April 4, 2002
Do Fence Me In
By Deacon Tom Picciano/ SUN contributing writer
Endwell — An intricately planned progressive lock-in for Southern Region teens began with simple Stations of the Cross on Friday, March 15. Five candles lit the darkness around the stations at Our Lady of Angels Church as contemporary music played between reflections offered by the young people.
They considered questions like “What are some of the things that cause me to stumble and fall?” Challenges were presented: “Friends care and their actions show it. Take the risk of helping someone.” There were words of encouragement, “Jesus I am aware of how you forgive. Give me the courage to love like you no matter what the cost.” Many teens chose to stay for a few minutes after the service in personal prayer before moving on to a series of games to get acquainted.
It’s quite a feat to get 70 teens from a dozen parishes to mix together in a large group. But when asked, “If you were a shoe, what kind would it be?” the answers flowed. Sneakers, moccasins, soccer, wrestling, and boots were among those mentioned. The game progressed to removing footgear. Then they traded places with a series of questions which left one person standing alone in the massive circle.
Other games followed as those who walked in the door from separate parishes emerged with a bit more knowledge of each other. Southern Region Youth Council members planned the progressive lock-in, which had three stops. Within two hours, they loaded up in several cars for a ride to the Cinema Saver Theater in Endicott. Patrons of a late evening movie seemed a bit confused by teens toting sleeping bags and coolers into the lobby.
A community room at the theater looked well lived-in an hour later with pizza and soda being the most popular snacks. As most filed into the theater for the first film, Monsters Inc., others chose to stay behind and play a game or two. By midnight, there was a refueling stop and more games before feature number two Oceans 11. By this time, the entire three-screen complex belonged to the lock-in.
Another break came at 2:50 a.m. , when yawns were very evident. But excitement was in the air as the final feature was ready to roll. “When else would you get to see Harry Potter at 3 in the morning?” said Kathleen Lorenc, coordinator of Youth Ministry at Our Lady of Angels in Endwell.
There was some nodding off during Potter. Some were comfortable enough to sleep long after the lights came up. Several teens skipped the film entirely and sacked out on the floor of a vacant theater just down the hall. Vacuums roared in the community room after the film as the remnants of food were cleaned up and games stowed away for the final leg of the lock-in.
Dawn was breaking as cars were loaded up for a drive to Hillcrest where the Knights of Columbus at St. Catherine’s had prepared a breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, juice and friendly faces. “I think these kids deserve to be fed after all that staying up,” said Joe Tiesi, St. Catherine’s DRE, “It’s a fun crowd, a fun group of kids.” The event was judged a success by teens who attended. Jeffrey Warfle from Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal had fun, but “ate too much popcorn, way too much popcorn,” he added, “Everybody was very friendly.” Maureen Baxter of St. Catherine’s thought the event went well. “I think that it’s a great idea for everyone, the parishes to get together and do things like this.” But faith went along with the fun. Twelve hours after the opening Stations, the teens still remembered the ceremony. “I think we were getting kids to understand their faith a little more just by doing things with other kids, not just adults only,” Baxter said. Chaperones who attended the entire lock-in, such as Ted Foley of Our Lady of Sorrows, shared a similar view. “I thought it was a good experience for the kids, especially starting out with the Stations. Kind of getting them in the right frame of mind and giving them something to reflect on and work together for a common goal.” The journey which took the students from one part of Broome County to another concluded with a reading of the poem “Footprints” and the song “Day by Day” from Godspell. Teens from St. Paul’s in Binghamton; St. Christopher’s in Castle Creek; St. Ambrose, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Casimir’s and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott; Christ the King and Our Lady Angels in Endwell, St. Catherine’s in Hillcrest; Blessed Sacrament in Johnson City; and Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal attended the Southern Region lock-in. They were supported by two dozen adults who acted as chaperones, drivers, and chefs.