The month of August brings intense heat, the end of summer, and the start of another school year. Especially in a college community like ours, the start of school is a significant event for those with kids at home and for those without. Say a prayer for our friends at St. John Catholic Student Center as they begin the year ministering to the thousands of students on the OSU campus.
In our own backyard, the start of school means the beginning of sacramental formation for First Holy Communion (second and third-graders) and for the Sacrament of Confirmation (high schoolers 16 and up). Get signed up as those formation opportunities begin in mid-August. In this newsletter, we’re highlighting three significant formation opportunities for people in the parish.
Happening in both English and Spanish, our deacons do a wonderful job preparing parents and godparents for the Sacrament of Baptism. The first of the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism is the gateway to the other sacraments and the beginning of a child’s journey to heaven. Offered once a month and on an as-needed basis, Baptismal Formation gives parents and godparents the opportunity to learn about the sacrament, walk through the Rite of Baptism, and to have any questions answered they may have. This is an important ministry as we’ve never had so many Baptisms scheduled in our five-plus years in the new church!
Xavier Kids is for any child in Pre-K through fifth grade. Happening mostly on Sunday mornings but also including summer activities like Vacation Bible School, Totus Tuus, and Inspired (sacramental formation for kids who have missed sacraments along the way), the goal of Xavier Kids is to encounter Jesus Christ is a way that is faithful, fun, and full of friendships. Led by Children’s Minister Jacob Farni, Xavier Kids is a great way to introduce a child to the richness, beauty, and adventure of the Catholic faith.
Finally, Xavier Teens allows our sixth through 12th-graders to have ongoing opportunities to encounter the Lord and to grow with Him. Led by Youth Minister Kira Ziola, Xavier Teens Middle School (also called EDGE) meets on Sunday mornings. Xavier Teens High School (also called Life Teen) meets on Wednesday evenings. Xavier Teens also provides summer opportunities like Summer on the Shore, service days, pilgrimages, and the Steubenville Youth Conference.
We have a great August planned and I hope you’ll make the most of it, especially my retreat for parents on Saturday, Aug. 5, and our parish-wide stewardship retreat, “Stewardship Starts at Home,” led by Lisa McArdle of Catholic Stewardship Consultants from Augusta, Ga. Join us!
Very Rev. Brian O’Brien
Pastor, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church