From staff reports
The close of the school year was a colorful one for youth ministry members in St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville; St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown; St. David the King Parish, West Windsor; St. Hedwig Parish, Trenton, and St. Paul Parish, Princeton.
On June 5, young men and women in ministries across those Cohort 7 parishes joined together in faith and solidarity for their first Cohort-wide youth ministry event – a color run.
Some 60 youth and 20 adults took part in the color run, which organizers paired with the standing end-of-year cookout event held at St. David the King Parish.
“The teens all seemed to have a blast and enjoyed one another’s company,” said Kait Mayer, director of student ministry in St. Paul Parish. “It was a great way for them to unwind as the school year draws to a close, and it gave them an opportunity to step outside their own parishes to meet more teens who are also active in youth ministry and interested in growing in their faith.”
Participants in the fun run were outfitted with special white T-shirts bearing their Cohort number, which were quickly covered in various colors as they ran the course and celebrated at the finish line.
Barbara Kaminska, a graduating senior in Princeton High School who will be attending American University, Washington, D.C, in the fall, said she had long been interested in participating in a color run.
“Red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, magenta, orange – so many colors were thrown at us throughout the obstacle run,” said senior Barbara Kaminska of St. Paul Parish, a 2018 St. Timothy Award winner. “The powders turned all our bright white shirts into a multicolored mess that left everyone smiling and cheering one another on. After that run was finished, we still had time to bond over the delicious BBQ.”
More than just a social event or a fun way to mark the end of the school year, Kaminska saw the event as a way to share deeper fellowship with fellow youth Catholics.
“To connect with other students my age who share the same faith as me, even if we’re not talking about religion, is always an exciting time, particularly in a world that often downplays the importance of faith and religion,” she said. “These are times when my heart is filled with joy as I am proud to be able share such an important part of myself with those around me.”
Parish youth coordinators who were in attendance shared similarly positive sentiments about the collaboration.
“It was truly wonderful to see how the teens from these different parishes came together,” said Kim Jaramillo, youth ministry coordinator for St. Anthony of Padua Parish. “We now know that we have a big family of teens and leaders we can always count on and have fun with at these other parishes.”
Andrew Scala, who coordinates youth ministry in St. David the King Parish, noted that other Cohorts around the Diocese might benefit from events like the run.
“God is truly working when a bunch of parishes can come together for one cause, absent of egos and agendas,” he said.