Grant Spotlight: Our Lady of Aparecida Parish

Our Lady of Aparecida Parish in Danbury was a first-time Foundations in Faith grant recipient only last fall. But they’re already making headway when it comes to religious education and faith formation.

Our Lady of Aparecida received a Youth in Action grant from the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation. Their program was the Jovenes Sem Fronteiras (Youth Without Borders) retreat for their parish’s young adults. And true to the Youth in Action program’s emphasis on collaboration, the parish invited young adults from Bridgeport and Waterbury’s Brazilian Catholic communities to join in.

“We were very blessed to have the community come together and help us put together this retreat,” said Gabriela Pereira, Our Lady of Aparecida’s young adult ministry co-coordinator. “Without the help of other members of the community, we would not have been able to put the retreat together.”

The retreat took place over one weekend in March, and featured a priest and a missionary from Brazil, who were able to connect with the young adults at the retreat. More importantly, it made them come back for more.

“One way that we knew the retreat was successful was that many young adults only bought tickets to come on Saturday,” Pereira said. “However, it turned out that the majority of them came back on Sunday even though on Saturday morning before the day started, they said they were only going to come for one day. That shows us that throughout the day on Saturday, something must have happened that changed their minds and made them want to participate on Sunday.”