Young Families Inspire Hope for the Future February 29, 2024

On a recent Sunday at The Basilica, the Church was bursting with activity and energy. At Mass, I happened to sit behind some friends who were there with their young daughter. It was a joy to see her mom and dad carefully explaining the various prayers and actions to her during the Mass. It made me consider the responsibility parents shoulder to share our Catholic faith with their children. After Mass, I saw another family with young children who were helping livestream our Sunday Mass for those who are homebound or travelling.

Before I left for the day, I stopped in Teresa of Calcutta for a cup of coffee and donut – there was a nice crowd and I saw many parents with infants and children of all ages seeking sweet treats just like me. I find it very energizing and heartening to see so many young families coming together for Liturgies and after Mass hospitality. These young families inspire hope for the future of our Catholic faith.

Did you know that we have hundreds of families with school aged children that are active in our Basilica community? Your contributions to The Basilica Fund help support a wonderful group of staff and volunteers that lead our faith formation and sacramental prep for our children and families at The Basilica. I wanted to share this important example of what your contributions make possible.

In speaking with Doris Ortiz, Learning Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministries, I learned that she and co-worker Katie Wethli, Coordinator of Sacramental Prep, are working with a team of 28 volunteers who support our families with children. Together, they coordinate and teach faith formation and provide sacramental preparation for our children and youth.

One hundred fifteen students participate in programs for preschoolers through 7th grade and another 40 or so students are preparing for the sacrament of confirmation. Another 23 teens are participants in our Basilica YES program – this stands for Youth Engaged in Service. After discussion, several more important elements were added to this program including Social, Study and Spirituality.

Initial meetings with parents generated support for these 4 pillars. Youth have embraced the idea of the 4 pillars, and they now make up a part of each gathering. At present Doris is planning ahead and looking forward to a summer program for youth, based on the YES concepts. During these gatherings, teens who come together at The Basilica from many communities and high schools throughout the area have a chance to connect, form friendships and build community. Their Bible study and other conversations and study help them to connect with each other and with their Catholic faith rooted in God’s love. Feedback is invited to help shape the program offerings.

One of their goals is to offer programming at times that allow more families to participate. Special thanks to Doris and Katie and all the volunteers that lead this important work sharing our Catholic faith and traditions with children and youth. Please be generous in your support of The Basilica Fund and all the important ministries and offerings like these impactful education gatherings and sacramental prep for children, youth and families.

Terri Ashmore
Managing Director of Mission Advancement
The Basilica of Saint Mary
Executive Director of The Basilica Landmark