Homebound parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Parish, veterans and others will receive paper rose bouquets this week. More than 100 bouquets created by youth and families from the Sartell parish will be delivered to individuals, care centers and other locations.
Melissa Fox, director of youth ministry for grades 6-12 and the confirmation program, spearheaded the project. “Online I found a template for these roses and thought it’d be fitting for Valentine’s Day — and a great way to bring a smile to someone’s face,” she said.
“We put together a kit with supplies for a dozen roses — card stock, pipe cleaners and tags — with a video I made showing how to make them and written directions as well,” Melissa said. “It takes about a half-hour to make the whole bouquet.”
On the tags, youth were invited to write their own messages to recipients. While red roses are a Valentine’s Day theme, some of the bouquets are yellow and pink so not all have Valentine messages.
“It’s been fun to see what the kids have written because every note is different. It might say ‘We’re thinking and praying for you’ or ‘Smile’ or ‘Have a great day,’” she said
“Our goal for youth ministry this year was to bring a light to others, and to involve as many people in the parish as possible. About 30 youth or families took part in the project with many people requesting more than one kit,” she said.
The 100-dozen bouquets were collected at the church the last week of January. In addition to bringing them to individuals’ homes, youth and families will deliver them to the VA Hospital, Coborn’s Cancer Center and nursing homes and care centers, she said.
“At the larger facilities, we can only drop things off for their staff to bring around. That’s not as much fun as bringing them to individuals who still live at home. But due to COVID, it’s the only way.”
The difficulties of COVID haven’t prevented St. Francis Xavier’s youth from participating in a variety of creative service projects.
“Our goal has been to do something for service each month that will make people smile,” Melissa said. “All faith formation programs decorated holiday placemats for Country Manor. In October, the youth group carved pumpkins for homebound parishioners. In November, we created prayer jars with prayers and Scriptures for Advent. In December, it was candy cane reindeer and in January we filled hygiene and snack bags for homeless teens.
“This year it’s been a challenge to think outside the box for youth ministry,” she said. “But it’s been fun because our youth love doing these things for someone else. Every time I walk past these bouquets of paper roses, I smile.”