St. Anthony’s parish in Yonkers welcomed Catholic speaker Paul J. Kim for an evening of family catechesis sponsored by the parish’s youth ministry.
An audience of 250 gathered to hear Kim’s message Dec. 8 in St. Anthony’s School gymnasium. His distinctive style of ministry showcases his voice a cappella, as well as the art of beat boxing. He fuses pop culture references with Gospel verses and a witty sense of humor.
The Southern California resident has reached people of all ages in his travels to 46 states and five foreign countries. In Yonkers, Kim took the audience on a trip through his younger years as he recounted personal events, which led to his life calling. During nearly two hours on stage, he implored the youth not to be afraid to be themselves.
“God didn’t create us to be dull, boring, prudish and miserable,” Kim said. “He came to show us that we’re meant to live for more. You have the power of words and the power of actions. Be the best version of you that you can be. Don’t be a carbon copy of someone else.
“Jesus calls you by name, and remember that your life matters every single day. Go be the light!” he said.
Kim reflected on a youth conference he attended at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio that offered what he called his initial moment of honesty with Jesus.
“After the Steubenville retreat, I opened up my heart to Jesus and made room for the Holy Spirit. We all need to have that tangible moment,” he said.
Father Arthur Mastrolia, pastor of St. Anthony’s, told CNY he hoped the evening would offer a boost to the parish’s two-year-old youth group.
“I am hoping that Paul will bring a gift of hope and message of joy to our young people, so that they can be that much more involved in the life and activities of the Church.
“We have a vibrant youth group that is led by the Cap Corps Volunteers, a Capuchin program from the Youth and Family Ministry in Garrison. We are hoping for a message of joy and hope and increased involvement in the life of the Church,” Father Mastrolia said.
The pastor said keeping young people engaged in the Church is a priority for St. Anthony’s.
“This is a great parish and the people truly have ownership of the parish and they stepped forward to organize and facilitate this youth ministry,” Father Mastrolia said. “They are really responsible for the success it has been so far, and I am very happy to be here.”
Nicole Rios, a longtime parishioner, has served as co-coordinator of the St. Anthony’s Youth Ministry since its inception. Her two sons, Robert and Daniel, also attended the evening with Kim. The youth group has 25 active members ranging from seventh-graders to high school seniors.
Mrs. Rios told CNY that she hopes Kim’s enthusiasm for life will inspire those who turned out.
“The children today, they need to reflect on the positive and joy in the world as opposed to what we hear about in the media every day— disasters and their cruelty,” Mrs. Rios said. “There are little miracles happening every day, and each one of these kids has an opportunity to be that for someone else and so do we as adults,”
The evening with Kim attracted a 30-person young adult group from St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in the Bronx. Jacienta Paily, 28, a medical student at Columbia University, is the group leader.
“This is a great experience to hear an amazing speaker talk about his journey through faith and relate to the young people. Young people in this generation like to relate to someone and hear a different perspective, so this is a great idea to bring everyone together and express our faith and stand in solidarity,” Ms. Paily said.