I received this letter from Beth Buchek, our part time youth minister of the past few years.

“During my 26 years as a member of our parish I have really seen St. Ann grow. Most recently through my work with the youth group I have seen the seeds of a St. Ann Catholic education blossoming in our young members of the parish. I have had the pleasure to see this through works of prayer, community building, service projects, Luke 18 retreat planning, and even through one of our members being honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King Model of Justice Award. I am proud of what members of this group have accomplished, and I was blessed to walk with them on this journey.

At this time, though, I am going to step down from this position and look for new ways in which I personally can grow. I am grateful for this opportunity to have served. Although this decision is not without sadness I look forward to seeing in what new and exciting ways our Youth Group and Parish grow in the future. Thanks to all who help plant and water the seeds that make our parish grow.”

Youth ministry is always a challenging endeavor. As any of you who have/had young adults under your roof know, the demands on their time are multiple and varied. School and its related activities pull in one direction. Social calendars pull them in another direction. Family obligations are not lightly dismissed. I am so grateful to Beth for her efforts to engage our students here at St. Ann these past four years. I watched with her as that initial core of students grew “in age and grace and wisdom”, serving our parish community as lectors, as speakers for confirmation and first communion retreats, and in offering service for the elderly. What a gift her ministry has been. In your name, let me say a heartfelt word of thanks for her presence with our teens and the ways she has shaped them in the wonderful young adults they are becoming….

Obviously, this leaves a bit of a hole in our parish leadership structure, so I am investigating some options in terms of future youth ministry. As in all parish ministries, I invite you to do a little praying and reflecting, asking that simple question: “Is THIS an area where I have some gifts and skills that God is inviting me to use for the good of his Kingdom?” And then listen for an answer in those quiet moments of prayer. Then let me know…