Brockport teen initiates cross campaign - Catholic Courier

Brockport teen initiates cross campaign

Though she’s only 14 years old, Chelsea O’Connor promotes her platform
with a fervor reminiscent of recent presidential hopefuls.

In a flyer detailing the “Lift High the Cross” campaign that she has
begun, Chelsea notes that towns are getting sued for displaying
Nativity scenes while the Pledge of Allegiance is under attack for
containing the words “ under God.” And yet, she points out, these
religious rituals are questioned, while legalized abortion

“Will we stand by as others try to take all meaning out of Christmas
and Easter?” Chelsea asks in her flyer. “Will we stand by as others
tell us that an unborn baby is disposable? No! We must take a stand to
publicly show our faith. We must take a stand to show people that Jesus
is our supreme commander and remind other Christians of the obligation
they have to live their faith! We must stand with Jesus!”

To promote this message, the Brockport teen is advocating for all
Christian homes in the United States to have crosses erected on their
front lawns. They would go up on Good Friday, April 9, and remain on
display until Easter Sunday. Each cross would ideally stand about 6
feet high and be illuminated by a spotlight.

“I’ve been hearing lately how Christian values are going down the
drain. Really, it’s just up to us,” Chelsea told the Courier.
“Faith is important to a lot of people in this country, and it should
be to everybody. Maybe this will help people realize they should take a
stand to teach the faith to their kids, go to church on Sunday and vote
with their faith — just make it a bigger part of their lives.”

Chelsea said she thought up the campaign after hearing of a
local Knights of Columbus effort this past Christmas, in which Knights
asked homeowners to display Nativity scenes in their yards. Chelsea
then brought her idea to Sherri Bryant, youth minister at Brockport’s
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, where Chelsea’s family
belongs. Youth-group members have subsequently joined the cause, and
are meeting on a couple of Saturdays during Lent at Chelsea’s home to
make crosses for anyone who requests them. Chelsea said the group is
only charging $3 per cross — enough to cover the cost of lumber and
other supplies.

She promoted her campaign by speaking at some weekend Masses at
Nativity earlier this winter. Chelsea is also spreading the word far
outside parish boundaries, distributing letters and flyers to Rochester
diocesan youth groups as well as most Catholic dioceses in the United
States. She reports positive feedback from a number of teens and youth
ministers — and even a letter from Bishop Michael Warfel, head of the
Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, stating that he would undertake a similar
campaign in his diocese.

Chelsea has long been interested in political topics, especially
those related to her faith. “I’ve been listening to the news since I
was very young,” she said, adding that in January she traveled with
family to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Although she wants to
pursue a career as a veterinarian, Chelsea also foresees her activist
nature lasting well into adulthood.

“I always want to be very into the issues that are going on in the
church,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those interested in ordering crosses from Chelsea, or
learning more about the Lift High the Cross campaign, can e-mail her at

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