Maronite Young Adult Workshop- Miami

By Therese Touma
Last weekend (October29th-31st), the Maronite Servants took part in the Maronite Young Adult (MYA) Leadership workshop in Miami, FL. Fr. Elie Mikhael pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon, Miami hosted the event along with the help of Fr. Elias Sleiman (Los Angeles), Fr. Jean Younes (Danbury/ Westchester), and the MYA Board.

Over 100 Maronite young adults were present, traveling from across the U.S. to learn more about leadership and growing the MYA. Also in attendance were some of their clergy, Fr. Vincent Farhat (Lawrence), Fr. Naji Kiwan (Waterbury), Fr. Pierre El Khoury (Houston), Fr. Toni Akouri (Somerset) and Fr. Rudolf Wakim (Carnegie/Aliquippa).

The guest speaker for the workshop, Fr. John Cusick, addressed how to effectively initiate parish young adult groups and strategies to keep them going. Fr. Cusick suggested a number of key ideas to get a group started, such as the following:

• Think of the people before getting the program and activities started. Be direct with people, get to know them personally, think of a suitable time and invite them to come to the parish.

• Have a realistic goal of how many people you will need to form this group. Be optimistic!

• To create an effective group, dream BIG, go slow (a few things done well is vital) and think small.

In one of the workshops, Dorothy Polchinski, director of young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and close collaborator with St. Joseph’s MYA, gave a talk on practical strategies for ministry. She also spoke about travel plans to attend World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. Dorothy invited Maronite adults ages 18-35 to attend World Youth Day in conjunction with her group from Atlanta. She emphasized that this would be a great opportunity to give witness and celebrate the gift of our faith with other Catholic youth from around the world. For more information, see the Archdiocese of Atlanta website http://www.yam.org/events/wyd2011.php.

The weekend concluded with the Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon, Miami followed by a luncheon in the parish hall to honor of those who attended the workshop.