By Arlene Edmonds

Special to The CS&T

Picture Bucks County youths listening intently. They are hearing about the highlights of the life of a famous man that can serve as a role model. Those who work with them are also present, garnering ways they can help the young people follow in this illustrious figure’s footsteps.

This will be the scene when the archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults holds “A Day of Spiritual Reflection” on Sunday, Jan.25., at the St. Katharine Drexel Motherhouse, 1663 Bristol Pike in Bensalem from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sister Marie Michelle Donnelly, R.S.M., will unfold the life and message of St. Paul in an attempt to rejuvenate the spirit of those in attendance.

“It will truly be a day of spiritual reflection,” said Andrea Montillo, assistant director of Parish Youth Ministry. “Anyone who works with youth, desires to work in youth ministries, or volunteers to serve as leaders to Catholic boys and girls are welcome to attend. We are so pleased to have Sister Marie Michelle Donnelly lead sessions as she takes those who attend on a journey with St. Paul as their companion.”

This is all part of helping young people to heed the call of Pope Benedict XVI who asked the whole Church, including the youth, to draw inspiration from the jubilee year dedicated to St. Paul. The apostle preached with great courage and was faced with many adversities. Sunday’s conference aims to enable youth leaders to help young people deal with peer pressure and other stresses.

The program will open with a time for contemplation and reflection at 9:30 a.m. The first session is titled, “St. Paul, the Man and the Mission.” The second session will stress how the life of the apostle can be used to help bring youths closer to Christ and the Church. More than two dozen have already registered to participate in these portions of the program, according to Montillo.

Even though the retreat is not expected to exceed 50 participants, the information will reach hundreds of young people, particularly those in Bucks County parishes. Montillo said she hopes that priests, religious men and women and even those who work in Catholic schools will consider coming to the event.

“We really want youth leaders and potential leaders to come away refreshed and renewed,” said Montillo. “We want them to walk away feeling a stronger conviction that Christ is the answer. This is a very positive message that they can certainly take to the youths they are working with. St. Paul has done so much in his ministry that can help our young people. His example and life will inspire them.

“We really want people to pre-register, but we do want as many as possible to come,” Montillo added. “We definitely will not turn away anyone who wants to come. We don’t expect an onslaught of people registering, but if they did we would have to (stretch) the loaves and fishes during lunch. We encouraged registration by the Jan. 10 deadline, but that deadline is not final.”

“A Day of Spiritual Reflection” will also include prayer, the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation and celebration of the Eucharist. To register please contact the Office for Youth and Young Adults at 215-965-4639.

Arlene Edmonds is a freelance writer and St. Raymond of Penafort parishioner. She may be reached at