By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
CrossRoads Ministry, 1226 W. Oak Street, has been introducing young Catholics to the realities of urban life for more than a dozen years.
At the heart of the retreat-based group, which is an outreach ministry of St. William Church, is the desire to form relationships, often with those on the margins of society.
In order to keep retreats affordable for those who wish to attend, the CrossRoads staff hosts an art show and fund-raising event each year.
This year’s event is April 12 at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth Street, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The theme is “Hearts on Fire.”
The event’s name refers to the passage from the Gospel of Luke where the newly-risen Jesus appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Dawn Dones, director of CrossRoads Ministry, called this fund-raising event “essential.”
“Our ultimate hope (for the event) is to bring people together and celebrate the work CrossRoads does. We do this by getting people really excited about our mission,” Dones said.
And their mission is rooted in the core tenets of Catholic social teaching, she explained.
“The Gospel’s teaching of peace and justice really serves as our guide,” Dones said.
CrossRoads Ministry offers urban retreats, mainly for high school and college-age students, but occasionally will host a middle school or adult group.
On the “Follow Me” retreat — CrossRoads’ most popular offering — small groups of teens spend time in the neighborhood surrounding St. William Church. They take walks in the area, eat meals at soup kitchens and interact with people at day centers — all to break down barriers, Dones said.
“We go to social service agencies not to do service but to be present with the people the world tells us not to be,” Samantha Thomeczek, CrossRoads retreat director, said.
At the end of the day, the group returns to the CrossRoads Retreat center — the former rectory at St. William — to reflect, pray and talk about their day.
“We’re connecting people to other people and trying to break down assumptions and stereotypes,” said Randy Barth, a retreat associate.
“Relationships have the possibility to change lives; they have the possibility to change the world,” Dones added.
Retreat participants visit places such as Catholic Charities, St. Jude Women’s Recovery Center, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen and the Americana Community Center.
CrossRoads has hosted retreats for the youth groups of the Cathedral of the Assumption, St. Leonard Church, St. Francis Xavier Church and the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky.
Sacred Heart Academy, DeSales High School and Presentation Academy all host their junior year retreats at CrossRoads.
“I recently started a college retreat by saying DNA-wise you and I are 98 percent the same. To understand that in your head is one thing, but to go out and look for ways that ‘I am you’ and ‘you are me’ is different. When you are willing to see it, you will see it,” Dones said.
Tickets for the “Hearts on Fire” event are $35 in advance and $30 at the door. To purchase tickets call Dawn Dones at 638-0683 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.