The Way of Life

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Our baptismal font is shaped like a cross.  In our baptism we’re marked with a cross on our forehead.  And, we’re always making the “sign of our cross” upon our head, belly, and chest.

Cross, cross, cross: and yet, it’s so easy it is to forget that following Jesus will cost us something.

Sacrificing ourselves for something is common, though.  We sacrifice sleep to finish our work.  We sacrifice dinner with our families for play practice, swim practice, or soccer practice.  We sacrifice fun things now so we’re successful in the future.

Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice: but for whom are we sacrificing?

Here’s one mystery of our baptism: that the baptismal waters of death are also the womb of life.   As Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Throughout this year, small groups of youth and adults from Holy Family will visit an Episcopal community in Durham called the Community of the Franciscan Way.  These Christians have sacrificed themselves in order to live with those who would otherwise be homeless.  They’ve committed themselves to a life of prayer, work, and friendship with the poor.  And here’s the mystery: in sacrificing themselves for Christ and for those whom Christ loves – the poor, they have discovered true life.

So, I invite you to come and sacrifice yourself for Christ and for those whom Christ loves.  We’ll visit, eat with this community, and help them take care of their house of hospitality.  Space is limited, so contact Paul Cizek ( or Wren Blessing ( to come along.  Perhaps we too will discover that in losing our lives for Christ’s sake, we’ll find true life.

Saturday, Dec. 1 (8a – 12:30)

Monday, January 21st (7a – 12 noon)

Saturday,  February 9 (8a – 12:30)

Saturday, March 2 (8a – 12:30)

God with us (and a plate of cookies…)

…there are so many things for which we give thanks.

Join us as Holy Family’s children act out scenes of the nativity story on November 18th.



While children are photographed, adults are invited to gather in the Parish Hall to exchange cookies.

Adults, please bring 2 dozen cookies to share.

Children, please arrive no later than 2 pm to be costumed (or come in costume) as the following:

  • 5 years old and under:  barnyard animals
  • Kindergarten & 1st grade:  angels or barnyard animals
  • 2nd grade:  angels
  • 3rd grade:  townspeople
  • 4th grade and 5th graders without assigned roles:  townspeople

We have costumes on hand, but would be delighted to have extras should you have costumes to share.

Sometimes Awkward, But Important

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Every once in a while, EYC devotes a few nights to discussing “Things we don’t talk about at church, but probably should.”  For two weeks in October, we discussed how women are portrayed in the media.

In Jr. and Sr. EYC, we devoted sometime to the topic of Women and Beauty, using a video from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.  In Sr. EYC, we complicated things further with a few clips from the 2012 documentary, Miss Representation about how women in powerful positions are portrayed (i.e. Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin).

Week one, we divided by guys and girls to discuss.  Week two, we grouped back up to discuss with each other.

How might these portrayals of women affect young women?

How might these portrayals of women affect young men?

How do we, as Christians, respond?

Youth: “It’s false advertisement.  That’s not even a real person.”

Mentor: “That’s easy to see here and now.  Is that how you normally respond to images like this?”


Mentor: “Where do you see images like this?”

Youth: “Internet. Magazines at the grocery store. Billboards. TV. School. Movies.”

Mentor: “How do you think it affects us to see images like this so often?”


Mentor: “So even if you become educated about images like this – even if you know they’re false, does that solve the problem for you?  Does that make these sorts of images harmless for us?”

These were not smooth conversations (Youth: “Um… that’s awkward.”), but youth and mentors were both engaged and seemed to know something was at stake here.  Something was wrong with this, even if we could only articulate parts of what seemed wrong as a whole.  And there didn’t seem to be an easy way out or an easy way for us to avoid these sorts of images.  So what were we as Christians supposed to do?

We began to explore a Christian response, but only just began.  What about you: how do you, as a Christian, respond to portrayals of women like this?