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Addison County Catholic Youth Ministry

BRISTOL-- The mission of Addison County Catholic Youth Ministry is to create a community to support the growth and education of the next generation of Catholics through fellowship, study, service and activities.
It serves the parishes of St. Peter in Vergennes, St. Ambrose in Bristol and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Middlebury with different programming and events for youth of all ages. This includes monthly family nights, bi-weekly high school nights and monthly middle school nights.
“We are striving to reach our youth where they are at, which means going to sporting events and recognizing their achievements, having active social media accounts and listening to their requests,” noted Emma Kalamarides, youth minister.
Addison County Catholic Youth Ministry has sent groups to the Vermont Catholic Youth Serve and Steubenville Conferences last year and will again this year. Youth also are involved in Totus Tuus, a summer program for children. Recurring events include games, a discussion on a topic of living out the faith and prayer.
“We have tried on integrate a mix of prayers throughout our meetings which include spontaneous prayer, meditations, the rosary, Stations of the Cross, Adoration and group intentions,” Kalamarides said.

Emma Kalamarides seeks to create a community to support growth and education of next generation of Catholics

BRISTOL--Emma Kalamarides went to college planning to become an elementary school teacher.
But things changed at St. Michael’s College in Colchester where this year she earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies with minors in education and psychology.
Though she was raised Catholic, the second of five siblings found her interest in her faith growing during college. She was involved in campus ministry, served as a retreat leader, participated in peer ministry, was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and joined in service activities.
She interned in the faith formation program at Holy Family/St. Lawrence Parish in Essex Junction and helped at St. Pius X Parish in Essex Center. “I liked what they were doing” to pass on the faith to the next generation, she said. “That sparked the fire.”
During her senior year of college, Kalamarides took an internship at St. Peter Church in Vergennes and St. Ambrose Church in Bristol, and that turned into her first job out of college: She is the youth minister and faith formation director for the two parishes.
Her mission is to create a community to support the growth and education of the next generation of Catholics through fellowship, study, service and practical applications.
Kalamarides, 21, grew up in Simsbury, Conn., a 2012 Simsbury High School graduate. Her father is a business executive and her mother is a stay-at-home mom.
Involved in religious education and youth group in high school, she hopes the youth she now works with will see through her that the Church cares about them and that there is a community for them in the parishes.
To do that, she seeks to build relationships with the students, including youth group members from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Middlebury. She meets with a seventh- and eighth-grade group once a month and a high school group twice a month. There is time to play games and to discuss serious topics related to faith.
Five to 10 youth usually attend each meeting.
“I don’t want them to always feel they are in a class,” Kalamarides said. “I want them to build relationships with other youth, the adults who are involved and me.”
She hopes the youth will see that “being Catholic is cool,” not outdated.
With a deep love for her faith, Kalamarides hopes to build up the community to serve others and is planning service projects like helping at a food shelf and making blankets for a local shelter.
She’s also planning a fund raiser for the youth ministry: A Flamingo Flocking. For $15 supporters can have the youth group set up a flock of 24 plastic pink flamingos in the yard of someone in the area of the three parishes.
A knitter who often prays the rosary and enjoys Bible journaling and being outdoors, Kalamarides said that after her own confirmation, she took on her faith as her own: “It’s the guiding light of my life.”
For more information, go to www.saspministry.wordpress.com.
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