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Teens encounter Christ’s love and serve as missionary disciples on bcX Retreat
By Chris Lushis
This past summer, Holy Cross College welcomed 45 committed students from throughout the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who joyfully came together to participate in liturgical celebrations and community outreach, learning how to effectively “be Christ” for and “see Christ” in others throughout the world.
Those on retreat included parishioners from both St. Vincent de Paul and Our Lady of Good Hope in Fort Wayne, as well as from St. Pius X in Granger. Participation was made possible by the financial support of the parishes as well as through a generous grant from the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Retreatants were led by adult team members and Holy Cross College students, several of whom participated in bcX as teens themselves, to serve alongside ministries in the South Bend community.
The retreat encouraged these teens to engage more deeply in their faith and experience Christ in a profoundly transformational way. Grounded in the understanding that the sacraments provide the heart and soul of Christian life, each day the young men and women were offered the opportunity to gain a greater awareness and appreciation of God’s love by receiving Holy Communion at Mass. This Eucharistic foundation then propelled them to live out their call of missionary discipleship through service to the community and enhanced relationship with one another.
Each day, separate squads ventured to assist at outreach sites including the Center for the Homeless, Women’s Care Center, Better World Books, Catholic Worker House, Northern Indiana Food Bank, Downtown Soup Kitchen, Unity Gardens, Healthwin Rehabilitation, St. Margaret’s House, Holy Cross Parish, and St. Stanislaus Parish.
After each day of hard work, the teens returned to Holy Cross College to briefly relax before listening to powerful witness talks on authentic faith, steadfast hope, and selfless love. Speeches were given by Holy Cross College staff and students as well as youth ministry leaders from around the diocese. Touching on the themes “Love Unleashed” and “Being Christ to Others”, the presentations allowed each member of the retreat to reflect more intensely on what takes place in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and through the actions of unselfish charity and service. In both cases, the giver becomes the true gift, becoming poured out for the creation of a new and beautiful reality in the world.
Rachel Staley, a current Junior at Holy Cross College, expressed how she felt the week fostered hope for the future of the Church. “I was very encouraged by the way our diocese's youth committed to serving and humbly looking for Christ in everyone they served on bcX and by the way they zealously and reverently sought our Lord in prayer. Bringing the youth to Holy Cross shows them that there is good happening within our own diocese. They are able to experience that they do not need to go to a foreign country to encounter and serve Christ. This opens their eyes to the reality of the Church present and living within our own community.”