Teens from four parishes come together to experience ‘virtue’ in Middleton Print
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Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 09, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
Middleton High School students in the Cardinal Virtue program get in line to enjoy breakfast together after an 8:15 a.m. daily Mass at St. Bernard Church in Middleton. Four parishes in the Middleton area joined together to form the group for the teens in their religious education programs. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MIDDLETON -- There's a welcome sight once a week at the 8:15 a.m. daily Mass at St. Bernard Church in Middleton.

About 15 to 20 Middleton High School students take advantage of a late-start day to go to Mass and have breakfast together.

It's one of many activities in the Cardinal Virtue youth apostolate for high school students in the Middleton area. It's a joint effort by four parishes: St. Bernard in Middleton, St. Francis Xavier in Cross Plains, St. Peter in Ashton, and St. Martin of Tours in Martinsville.

The parishes have almost 300 high school students combined enrolled in their religious education programs. Cardinal Virtue believes it can engage half of them by the end of this school year.

'Bernie’s breakfast'

One of the ways the program engages the students is through the aforementioned weekly Mass and breakfast, or "Bernie’s breakfast," as it is affectionately-known. Middleton High School has one day each week with a late start. The religious education leaders at the parishes thought it would be a great opportunity to get the teens together on these days and experience faith and food together. The high school is just a couple of blocks away from St. Bernard Church, so the students don’t have far to go to get to class on time.

It comes as no surprise, but the food grabs the teens' attention. The aroma of bacon and pancakes can be sensed as the students arrive for Mass. Religious education leaders Kevin Sullivan, from St. Bernard; Doug Ulaszek, from St. Francis Xavier; and Michelle LeVeque from St. Peter and St. Martin, arrive well before Mass to get the food ready.

The students don’t go unnoticed, sometimes getting a mention and a welcome during the homily.

"We go to Mass and then we come back here and talk about what's going on in our lives and just get to know each other better. It's a good way to make friends," said Keith Lyster from St. Francis Parish in Cross Plains. "The pancakes are usually pretty good. I like to just see everybody here in the morning; it’s a nice way to start the day."

“I come every week. I really enjoy it because I like hanging out with other high schoolers who are also passionate about their faith. It's very easy to have conversations with them because I know where they are with their faith," said Shannon Chamberlain, also from St. Francis Parish in Cross Plains.

"We get free breakfast in the morning, and you get to hang out. If you need time to work on homework, we have plenty of tables, so you can work on homework."

Monthly event

Cardinal Virtue also hosts a monthly event for the teens with a guest speaker. Their next event is set for Thursday, May 16, at St. Bernard. The speaker will be Fr. Rick Heilman from St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff. He will speak on St. Padre Pio. The night will also include grilling and games, as well as optional Adoration and Confession.

For more information on Cardinal Virtue, visit their website at www.CardinalVirtue.com or their Facebook page at facebook.com/CardinalVirtue

 
 

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