St. Mark Parish in Burlington recently hosted a Youth and Family Night with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal as part of its Lenten parish mission.

The event was one of the highlights of the mission, with more than 50 youth of all ages, along with members of their families, participating in an evening of food, faith and fun.

Shortly after the doors opened at 7 p.m., the St. Mark Youth Center was filled with youth and families engaging in joyful fellowship as a spirit of enthusiasm and excitement pervaded the place. After pizza and snacks, everyone moved into the Youth Center movie theater to hear the friars talk about their life as Franciscans, personal vocation stories and inspiring details from the life of St. Francis.

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal was founded in 1987 as a new expression of the Franciscan charism, following St. Francis’ mission to rebuild and renew the Church. As consecrated brothers and priests, the friars dedicate their lives to prayer, brotherhood and service to the materially poor and to the Church’s mission of evangelization.

The Youth and Family Night was an example of the friars’ style of evangelization, which is relational and engaging. Following their talks, the friars, youth and families bowled together in the recently renovated St. Mark bowling alley and played other games such as pool, Ping-Pong and air hockey.

Father Dallas St. Peter, Pastor of St. Mark, said of the event: “This evening was not only engaging for the youth, but was also an inspiration to the parents and grandparents who were in attendance. Faith, fellowship and fun are meant to be part of our life as a parish community. This event revived an awareness that our relationship with God is meant to be shared and lived together. The excitement, laughter and joy of this night reflected how God invites us to live together as His children.”