Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 1, 2010
Retreat brings youth FacetoFace with faith
FacetoFace evangelizing ministry challenges Catholics, young and old to rediscover Catholicism's beauty
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Their mission is to make saints for the Church and they believe they are successful at it.
FacetoFace Ministries has changed the lives of many people in Western Canada through retreats, parish missions and energetic music.
In December, members of the ministry visited a group of teenagers in Spruce Grove and now they are coming to Our Lady of Victory Camp to spread the word.
"The mission of our organization is to challenge people to holiness by pointing to the fullness of the Catholic faith," explains FacetoFace leader Ken Yasinski, 33.
"We are hoping to get saints to the Church because we firmly believe that holy people can renew humanity. We exist to serve the Church, to point people to the fullness of the Catholic faith and we say the easiest way to grow in holiness is by pointing to the full life of the Church."
FacetoFace Ministries, which is based in the Saskatoon Diocese, is in its ninth year of evangelization ministry in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.
It has also served at international youth events such as World Youth Day and the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec. More than 2,000 people are reached annually through the ministry's core activities.
Mike Landry, youth minister at Holy Trinity Parish and Evergreen Catholic Schools, is glad he brought FacetoFace to Spruce Grove in December.
"Our group responded very well," he said of the 21 young people who attended a Dec. 5-6 retreat at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
A DEEPER FAITH
"It was a good step for us because they really challenged (the youth) to rediscover the beauty of their Catholic faith," Landry continued. "It was a fantastic addition for some of our youth just to get them to go a little bit deeper, to want to pray a little bit more, to want to be a little bit more like Christ."
Spruce Grove's Rhianne Feser, 16, said the retreat deeply impacted her. "I had my first honest Confession. I've been to so many retreats and rallies, but this is the one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Some of my perspectives have totally changed from this retreat."
Key to FacetoFace success is presenting Catholic teaching in a clear way. "What we try and do in our messages is to present the Catholic faith in a simple language where a person can respond because if a person can't understand the message, they can't respond," Yasinski said.
"So we try and make the faith relevant and real and show that Christ is real, that he can be lived and encountered in the life of the Church. So on all of our activities that's at the core - to challenge people to holiness by leading them to the fullness of the Catholic faith."
FacetoFace also does foreign missionary work. On Feb. 24, a group of nine young women returned from India after spending six weeks serving the poor in the slums of Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa. Another group of young women spent three months in the slums some two years ago.
Yasinski has been doing full-time ministry in the Church since 1999. He was initially hired by a deanery in the Prince Albert Diocese to do youth ministry in seven parishes. But he often received invitations to speak to youth groups and began acting on it. Over the years he has spoken in Quebec, the United States and Nicaragua.
In 2002, Yasinski ended his contract with the deanery and formed FacetoFace Ministries.
In the beginning, the ministry only held youth events, but now it has expanded to include the whole family. Yasinski does most of the speaking, although others on the 11-member team are beginning to take speaking engagements.
FacetoFace has a full band to provide music for the events and has recorded several CDs.
"When we do a parish mission or a youth retreat, we come with a big sound system and we have drums and guitars and the people involved really have a heart for evangelization and they love music and they love drama and they love speaking," Yasinski said, noting that between four to eight team members usually go on the road with him.
Parish missions are usually held on weekends and include the whole parish, from small children to seniors.
"Because we'll have little kids there, we have a separate children's ministry that happens," Yasinski explained. "Some of the team members lead the children's ministry."
A parish mission usually starts Saturday noon and ends on Sunday afternoon. It involves several talks, skits, drama, eucharistic adoration, Mass and Reconciliation.
Eucharistic adoration is a crucial part of the weekend. "We really feel that we need to place people right before Jesus, the person that we are speaking about," Yasinski stressed. "Our hope is that participants will encounter Christ in a deep and meaningful way."
Up to 200 people are expected to attend the Feb. 27-28 retreat at Our Lady of Victory Camp that is being sponsored by the OLVC team and Red Deer's Notre Dame High School.
The FacetoFace team will use a format similar to a parish mission, except the content will be geared more to a teenage crowd.
"There'll be lots of energetic music; we also have quiet times too where they can reflect upon what they heard. But we'll get them moving around with energetic music with our full band playing," Yasinski said.
Over the years, FacetoFace Ministries has seen "tremendous fruit," he said. "It's such a time of grace. We really see a lot of families in parish missions renewing their faith.
"We see young people really embracing their faith, not knowing too much about it initially but really we've seen hundreds of real deep conversions of young people that are lasting."
FOUR RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS
At least four young people from FacetoFace have embraced religious vocations. Two are in the seminary and one is expected to enter next year. A woman who joined a religious order was recently featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Others have become fulltime missionaries with groups such as Catholic Christian Outreach.
"I feel that where there is effective evangelization there will be vocations," Yasinski said. "It's really encouraging because vocations are there, we just need to bring people to Christ and if a person truly wants to grow in holiness, they have to consider their vocation. If they are a young person, they have to consider religious life."
For more information on FacetoFace Ministries go to www.facetofaceretreats.com or call Ken Yasinski at 306-343-1539.
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