Orthodox Youth Take the Challenge at CrossRoad 2007

While many high school juniors and seniors today are pressured to live their life guided by materialism, consumerism, and self-focus, the CrossRoad Program at Hellenic College provides a refreshing community for Orthodox youth to focus on their being in the world, not of the world. The goal of the CrossRoad program is to help students discern how their faith in Christ can inform their life calling to match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world. From June 22 through July 2, 2007, 36 Orthodox high school students from around the country participated in the 10-day program, now in its fourth year.

CrossRoad, led by Dn. Nicholas Belcher, Assistant Director of the Office of Vocation and Ministry, combines the greatest offerings of Hellenic College/Holy Cross: faculty instruction, an enthusiastic staff of seminary students, a beautiful campus overlooking Boston and the exciting city of Boston itself. The high school youth took daily classes with on-campus faculty, left the campus each night to attend vespers at neighboring parishes in the Boston area, and participated in two service projects. They also visited historic Faneuil Hall, the New England shore in Salem, and set sail on a historic cruise through Boston harbor.

Through its three stages, Wrestling with Vocation, Vocation and Christ, and Vocation and the Neighbor, CrossRoad fulfills its mission by helping the youth see for themselves that the road of the Cross only has meaning if they encounter Christ and encounter Christ in their neighbor. CrossRoad participant Mark Huggins of Memphis, TN, states, “I learned that there are people out there that need my help and the talents God gave me, and it is my job to use those talents to serve them.” CrossRoad participant Christina Kyriakos of Greenwich, CT, adds, “Not only have I been spiritually lifted and have been filled with a new-found faith, but I have been renewed in my confidence as a person to use my voice and contribute to the complex world around me.”

Described by many as a “life-changing experience,” CrossRoad provides a strong foundation for the future leaders of the Church. This is evident from the way CrossRoad alumni speak about the program and discuss what they learned during the 10-day period. John Zecy of Leawood, KS, declares, “I feel like my options are limitless, but now I realize that God knows what my options are and if I put myself in His hands, He will choose the right path for me at this crossroad in my life.” Lainy Stamos of Palos Heights, IL, says,“I cannot wait to go home just to be able to discuss Orthodoxy and all that I’ve learned here with my family and friends. I really want to spread this knowledge that I have gained.”

In addition to its programming for high school youth, CrossRoad hosted a fellowship for youth directors this year to provide them with the space and inspiration to deepen their vocation for ministry with youth while they witness the ministry practices of CrossRoad. This YouthWorker Fellows program, led by Dr. Ann Bezzerides, Director of the Office of Vocation and Ministry, was under the pastoral direction of His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas, Chancellor of the Archdiocese. The four participating youth directors were Chris Avramopoulos from the Metropolis of Chicago, Michelle Cassimus from the Metropolis of Atlanta, Eve Kokinos from the Metropolis of Detroit, and Christina Meares from the Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

The CrossRoad program is about to start its fifth year and is looking forward to many more years of influencing high school students in the process of discovering their vocation.CrossRoad is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. and through the philanthropy of several donors. The Office of Vocation and Ministry at Hellenic College will be accepting applications for CrossRoad 2008 starting in November. Applicants must be in their junior or senior year of high school. For further updates and information, please visit the CrossRoad Web site at www.crossroad.hchc.edu.