By Dianne Davis
Several years ago, I met with Father Andrew Carrozza, the former pastor of St. Ann’s in Yonkers, NY, about running ChristLife at his parish. I didn’t have to do much convincing because he already understood the importance of sharing the Kerygma as the basis of our faith. He had even mentally started forming a team. When we spoke, he shared that he was going to have some people from the youth group on the team as well. In particular he mentioned Freddy, a 15-year-old.
I tried telling him that ChristLife didn’t have much experience with people younger than 18 years old coming to ChristLife, let alone being part of the team. But Father Carrozza was adamant! He said this group of young people were mature beyond their years and ready. Plus, Freddy was popular among the teens. He believed if Freddy came, other teens would come to Discovering Christ, too.
Several months later, the course was a total success from the parish viewpoint. They had over 100 people attend, including the teens, and many people encountered the powerful love of God! Their parish was being transformed.
"The first time I took [the course] was unique because I was very young and in a place I never expected to be. I agreed to come in blindly and had no clue what to expect. But I was blown away by every aspect of the program. From the community atmosphere that’s built amongst the participants and team, to the power of the teachings. I definitely felt as though my life was changed, and I committed my life to Jesus at that first retreat and have never looked back. The things I learned through this program pushed me to be better at all the things I was involved in; becoming the Grand Knight of my Knights of Columbus, the President of a non-profit organization, as well as personally, in school, at home with family and even in my dating life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without ChristLife."
Freddy is now 21 years old, a senior in college and already has an engineering job lined up after graduation.
He continues to serve as co-leader of St. Ann’s ChristLife team.