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Barbara Shea Collins is the Director of the Annual Catholic Appeal for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Monday, February 14, 2011

“The Kingdom of God starts with us, the people, within our hearts.”

“Last Easter, I got to portray Jesus in the living Stations of the Cross.  It was a really cool experience and helped me better understand Jesus’ suffering.” 

This was the response of Eric Carillo, a high school student, when asked about the religious education program he attends at St. Mary, Star of the Sea.  WOW!

While the students learn the fundamentals of our faith in a traditional classroom-like setting, participation in events like the living Stations of the Cross, as well as teen rallies, retreats, service opportunities, days of prayer and spiritual concerts are but a few of the many other relevant opportunities offered to our young people in their religious education programs.   

In today’s society, many activities (sports, music, internet) compete for the time of the teens.   Our young people are faced with many choices, sometimes life-altering choices.  They need guidance, encouragement and wisdom first from their parents, of course.  But they also need the Church and adults in the faith to guide them in learning how to make the right choices in order to live as disciples of Jesus. 

Over 96,000 children and teens are the recipients of this guidance from the dedicated Coordinators of Youth Ministry, catechists and myriad volunteers who participate in religious education programs throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.   When children are directed and encouraged to pray to God and to serve others, they learn to translate their faith into a living relationship with God and, thereby, with society as a whole.

Support of the parish ministries that provide religious education to children and youth are among the agencies and ministries supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal.

Please consider making a gift to the 2011 Annual Catholic Appeal.

“The Kingdom of God starts with us, the people, within our hearts.  What we give out is what we get in return.”  Eric Carillo – future leader.

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