Veronica Keene is ready to make 2019 the best year ever for the Pallottine Teenage Federation after an inspiring weekend closed out 2018.
The president of the Pallottine Teenage Federation was among the 175 youth and adult participants at the 57th annual conference with the theme, “We Are All God’s Children,” at Honor’s Haven Resort & Spa in Ellenville Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
“It went really well. It was very inspiring and very enjoyable,” Veronica said.
Veronica, a parishioner of St. Stanislaus in Pleasant Valley, was installed as 2018-2019 federation president on the conference’s final day. Also installed were Amanda Molloy, vice president, St. Thomas-St. Joseph, Cornwall; Orlean Dubreus, secretary, St. Thomas-St. Joseph, Cornwall-on-Hudson; and Courtney Nazak, program chairperson, St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley.
“Everyone was energetic. I thought it was amazing. I was so grateful to be there,” said Miss. Molloy, a 16-year-old junior at Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township, N.J.
The Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, better known as the Pallottines, sponsored the conference. Luisa Montouri, a parishioner of Sacred Heart on Staten Island, served as conference chairperson, and Ms. Molloy was the conference co-chairperson.
The two chairpersons were recipients of the Vincent Pallotti Youth Service Awards as were the 2017-2018 youth officers. They were John McKiernan, president, St. Catharine, Blauvelt; Emma Cranston, vice president, St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary, Staten Island; Victoria Bruno, secretary, Sacred Heart, Staten Island; and Alexa Verderame, program chairperson, St. Francis of Assisi, West Nyack.
The Staten Island PTAF youth ministry program of St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary received the Queen of Apostles Apostolic Award, and Clare Cranston of St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary, Staten Island, was awarded the Queen of Apostle Youth Ministry Award.
“Seeing all the children worshipping together is an awesome sight to see,” said Jim Russell, youth minister for 20 years at St. Francis of Assisi parish in West Nyack. “The young people are the future of the Church. They’re the Church.
“I’m just happy to walk on the journey of faith with them.”
Weekend activities featured morning and evening prayers; a reconciliation service with adoration; Friday Mass celebrated by Father Edward Bader, pastor of St. Peter, Liberty; Saturday Mass celebrated by Father Michael Martine, pastor of Holy Rosary, Staten Island; and a Saturday night dance party with Sound Explosion Event Group of Staten Island.
The keynote speaker was ValLimar Jansen, an inspirational catechetical speaker, author, storyteller, psalmist, singer, composer and recording artist. A leader of worship and prayer, she is best known for her work with contemporary Christian music.
“I have never heard a speaker as inspirational as she was,” Ms. Molloy said. “She connected the faith with real-life things. She encouraged us to be proud of our faith and who we are. It was amazing.”
Russell recalled one of the exercises during Ms. Jansen’s speech.
“She had you look at person next to you and say hello to them. She said with that, you see the face of Jesus in others,” he said.
“The speaker was just spot on. She was excellent. She had the kids up and energized. It was wonderful.”
A new year is near for the teens. The teen officers will meet four times in 2019, and hope to take what’s been done and make it even better. A fourth retreat called “Journey With Me’’ will be added. There, teens will learn how they can reach out to help others, including the poor.
As president, Miss. Molloy is hoping she and the other teens will work to increase teen membership for retreats and the conference, just by sharing their experiences with teens at their parish and in school.
“It’s really a beautiful time to see all these people from all over the state share their love of the faith and dedication to God,” she said of conference participants.