Hope Andrews, the newly inducted president of the Pallottine Teenage Federation (PTAF), said, “I joined because I felt this calling inside me that said I was called to serve others and share the joy in my heart with everyone around me.”
Hope was inducted during the 55th annual conference weekend Dec. 2-4 at Honors Haven Resort and Spa in Ellenville. The Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, also known as the Pallottines, sponsored it.
Some 225 youths and adult chaperones attended. The conference theme was “God’s Mercy Is 24/7.”
Hope, a 17-year-old from St. Stanislaus parish in Pleasant Valley, has been involved with the PTAF for four years and served as one of the conference co-chairs last year.
She told CNY her faith has grown through her participation, and so has her desire for evangelization. “I’m not afraid to show everyone who I am. In fact, I love to share the love of Christ with others,” Hope said. “PTAF has made me so passionate about leading other people to Jesus.”
Father Eric Andrews, C.S.P., president of the Paulist Fathers, was homilist of the Saturday evening Mass and gave the keynote presentation. He focused on the theme of God’s mercy and asked the teens to share their personal stories of mercy as well as obstacles to it.
The weekend included Adorattion and Benediction, and an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation.
There was a Saturday night concert with DJ Bill Lage, karaoke, basketball and swimming. Teens also heard from Mario and Annie Bellaviti, missioners to Tanzania and Uganda, Africa.
Father Michael Martine, spiritual director of the PTAF for 14 years and pastor of Holy Rosary parish on Staten Island, said, “It is my hope that given the theme of the weekend, ‘God’s Mercy Is 24/7,’ that the teens received a deeper understanding of the boundless mercy, love and compassion of Christ and use that understanding to develop a deeper, stronger relationship with Him.”
Through the PTAF, teens receive formation in the faith to stand up to the challenges that society, Father Martine said, “We need the courage and witness of our youth who are the future of the Church to stand up and do what is right and lead others to do the same.”
The other teen officers inducted were Michael Lucyk, vice president, Immaculate Conception, Woodbourne; Helen Smith, secretary, St. Catharine of Alexandria, Blauvelt; and Apryl De Mild, program chairperson, St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley.
Vincent Pallotti Youth Service awards were presented to last year’s officers and chairpersons: Chris Velleca, Holy Child, Staten Island; Garrett Linnane, St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley; Bryan Lescano, St. Joseph’s, Staten Island; Joseph Sarubbi, St. Catharine of Alexandria, Blauvelt; Victoria Zaccardo, St. Joseph, Staten Island; Hope Andrews; and James Roff, St. Gregory Barbarigo, Garnerville.
Carol Jensen, adult adviser for Our Lady Help of Christians on Staten Island and the PTAF, received an award as well.
“The weekend was absolutely amazing. It was such a blessing to look out into the crowd and see so many people,” Hope said. “That is a sight only Jesus can create.”
She said the gathering felt like a “big family reunion,” and she hopes she can hang onto the happiness she felt at the conference.
“To anyone thinking of getting involved I would say listen to that voice inside you calling for Jesus. Put your faith in Him. He’s got a pretty good track record with me so far,” Hope said.