BRISTOL – The Youth Ministry of St. Stanislaus Church is seeking the community's support for its 2023 Mission Trip and a chance to participate in a Mass with Pope Francis. To that end, they have announced several upcoming fundraisers and initiatives.
Debbie Sousa, youth ministry director, said that youth volunteers and adult chaperones will be headed to Charleston, West Virginia to help out with community service projects from June 25 through June 30. This will be followed by a trip to Lisbon, Portugal next August for World Youth Day.
"This will include a pilgrimage to Fatima and Mass with the Holy Father, Pope Francis," said Sousa. "This event only occurs every 3 years, and the youth from St. Stanislaus have attended multiple World Youth Days, most recently Poland in 2016 and Panama in 2019."
The Mission Trip, Sousa said, are expensive for local families. To offset the costs, the Youth Ministry has planned several fundraisers.
The first fundraiser is a 'to go' Pig Roast Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at the church rectory at 510 West St. or by calling Sousa at 860-874-9939.
"Another major fundraiser is our '1000 $30 sponsors,'" said Sousa. "We are seeking one thousand $30 sponsors to offset the costs of monthly meetings, our service projects, the 2023 Mission Trip to Charleston, West Virginia, and the 2023 World Youth Day Trip to Lisbon Portugal."
Other planned fundraisers include the youth group's monthly bottle and can collection, which is held the first weekend of every month.
"Bottles and cans can be dropped off at the garages located on the church grounds for our youth to bag and sort for redemption," said Sousa.
The youth group will also be holding a "Paint Nite" in the church hall on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. The event is $30 to participate in.
"No experience is necessary," said Sousa. "Participants can bring family and friends to do a canvas painting led by a local artist. You can pack a snack or dinner and eat while you paint."
St. Stanislaus will also be holding its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Dec. 17 in its church hall. There will be a variety of vendors and it will include a “Polish Kitchen."
"We hope the community will join us for lunch and support our vendors," said Sousa.
The Youth Ministry has also introduced a Parish Wide Mission for the 2022-2023 year: “A smile goes a long way."
"The Youth Ministry will lead the parish in trying to bring joy to parishioners and members of the community through a variety of service projects," said Sousa. "Throughout the year, we will either provide smiles or perform a service that will make someone smile because 'a smile goes a long way.' This past weekend, we had our first meeting of the school year where we introduced Parish Wide Mission. The youth put up a large smile sign on the church grounds to promote the parish mission and to kick off the mission."
The sign is posted near the church's parking lot entrance.
Other planned service projects include Thanksgiving Baskets for parishioners in need or in the midst of hard times and Compassion Bags for the Agape House.
"The Compassion Bags will be filled with personal care items such as a tooth brush, tooth paste, and mouth wash," said Sousa.
Dinner Bags, filled with ingredients and groceries needed to prepare a complete meal will also be prepared for the Zion Lutheran Church.
Additionally, the youth group will be participating in a "pen pal project", writing letters to homebound parishioners.
"All of these will be made or sent with a cut out 'smile' or smile sticker," said Sousa.
The Youth Ministry was also seen kicking off the 2022-2023 school year by hosting a dunk tank and children's game booth at St. Stanislaus Church's annual Dozynki Festival in September.
There are also several Fatima themed activities being held in preparation for World Youth Day and the Fatima Pilgrimage.
"We are encouraging parishioners to receive the pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima into their homes for a period of one week, sharing Fatima facts in our bulletin monthly, and hosting a Fatima Movie Night in the Church Hall Saturday Oct. 22," said Sousa. "The movie will immediately follow the 4 p.m. service and we are encouraging the community to join us."
The St. Stanislaus Church Youth Ministry program is open to any youth in grades 6 to 12.
"The program helps youth grow in their faith through monthly meetings, social events, and community service opportunities," said Sousa. "The Youth ministry would like to thank all sponsors who have supported our program over the years. May God bless you for your generosity and support. All sponsors will be in our prayers."
Those who wish to support the St. Stanislaus Youth Ministry can mail donations to St. Stanislaus Church attention Youth Ministry 510 West St., Bristol, CT 06010.
People can also donate online at ststanislausbristolct.org.
For more information or questions, call Sousa at 860-874-9939.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.