November is known as the month of coming together with family and friends to break bread and give thanks. It provides the opportunity to pause and remember all that we are grateful for. For the youth of Brooklyn and Queens, November also brought along Virtual Fall Youth Day.
The first Virtual Brooklyn Queens Catholic Youth Day (BQCYD) took place in May 2020 amidst the pandemic NYC is all too familiar with. It was such a success the young adults who created it for the youth decided to hold a Fall one. Lucia Morales, the Catholic Youth Ministry Specialist, created a committee of youth ministers from Brooklyn and Queens to help this new tradition stay alive. The committee consisted of Brandon Morel, youth minister at St. Michael-St. Malachy (Brooklyn), Lauren Gentry, youth minister at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Queens), Joseph Fortunat, youth minister at St. John Vianney (Queens), German Medina, youth minister at St. Laurence-Holy Family (Brooklyn), & Angelica Taveras, youth minister at St. Laurence (Queens.)
While contemplating on themes for the Fall 2020 BCQYD, the committee looked at the current state of not only the city but the world. It seemed there were lots of division within the political world, the health world, and even amongst Catholics. The committee turned to prayer and scripture as they sought guidance and came across John 17:11 “That they may be one just as we are.” The committee decided to focus on unity and oneness for the teens. They enlisted Fr. Joseph Espaillat as the keynote speaker, Si7 for worship and music, Fr. James Kuroly to bring adoration to all watching. To help run the show, Brandon and Lauren from the committee were the co-hosts. The remaining committee members controlled the YouTube Chat, making sure to engage teens through YouTube and answer any questions they may have throughout the event.
All the young adults involved in the Youth Event have an already packed schedule, filled with schoolwork, family, parenthood, ministry, and of course, their own spiritual lives. Yet, despite the challenges, time constraints, busy schedules, they each said yes to the calling God placed in front of them in order to ensure the teens of Brooklyn and Queens were not left alone as NYC faced yet another potential lock-down.
As we prepare for Advent and the birth of our Savior, may we keep in mind our mission of bringing Jesus to those around us the same way these young adults did.