If Brianna Casserly, Kathryn Henríquez and the young parishioners who participated in last week’s annual Santa Misión are representative of Latino youths in the Rochester area, the future looks very bright indeed.
Brianna and Kathryn are high-school students who spent an entire Saturday morning recently with their moms to learn more about civic engagement as part of a series of workshops offered by La Cumbre. The ad-hoc organization is dedicated to engaging more Latinos in such areas as economic development, political representation and the arts.
While the girls believe in raising the profile of Latinos in their communities, they also represent a desire to look beyond boundaries, whether physical, ethnic or political. Brianna’s focus is collaboration. The workshops, though, helped them develop that necessary foundation of knowledge as they seek to take on leadership roles.
And adults should be ready and willing to help young people move into those roles, noted Santa Misión’s guest preacher, José Juan Valdez of Texas. As Moses groomed Joshua to lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land, so should today’s leaders in ministry and community provide the support and resources our youths need to become leaders, Valdez urged. (Read more in September’s El Mensajero Católico.)
It was inspirational to see so many young parishioners — ages 7 to 20-something — leading prayers and activities during the mission’s final night at Rochester’s Holy Apostles Church. And I hope those in attendance remember Valdez’s words that they are not our future but our present and how amazing it is that they are bucking current trends to let faith fall to the wayside. I pray God watches over them as they continue the work of the mission to go out and spread the good news and guide other young people to "return to God."