By CLAIRE MISTRETTA, Special to the Bulletin | Published April 5, 2018
SNELLVILLE—The Living Saints Project, a project where the second-year confirmation students share a part of their journey with parishioners of the church, took place at St. Oliver Plunkett Church in Snellville in the fall.
As a part of the second year of the confirmation program at the church, the students selected a saint whose name they will take at their confirmation. Students chose a saint with whom they can walk on their journey to inspire them along the way. Much prayer and research went into the decisions, and this project showcased the inspiring, meaningful saints who impacted each student in a unique way.
After choosing their saints, the students were required to complete their Living Saints Project where they dressed up as that saint and presented to different groups of parishioners at the church. Over several weeks, each student shared his or her information either after one of the Masses, to the elementary religious education classes or to the other confirmation students.
Another aspect of the project required students to create a prayer card for their saint. They either had to find a prayer to their saint or write one of their own. When parishioners spoke with the youth dressed as saints, the students distributed their cards to them as a way of bringing their sisters and brothers in Christ with them on their journey.
By taking on the role of their chosen saint, the students presented to the parish a unique experience through which the parishioners could, in a way, meet those saints. The students went above and beyond the expectations to represent their saint accurately in the way that they dressed, and the parishioners could speak with many saints from St. Francis of Assisi to St. Thérèse of Lisieux and others.
Several teens, dressed up as their chosen saint, greeted the church’s parishioners in the narthex and the courtyard after each Mass. A number of students also presented their information to the elementary school children as a part of their religious education lesson. All these parishioners were encouraged to speak with the teens, who could answer questions that the curious churchgoers could ask. Prior to their presentations, the students put time into finding the answers to each of the questions and then had the opportunity to share that knowledge with those who asked.
In researching questions, students acquired knowledge on numerous topics, including their saint’s birth and death dates and what led them down their path to sainthood; students also explored facts about their saint’s canonization and about the work that the saint did during his or her lifetime. Beyond merely the facts, the parishioners could ask more personal questions about the qualities of the saint that the student looked up to as well as opinion questions such as why the student felt that the church should have canonized his or her saint.
One student, reflecting on her experience, shared this: “Participating in this project gave me the opportunity to grow closer to my saint, St. Teresa of Calcutta. It allowed me to learn more about the saint whom I chose to walk with me through the rest of my confirmation journey and beyond. Additionally, this experience introduced me more fully to the beauty of praying for the intercession of the saints whose lives provide incredible examples of how we should walk with Christ. Throughout my journey of completing the Living Saints Project, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new, and that taught me more than I could have ever imagined.”
This project gave students a new and exciting way to get to know the saint whom they chose to walk with on their journey. Before taking their saint’s name at confirmation in the spring, the teens developed a deeper knowledge of and relationship with their saint through completion of the project. Moreover, students shared knowledge with others in the parish community.
A window into the confirmation journeys of the teens opened up for the parishioners, and the project gave the students an experience beyond the classroom where they could learn and grow. Journeying through this experience brought the students closer to their saint in preparation for their upcoming confirmations.
Claire is a 10th-grade student at Grayson High School in Grayson. She is an active member of the Life Teen group at St. Oliver Plunkett Church.