Bishop McKnight asked parishes to form small groups to assist parishes in discerning their pastoral plan. Along with the small groups, he asked up to six youth to come together for a Youth Summit to offer their thoughts and ideas for the parish pastoral plan. We were so happy and proud of the youth who stepped forward to give their input: Webster Brown, Caitlin Carrico, Lennyn De Leon, Mary Eufinger, Jaysen Gerke, and Jessica Tienda. Our SVdP Youth Summit ambassadors consisted of three boys and three girls. Each chapel had representation; two are homeschooled; two are from Smith-Cotton and two are from Sacred Heart Catholic School. We appreciate and value them and the time they spent to help us build the future together.
We are thankful to Katelin Hladik, Kevin Morales, and Robert Ellebracht for assisting the youth in their discussion.
Please continue reading so they can introduce themselves to you:
Webster Brown – My favorite Psalm is Psalm 19:14. I do not eat meat on Friday as per the instructions of Fr. Doke from Jefferson City, Missouri. I turn 18 this June on the 27th. I was confirmed with the Holy Spirit this past May. I have eight siblings, four brothers and four sisters. I like discussing theories and hypotheticals. I want to be an F.B.I. Criminal Investigator. My favorite movie genres are Superhero movies like Captain America The Winter Soldier, Monster movies like Godzilla, Romantic Dramas, with limited comedy. And especially Old Westerns Like True Grit, Mclintock, and Most Spaghetti Westerns like The Good The Bad And The Ugly. War movies are something I really enjoy also. I like reading history novelizations, such as Ron Chernow’s Award Winning novel “Grant”. Jennifer A. Nielsen’s “Resistance” is a personal favorite. I also enjoy classical literature like Jules Verne’s “Around The World In Eighty Days” and Louisa May Alcott’s “An Old Fashioned Girl.”
Caitlin Carrico – My name is Caitlin Carrico, I don’t have any siblings and I have two cats. I am fifteen years old. I enjoy playing volleyball and being outside. I do a lot of crafts and I enjoy cooking and baking. I go to Sacred Heart School, and I will be a Sophomore this year. I was recently confirmed, and I have been an alter server since third grade. I would like to start reading. I enjoy learning new things about the Catholic Faith in our religion classes at school.
Lennyn De Leon – Hello, my name is Lennyn De Leon and I am a 16 years old Salvadoran (country from Central America) boy. I currently attend Smith Cotton High School and am involved in extracurricular activities such as symphonic band and soccer. Some of my passions are playing soccer, playing musical instruments such as piano and guitar, and spending time with my family. To me, church, family, and school are the three most important components in my life right now. I recently got confirmed at my parish.
Mary Eufinger – My name is Mary Eufinger. I am 17 years old, and I am going to be a senior in high school in this upcoming school year. I live in Cole Camp and have lived here for 12 years. I have been homeschooled my whole life and have 8 brothers and sisters. I am also a member of the St. John worship center. I look forward to representing the Sedalia Catholic community for the Youth Summit.
Jaysen Gerke – My name’s Jaysen Gerke, I’m 17 years old and I live in Sedalia, MO. I attend Sacred Heart and will be graduating next year as a senior. I enjoy playing soccer and baseball for my school during the fall and spring, as well as spending time with my family at home. When I’m not doing one of those two things, I’m usually playing video games or hanging out with my friends. I became a full fledged Christian once I moved from public schooling to SHS. My grandpa took me to Mass every Sunday at Sacred Heart Parish. I was recently Confirmed, pushing through the difficulty of Corona and did the work from home so that I was eligible. In fact, my grandpa was my sponsor for it.
Jessica Tienda – My name is Jessica Tienda and I am 16 years old. As many of us know, this year has taken a toll in all of our lives, but as time has been going by, we have learned to cope in many ways. Attending mass during these hard months has helped my family cope with the negativity surrounding our nation. Hopefully, as this year goes on, we will be able to continue with our regular routines, such as going to school. As for right now, I am enjoying summer, but also taking an Algebra II course, so I will be able to take a Precalculus class during this upcoming school year. Taking an online course in the summer may sound like torture, but I am able to get through it by listening to music, especially my favorite, BTS! For the school year of 2020-2021, I will be attending Smith-Cotton High School. Many opportunities have crossed my path and one of them is that I have recently become a member of the National Honor Society. I will also be in an organization called HOSA (Future Health Professionals), and I am going to be in show choir, which I am very excited for! I am hoping to have a positive school year filled with joy and laughter. My faith, family, and education have become even more important throughout these years, and becoming a better person physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually is my lifetime goal. I am looking forward to the plans that God has for all of us!
Robert Ellebracht – My name is Robert Ellebracht, I am 24 years old and I live at home on a farm in Sedalia. I was born in Texas and grew up in a few different places around the United States and the world. I grew up playing sports year-round such as baseball, soccer, football, and basketball which helped me to learn teamwork and build my leadership skills. I graduated from college in 2019 with degrees in Marketing and International Business from Notre Dame College in Cleveland, OH. I work many hours out on the farm, but in my free time, I enjoy working out, playing sports, and being involved with the church. I hope to get more involved in the community in other ways as I live in Sedalia longer and learn more about the people that make the community special.
Kevin Morales – My name is Kevin Morales. I received the call of God at age 16 to work with youth. Since then I have been working with teenagers. I’m the charismatic regional youth leader. I have a youth group where we get together every Friday 7-9 pm. I love helping at church with my wife. One of my favorite quotes is “We are the present of the church.“ God is always waiting for us with open arms!
Katelin Hladik – My name is Katelin Hladik. I was born and raised in Sedalia and graduated from Sacred Heart School. After living in Omaha for 15 years, my husband, Bob, and I moved back here. We have three kids: RJ, Cooper, and Millie and are excited to have the two oldest at SH (and all three in about a year!). Currently, I serve as chairperson for the St Vincent de Paul Pastoral Council, chair for the annual Dinner Auction at Sacred Heart, member of the Sacred Heart Alumni Committee, and Secretary of the Bothwell Hospital Foundation Board. As you can tell, our family enjoys being active in our church, school, and community. I am very excited to be participating in the Youth Summit this year to get a better perspective of the opinions of our youth and to include their thoughts as we develop our Pastoral Plan.