A focus on community service, both locally and globally, has spurred the youth groups of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes toward several noteworthy projects as of late.
- Nearly a year ago, the Tioga County youths began a "spiritual adoption" program to educate others about the development of the unborn, provide assistance to mothers in need and encourage people to pray for babies in danger of being aborted. The initiative was founded by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, former Bishop of Rochester. Youth-group members recited the following prayer each day for nine months to save the life of a baby threatened by abortion: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby we have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion." The youth groups also held two baby showers for Birthright in Johnson City, raising more than $1,000 as well as donations of baby clothing, diapers, baby wipes, gifts for mothers, and handmade blanket and quilts.
- This past Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, the junior-high youths at St. Margaret Mary, Apalachin, and St. James, Waverly, raised approximately $200 for a "Souper Bowl Sunday" collection. Proceeds were donated to Tioga County Rural Ministry in Owego.
- Senior- and junior-high youth groups raised nearly $1,500 for Catholic Relief Services by fasting for 24 hours Feb. 19-20. The group comprised of 34 teens and five adults from St. Margaret Mary, St. Patrick in Owego and St. John the Evangelist in Newark Valley. Included in the weekend were a "Shopping Trip Challenge" at Price Chopper in Owego, where the youths purchased as much food as they could for $5 each. That food was donated to Tioga County Rural Ministry and Project Neighbor in Newark Valley. At midnight, participants attended a prayer service at St. Patrick Church. One youth group spent the next morning baking goodies for a fundraising sale, and another group served lunch at a soup kitchen in Endicott.
- In addition, the Tioga youths have just completed their 34th-consecutive season of Living Stations of the Cross. The Lenten tradition, which originated at St. Margaret Mary, involved a weekly depiction of the Stations at various locations in the Southern Tier.
According to Kathy Hamilton, youth-ministry coordinator for Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick, the youth program is overseen by several dedicated youth ministers. She noted that more than 100 junior- and senior-high youths are involved in the program, which includes catechesis, community service and social activities.
"Our main objective is to implement our parishes’ vision statement — ‘Together we will build an atmosphere of faith in which the fruit of the Spirit will abound and draw others to Christ’ — through the eyes of our youth," Hamilton said. She added that this goal is realized when youths "walk with Jesus in serving others by experiencing community service on a parish, local and global perspective."