2020-10-22 UNITED STATES

Monica Estrellado: experience working with the Marist Community

Marist Youth & Young Adults USA ask  Marist Youth Interns to share about their experiences working with the Marist Community and some of the projects they have been working on.


October: Monica Estrellado shares about “The Huddle” and her experience visiting St. Helen’s Church!

Becoming a Marist Youth Intern has been my most enlightening and rewarding experience in the Marist community. As a student at Marist High School in Bayonne, NJ and later becoming a Marist Young Adult, I loved being part of Marist Youth programs. In November 2019, I learned about the Marist Youth Internship and immediately applied. I was both curious and excited to be part of the planning and development of Marist Youth and Young Adult projects here in the US.

Soon after starting the internship, Matt Fallon, Maureen Hagan, and myself put together the Office of Life and Mission (or what we like to call “The Huddle”), located at the Brothers community in Roselle, NJ. It was exciting to be part of the setup- putting up calendars, setting up work spaces, etc. It was all coming together.

As a team, we met in the huddle every Tuesday to plan events, prepare materials, and enjoy each other’s company while doing work. We love to keep our door open as the Brothers stop in to say hello and see what we were up to. Some of my tasks as intern include creating mass emails and updating our website, which I love to do as it challenges my communication and editing skills!

Some of the early experiences my fellow intern Billy Carvalho and I had was with Bro. Brian Poulin. We met in the huddle where Bro. Brian gave us a presentation on vocations and living in community.

In early March, we had a session with Bro. Bill Lavigne who took us to St. Helen’s Church in Westfield, NJ to explore parish ministry. We had the opportunity to go to Mass with some of the parishioners in a makeshift chapel in the gym, as the church was in the middle of renovations. It was enlightening to see how much Bro. Bill and the parish community do: retreats, food pantry, and much more.

At St. Helen’s, we had the opportunity to meet with Father Michael Saporito, who at the time was recently elected to become Bishop for the Archdiocese of Newark. Parishioners lined up to congratulate him before and after Mass. It was evident that Father Michael left a positive impact at St. Helen’s and that there was true family spirit.

Afterwards, Bro. Bill treated Billy and I to a delicious breakfast at a local diner. I loved getting to know Bro. Bill more and hearing about his experiences both as a Marist Brother and being involved at St. Helen’s. It was exciting to hear about his experiences working with some of the local prisons, holding bible studies and simply offering some company to the inmates.

Given the pandemic, we took a break from gathering in the huddle to not only keep each other safe, but the Roselle community as well. As a team, we held virtual meetings via Zoom to assess and plan what the next few months would look like.

Doing what we could, we held virtual events for our Marist Family across the USA. We held Encounter check-ins for each group from this past year. I had the opportunity to be on the recruiting side of things, creating sign up forms and reaching out to both Marist Youth and Young Adults to let them know about this great opportunity. We had a great turnout every time and it was comforting to see what everyone was up to since their Encounter. Like many of us, we realized that check-ins are important as we are a family and should support one another, especially now.

Further, we held a series of virtual events for Marist Youth Weekend that would have been during Memorial Day Weekend this past May. Marist Youth is my favorite event during the year, so it was bittersweet having to make it virtual. Nonetheless, it was a great virtual weekend with events like a Live Keynote with Bro. Luis Ramos, Taize Prayer, Champagnat Games, and sharing memories from previous years.

In mid-September, we had the opportunity to go back to the huddle in Roselle, taking all necessary safety precautions. I was excited to go back to a small bit of normalcy. Recently, we have been traveling to our “huddle north” in Esopus- taking a


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