Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Youth leader ministers to parishes in Brewster, Oroville

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Nov. 13, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Maria Rodriguez-Salazar is the new youth minister in the parishes of Brewster and Oroville. Her plans for the two groups make up a long list.

She has been involved with youth ministry for over 12 years and taught religious education for several years prior to that.

The Rodriguez-Salazar family moved to Oroville last July, the same month as Father Fernando Maldonado, pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, was assigned there. Roger Rodriguez is a U.S. Customs officer and has been assigned to Oroville for three years. The family previously lived in San Antonio, Texas. The couple has three children, two sons and a daughter.

Immaculate Conception Parish was in need of a youth minister, as was Sacred Heart Parish in Brewster. Father Jose Hernandez is pastor at Brewster and he and Father Maldonado were ordained together. Rodriguez-Salazar was willing to head the programs for both parishes.

The groups meet on Sunday, in Brewster at 1:30 p.m. and Oroville at 5:30. Rodriguez-Salazar said she teaches “holistically,” and planned her program, which she called “Por Vida, For Life,” to encompass “body, mind and soul.” One activity for the body that she is planning in December are nutrition classes. Once the young people learn the basics, Rodriguez-Salazar wants them to cook a meal for their families.

The group will hold a Thanksgiving food drive for those in need. A Bible study and Eucharistic Adoration are also in the planning stages.

An activity already past was to honor the dead on Nov. 2 by visiting local cemeteries and praying the rosary. A T-shirt contest was held to help give the young people a special identity, especially during any class activities.

The two classes have elected officers and Rodriguez-Salazar plans to encourage the teens “to take ownership” of their groups. Two teens, one from Brewster and one from Oroville, serve on their respective church councils as junior members.

Rodriguez-Salazar makes the 90-minute trip to Brewster each Sunday, taking her family along. Her husband assists her and she has also recruited a number of mothers and others to help her with the program.

All told, the two programs boast a combined youth population of 46. The Brewster group starts with sixth grade; the Oroville group with seventh.

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