Mary Help of Christians Youth Ministry

Our Mission:

Mary Help of Christians Youth Ministry is a Salesian Youth Ministry. As Salesians we educate for life in the cultural and social environment of the young person. We evangelize by educating and educate by evangelizing. We center on the Body of Christ as members of the Church. Jesus in the Eucharist, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, the Sacraments (especially Reconciliation and Communion) and fidelity to the Pope, all in the spirit of St. John Bosco, are pillars of our youth ministry. Through this we bring young people into that living community of faith where their gifts and their journey are given direction and support. It is within the context of community that the young discover their place in God’s plan; their gifts, their community are called to transform the world into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Mary Help of Christians Youth Ministry is a ministry where faith and fun go hand in hand. We pray hard, we play hard, we serve hard and we work hard! Please pray for our ministry as we pray for all of you.

 

For more information about our Youth Ministry, contact Bridget Costello at bcostello@mhctampa.org or by calling the parish office: (813) 626-7588.

 

Fill out my online form.

Visit the Mary Rocks event website and Facebook page

Don Bosco Quote of the Week

“One who associates with the good will go to Heaven with them.”

 

Youth Ministry Events

 

Salesian Saint Spotlight

What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren’t they just random images of our mind? Don Bosco

In 1867 Pope Pius IX was upset with John Bosco because he wouldn’t take his dreams seriously enough. Nine years earlier when Pope Pius IX met with the future saint who worked with neglected boys, he learned of the dreams that John had been having since the age of nine, dreams that had revealed God’s will for John’s life. So Pius IX had made a request, “Write down these dreams and everything else you have told me, minutely and in their natural sense.” Pius IX saw John’s dreams as a legacy for those John worked with and as an inspiration for those he ministered to.

Despite Scripture evidence and Church tradition respecting dreams, John had encountered skepticism when he had his first dream at the age of nine. The young Bosco dreamed that he was in a field with a crowd of children. The children started cursing and misbehaving. John jumped into the crowd to try to stop them — by fighting and shouting. Suddenly a man with a face filled with light appeared dressed in a white flowing mantle. The man called John over and made him leader of the boys. John was stunned at being put in charge of these unruly gang. The man said, “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows but with gentleness and kindness.” As adults, most of us would be reluctant to take on such a mission — and nine year old John was even less pleased. “I’m just a boy,” he argued, “how can you order me to do something that looks impossible.” The man answered, “What seems so impossible you must achieve by being obedient and acquiring knowledge.” Then the boys turned into the wild animals they had been acting like. The man told John that this is the field of John’s life work. Once John changed and grew in humility, faithfulness, and strength, he would see a change in the children — a change that the man now demonstrated. The wild animals suddenly turned into gentle lambs.

Eventually that first dream led him to minister to poor and neglected boys, to use the love and guidance that seemed so impossible at age nine to lead them to faithful and fulfilled lives. He started out by learning how to juggle and do tricks to catch the attention of the children. Once he had their attention he would teach them and take them to Mass.

He died in 1888, at the age of seventy-two. His work lives on in the Salesian order he founded.

In His Footsteps:

John Bosco found God’s message in his dreams. If you have some question or problem in your life, ask God to send you an answer or help in a dream. Then write down your dreams. Ask God to help you remember and interpret the dreams that come from God.

Prayer:

Saint John Bosco, you reached out to children whom no one cared for despite ridicule and insults. Help us to care less about the laughter of the world and care more about the joy of the Lord. Amen

Laura was the first child born on April 5, 1891 to Senora Mercedes Pino and Jose Domingo Vicuña, a soldier who belonged to a noble Chilean family. A civil war broke out and Senor Vicuña had to flee his country. A few days after the birth of the second child Julia Amanda, Senor Vicuña, worn out physically and mentally, died, leaving his wife and children alone.2590_3662 Seeing that she could not survive, she decided to leave the country. She finally found work at a large “hacienda” owned by Senor Manuel Mora. He was a typical Argentine “gaucho”, a dreamy Latin lover and a shady character. Senora Mercedes let herself be won over by his promises of help, and accepted his protection. His financial support would allow her to enroll her two girs as pupils in the Salesian Sisters’ school in Junin, but at what price! Laura was very happy living under the serene guidance of the young missionary Sisters.

She discovered God, His love, and allowed herself to be surrounded by it. God’s love stimulater her to love in return. Thus Laura made herself all to all, helping them in any way she could. She was a leader and everyone’s friend. Lauraaccepted God’s love. Laura was fascinated by the ideal of the Sisters and secretly hoped to consecrate herself to God in the service of her brothers and sisters. “I wish Mamma would know you better and be happy”, she often prayed before the tabernacle.  Laura was distressed about her mother’s situation with Senor Mora; her mother was indeed far away from God and Senor Mora was the cause. The struggle for living and providing for her daughters had wearied her. In a moment of stress and discouragement, she had given in to his demands. But Laura would do her best to give her mamma God’s friendship once again. Love is stronger than death, love creates and maintains life. Deeply believing this, Laura said to the Lord: “I offer you my life for that of my mother”. The winter of 1903 at Junin was extremely severe, with persistent rain and dampness. Laura became weaker with each passing day; she was wasting away. Although her mother took her home to Quilquihue where the climate was ore pleasant and helpful, there was no improvement in her health. Laura knew she would not recover. God had accepted her offering-her self-immolation. Senora Mercedes remained day and night at her bedside, surrounding her with every care and attention. Laura kept looking at her tenderly.

Now it was time to reveal her secret. “Mamma, I’m dying, but I’m happy to offer my life for you. I asked Our Lord for this”. Senora Mercedes was appalled. She fell on her knees sobbing. She understood everything in a flash. “Laura, my daughter, please forgive me…O dear God, please forgive my life of sin… Yes, I will start again.” Laura’s face was not serene and at peace.

 

St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842. One day when he was just four, he disappeared and his good mother went looking for him. She found the little fellow in a corner praying with his hands joined and his head bowed.43 He already knew all his prayers by heart! At five, he was an altar boy. When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion. On that solemn day, he chose a motto: “Death, but not sin!” and he kept it always.

“A teenager such as Dominic, who bravely struggled to keep his innocence from Baptism to the end of his life, is really a saint,” said Pope St. Pius X. Yes, Dominic was an ordinary boy with an extraordinary love for God.

At the age of twelve, Dominic entered the school run by St. John Bosco. Don Bosco examined him first and at the end of the questions, Dominic asked, “What do you think of me?” “I think you’re good material,” answered the priest, with a big smile. “Well, then,” said Dominic, “You are a good tailor, so if the material is good, take me and make a new suit out of me for Our Lord!”

Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.

One day, a fellow brought a magazine full of bad pictures to school. In a minute, a group of boys had gathered around him to see it. “What’s up?” wondered Dominic, and he, too, went to look. Just one peek was enough for him. He grabbed the magazine and tore it to pieces! “Poor us!” he cried in the meantime, “Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren’t you ashamed?” “Oh, we were just looking at these pictures for the fun of it,” said one boy. “Sure, for fun,” answered Dominic, “and in the meantime you’re preparing yourselves to go to hell!”

“Oh, what’s so wrong about looking at these pictures anyway?” another fellow demanded. Dominic had a ready answer. “If you don’t see anything wrong,” he said sadly, “this is even worse.” It means you’re used to looking at shameful things!” No one said anything after that. They all realized that Dominic was right. Another time he stopped a terrific stone-throwing fight between two angry boys. Holding up a little crucifix between them, he said, “Before you fight, look at this and say, ‘Jesus Christ was innocent and He died forgiving His murderers. I am a sinner, and I am going to hurt Him by not forgiving my enemies.’ Then you can start – and throw your first stone at me!”

The two boys were so ashamed of themselves that they apologized, and promised to go to confession too.

One day Dominic began to feel sick and was sent home to get better. While at home he grew worse, instead, and received the last Sacraments. He was only fifteen then, but he did not fear death. In fact, he was overjoyed at the thought of going to Heaven. Just before he died, he tried to sit up.

“Goodbye,” he murmured to his good father. Suddenly his face lit up with a smile of great joy and happiness. “I am seeing such wonderful things!” he exclaimed. Then he spoke no more, for he had gone to Heaven.

His feast day is March 9th.