Hi St. Francis families!
It’s sort of strange to be back at the old stomping grounds. I spent a third of my life at St. Francis of Assisi School. From 1999-2008 I had the distinct pleasure of leaving my mark on the school and parish just as your students are doing now as well.
After St. Francis, I went to Aviation High School, where I graduated in 2012. During this time, like many teens, I lost faith in the Church, went away, and swore I was uninterested in anything to do with God, thinking about faith, or being involved with Church. My how the tables have turned.
I recognized I was wrong when I did my gap year in Nepal and India, teaching English to students in Far Western rural Nepal. There, faith is everywhere, and practiced by everybody. Why did I not care as much? What did I believe?
At WSU where I graduated from college, I returned to the Church. In a new place and without any friends, I knew that one was there for me: Christ. I got involved with the Church, did my confirmation, and have been dedicated to the Word of God and helping others recognize it in their lives ever since.
Over the past two years I completed a Dual Masters in history from Columbia University and the London School of Economics where I participated in many of the on campus and off campus ministries: serving food to the homeless and hungry, participating in countless meditations and benedictions, and working with others to form interreligious and interfaith dialogues.
The combination of my love of history and my focus on my faith presents excellent intersecting opportunities for youth. For the past ten years, I’ve been involved in leadership roles in statewide youth leadership development programs, camps, summer opportunities, internships, retention, and tutoring. Mixing those experiences and skills together with faith has already sparked ideas for this youth ministry.
While my role is at the parish level, I’m active with the students at the school just as much with the goal of bringing them back into the church. Soon, students can partake in the Monday night youth group program (information session is on October 7th at 5:30 pm in Unity Place), Confirmation, the Wednesday early release program “Kev’s Q’s” where students can gather to exchange thoughts on topics relevant to them at the school, and rotating skill development workshops and film screenings.
Ultimately, my goal is to work toward illuminating avenues for students to take to remain, or renew, their faith in the Holy Trinity and the Church. Please never hesitate to reach out to me about questions or concerns.
Peace be with you all,
Kevin J. Schilling
Pastoral Assistant for Youth Ministry