By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
Approximately 165 teens and adults were honored at a Catholics in Youth Ministry Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on May 11. The young people represented the future of the Church in Philadelphia, and the adults were those who mentored them to be so.
Dan Matour, a junior at Roman Catholic High School who was a recipient of the St. Timothy Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation of Youth Ministry, can be a stand-in for the rest.
The honorees, including Matour, are a prime example of why the work of the archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults is so critical. It is partly funded through the annual Catholic Charities Appeal.
A member of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Norristown, Matour is the older of the two children of Sue and Dave Matour, with a younger sister, Sarah, in eighth grade at St. Teresa of Avila School.
He started with his parish youth group in seventh grade and is a member of the Montgomery County Vicariate Youth Advisory Board. He’s a member of Youth for Eucharist and St. Titus Teens.
In a nutshell Matour does what he does for one simple reason. “I love Jesus, and I love serving Jesus,” he said. “Adoration helps me keep up my spiritual growth.”
“We try to help kids get closer to Christ,” Matour said. “Some don’t know what Eucharistic Adoration is all about.”
He’s helped organize Eucharistic Adoration visits, and his group volunteers at St. Francis Inn in Kensington once a month to serve lunch.
Daily prayer with quiet time is part of his routine, and a highlight is the weekly Mass celebrated at Roman Catholic.
At school Matour has run cross country, and he serves as an ambassador for Roman at different events. He’s also a member of the National Honor Society and the Community Service Corps.
As for his favorite subjects, that would be pre-calculus and physics, which will serve Matour in good stead in one possible future engineering career. At this point he’s looking at Temple, Pitt, Penn State, Drexel and Rensselaer, all of which have outstanding engineering programs.
Engineering is only one possibility; the other is becoming a diocesan priest.
“I’ve been thinking about it since fifth grade, and I do retreats at St. Charles Seminary,” Matour said. “I’m praying and seeing where the Lord takes me, but I’ll probably go to college first.”
Entering the seminary is probably not near the top of the list of future careers many of his classmates are pondering, but Matour is not shy about sharing his intention for a possible, if not probable, future vocation.
“I don’t care if others don’t like it,” he said, “but most people are very supportive.”
At a time when scandal has rocked the Philadelphia Church, some hesitancy about entering a seminary might be understandable.
Matour doesn’t see it that way. “I try not to let that enter my thoughts,” he said. “I forgive and forget, and my attitude is I can do better. This is not what the Church is all about. It can overcome this.”
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.