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CYO marks unique year with time capsule

By Sue Sitter - | May 22, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Little Flower CYO members crowd into a narrow section of walls outside of the church as David Zwingle, right, places a time capsule inside. From left are Sarah Blessum, Bella McCabe, Amber Selensky, Allison Selensky, Cole Anderson and Mikaylee Livedalen.

Newspaper articles, radio podcasts and masks went into a small metal box May 12 to tell the story of the Little Flower Parish Catholic Youth Organization’s experiences as a group during a global pandemic.

The box included other items such as DVDs documenting the CYO’s experiences in 2020-21, programs from performances of the Living Stations of the Cross and religious items from youth in grades 7-12, according to Rebecca Leier, who serves as director of religious education at Little Flower Parish.

“The seventh- and eighth-grade class picked a mask that Vernice Brossart had made and a little bottle of hand sanitizer,” Leier said. “Another class picked a book we were working on. The seniors have a cross that they carved and put their senior scripture on the back.”

Brossart had been honored along with others who made contributions to the CYO throughout the year at a banquet before the metal box was closed and packed in a plastic bag, becoming a time capsule for the group.

Leier said the evening began with a showing of a DVD made during the year to show “all the things the kids have done. Then, we had the SOLT – that stands for the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity – missionaries who came to help us when we had our rummage sale. They came and talked to the kids about how they gave up a year of their lives to be a missionary and the impact that had. “

The group honored members of the CYO and their parish community for their service after the missionaries’ presentation.

“Vernice Brossart has been such an example of exceptional service in our parish. All the things she was able to do during COVID kept us together,” Leier said. “So, she was an example for them to follow, so we put her story in the time capsule.”

“It’s our hope someday someone opens it and they see what we did during COVID,” Leier added.

Other time capsule items included a story from the Diocese of Fargo’s New Earth Magazine about a challenge local Judge Michael Hurly made to the students for Lent. Hurly had asked the youth to give up their cell phones for a week.

Leier and CYO staff also asked the students to write answers to two questions on slips of paper for inclusion in the time capsule.

“All the kids answered two questions: ‘What impact did COVID have on their faith and what impact did COVID have on the things their family did?'” Leier said. The kids answered those questions and the parents answered those two questions.”

Along with the personal notes and mementos, the group included a letter to whoever opens the time capsule in the future.

“In 2020 and 2021, we faced the closing of our churches, our schools, businesses and the social changes that came with COVID-19 and the mandated masks, social distancing, canceling of sporting and social activities, restrictions on gatherings for weddings, funerals, even a ban on singing and more,” the letter said.

“During these challenges we found ways to continue to be Christ’s hands on Earth to each other and our community through the three “S“s of our CYO program: service to others, spiritual practices and social activities. We have included examples of exceptional parish service in our time capsule and small statues of our CYO and parish patron saints St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Therese the Little Flower. We offer these to you, our parish of the future, as examples during trying times.”

The group gathered near a narrow section of church wall where David Zwingel had removed bricks to create a space for the time capsule.

After Leier read the letter to the future opener, the box was placed into the space and covered with a tile.

Leier said she could only guess who would open the time capsule or what the future would hold.

“Who knows what their aspect of COVID will be then?” She asked. “Who knows what they’ll know about it? This was the way in this small place in the heart of America that we kept our community of believers going during that time.”

In a later message to the Tribune, Leier wrote,“We will be placing a plaque on our COVID Time Capsule to encourage it to be opened on May 12 2045, 24 years from last night, in honor of our Patron saint, St Therese the Little Flower who lived to be 24 years old. We are thinking it will be interesting when it is opened for future parishioners to look back at what happened in 2020-2021 because they will have more knowledge and a different perspective about the COVID-19 virus.”

Those receiving honors for their service to the CYO were:

High School Service Award: Amber Selensky

Jr. High Service Award: Addison Dosch

Light of Christ Award: Brook Blessum

CYO-MVP Award: Sarah Blessum

Exceptional Parish Service Recognition: Vernice Brossart

The group also presented James Maertens of radio station KZZJ an award for his service.

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