The Archdiocesan Youth Liturgical Leadership graduated its second largest class on May 18. Graduates planned and participated in all aspects of the graduation mass which was held at Holy Trinity Parish.
The program is in its 16th year and, according to Miles Meyers Catholic Education coordinator, the 150 Grade Six students from 11 Catholic elementary schools is the second largest class they have had since the program’s inception. “They learn how to prepare a mass and how to prepare a prayer service at their school and how to prepare prayers for the school intercom.”
The students learn all the parts of the mass, act as mass servers, perform some of the readings and are even taught how to greet people entering the church prior to mass. At the graduation mass students greeted and welcomed guests and parishioners as they entered the church and asked if they wished to bless themselves with holy water from a flowing fountain by the entrance.
Meyers said the program is geared toward Grade Six students because they then have two more years of elementary school where they can use what they have learned for the benefit of their school and carry that experience with them to high school. “We give them a really good experience of Church, they become comfortable within the church, and so they get excited about being at church, being able to help Father or being able to do liturgical things at their own school for the two last years of their time there. A lot of them will go on and become members of the liturgy groups in high school”.
Holy Trinity Pastor Reverend Ron Andree, who also teaches in the program, celebrated the graduation mass. He told the graduates that the mass and graduation exercises are not the end, and he expects they will continue to grow in their faith.
Andree’s homily was about the Easter story and the fact that it was still Easter time. He broke the story into the first part of Easter which is about the passion and death of Christ and the second part about Christ’s resurrection. Andre reminded graduates that Christ promised his disciples that He would be with them until the end of time. “Christ is alive and still lives with us in the form of the Eucharist which is celebrated every day in the mass,” said Father Andree.
Kelly Cwynar, parent of one of the graduates, said he has noticed a change in his son Jonathan since he began the course. “He’s more attentive to people’s needs, and he’s trying to make me live a better life too. He’s influencing me.” Jonathan said he is now more attentive in church.