Samantha Schucker and Michael Spear, living examples of what the Pallottine Teenage Federation represent, share the same goal as federation leaders for the next 12 months following the federation’s 58th annual conference Dec 6-8.
The leaders plan to take time from their busy lives as high school students to visit parishes to encourage parish support and teens to join the program.
“I’m hoping to increase our numbers to grow the program. I believe we’re all a dedicated community to the program and creating a positive environment,” said Miss Schucker, a 16-year-old junior at Arlington High School who represents the PTAF program at St. Stanislaus in Pleasant Valley.
Spear, a 17-year-old senior at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie representing the PTAF program at St. Marianne Cope parish in Cornwall-on-Hudson, said the program has many selling points to spur teen involvement.
“I would tell them it’s a very fun experience,” he said. “You’re going to make long-lasting friends. It’s an excellent way to build your faith up with spirituality and worship.”
Some 150 teenagers participated in the weekend conference, which had the theme of “Quiet, God’s at Work,” at Honor’s Haven Resort and Spa in Ellenville.
Miss Schucker and Spear were installed as PTAF president and vice president for 2019-2020 at the conference’s closing ceremony by Father Hugh Grace, a retired priest of the archdiocese.
Daniella Canausa and Mytell Jean were installed as PTAF secretary and program chairperson, respectively.
“The program is an excellent way to create Catholic leaders and is service oriented,” Spear said.
Miss Schucker added, “The conference went very smoothly. I was inspired by other people united by our faith.”
Miss Schucker and Spear also served as 2018-2019 PTAF conference chairperson and co-chairperson. They earned youth service awards at the conference with outgoing 2018-2019 PTAF officers—Veronica Keene, PTAF president, St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley; Amanda Molloy, PTAF vice president, St. Marianne Cope, Cornwall-on-Hudson; Orlane Dubreus, PTAF secretary, St. Marianne Cope parish; and Cortney Nazak, PTAF program chairperson, St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley.
The St. Vincent Pallotti Youth Ministry Award was presented to Dawn Andrews and Michelle De Mild, both of St. Stanislaus, and Maria Roman, St. Joseph and St. Boniface, Spring Valley. Christopher Velleca of Holy Child, Staten Island, received a special St. Vincent Pallotti Youth Ministry Award for his dedicated service as a youth, young adult and adult adviser.
The St. Stanislaus Youth Ministry Program in Pleasant Valley took home the Queen of Apostles Apostolic Award for its “Taking It to the Streets” outreach program to the homeless in Poughkeepsie.
The conference also featured an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation, benediction and Masses celebrated by Father David Rider, pastor of Sacred Heart in Monroe, on Friday night and Father Michael Martine, pastor of Holy Rosary on Staten Island, on Saturday night. Father Martine served as conference’s spiritual moderator, and Bill Lage was the keynote speaker.
Lage was the master of ceremonies at the National March for Life, 2013-2016 and shared his Catholic Dance message at the National Catholic Youth Conference, 2015-2017.
“He said to shout (our faith) out from the rooftops. I enjoyed his message,” Spear said.