You feel how light and relaxed everyone becomes as they bring their focus back to God and away from their stresses of the day as they paint.”

Albro said the artwork May 25 was a large cross that held tiny boxes inside. The boxes were to represent the parishioners of St. Benedict “all making up one cross for God.”

“The parishioners at St. Benedict … have so much love and spirit to share. They lift you up,” she said. “Events like these fill me with the spirit. Meeting new parishioners or even parishioners of other local churches is my driving force – it makes me continue to volunteer and give my time to my church.”