Greetings from Texas!
Despite the fact that it is the Advent season, it is still 70 degrees and sunny here, and we, Team 13, are enjoying every minute of it! The past month of our ministry has been filled with many incredible experiences and encounters with the Lord.
At the beginning of November, we had the opportunity to have a taste of retreat team life. We put on a retreat at a local Catholic high school for 162 freshmen, and it was an incredible experience! The retreat, which was split into men’s and women’s sessions, was themed ‘Strength and Beauty’.
In the women’s session, we discussed how women can, as daughters of God, use their fierce, God-given beauty to make a positive impact in society. It was incredibly powerful to hear young women in small group time make a promise together to build each other up, rather than tear each other down, as is the social norm. One girl said to a team member,
“I cannot thank you enough. You opened my eyes and made me realize that things in my life need to change.”
The young men were intrigued by the talk on strength and were filled with questions about how to live as men of Christ in today’s culture. During prayer ministry, it was obvious how the Lord was working in the hearts of the retreatants. Many students recommitted their lives to Christ, and the line for confession had over 50 students in it! It was truly humbling for our team to witness how powerfully the Lord can touch hearts through one retreat.
We also held a parish-wide event called Let Us Adore, Adoremus. Started by the previous team at St. Mark’s, Let Us Adore is a night of adoration, praise and worship and confession. We brought a new dimension to the event by having music and exhortations in both English and Spanish. The bilingual nature of the evening invited members from both major cultures that make up St. Mark’s. It was unifying to witness the community worshipping the Lord together; it doesn’t matter the language spoken or songs sung, we are still one. Once confession got going, the line never dwindled until Father had to leave for Benediction. This was a powerful evening for many people of all ages. We are having four more of these events throughout the year, and we look forward to seeing more people encounter the Lord in the Eucharist.
The team spent Thanksgiving in Temple, Texas, the home of one of our team members. We got to meet Collin’s family and friends, go two-stepping in a real southern dance hall and get a taste of Texas. We even did team prayer outdoors in a gazebo. Despite the mosquitoes that decided to join us, we felt closer to the Lord in his creation. We are extremely thankful for the time we got to spend on Thanksgiving break as a team, but we are excited to get back into the swing of ministry for the next weeks before Christmas.
Though we are almost halfway through our time with St. Mark’s, we still see new faces at every youth group and event. It’s promising for the future of the youth ministry program, but more importantly for growth in the hearts of the youth of Saint Mark’s. We are so thankful for all the prayers and support we have received throughout this year. Know that you and your families are in our thoughts and prayers as you prepare your hearts for the coming of Jesus this Christmas season.