NOTE: We are rebranding our Junior High and High School Youth Ministries, and have renamed them L’alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School. L’alto means “the top” or “the heights” in Italian. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), an Italian and a lay Dominican, took as his motto verso l’alto—"to the heights." Truly, his was a life that soared to the Lord amid the ordinary circumstances of the life of a student, friend, servant of the poor, and outdoorsman. Given that Pier Giorgio was a Dominican, we are going to more intentionally adopt the elements of the Dominican life (prayer, study, community, and service/apostolate) in our junior high and high school programs. You can read below a bit more about how Pier Giorgio’s life is inspiring our youth ministry efforts. Expect the same quality experience you've come to know and love at St. Gertrude, along with new and exciting initiatives based upon Pier Giorgio's spirituality for the good of our junior high and high school students.
Inspired by Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, L’alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School provide a path for students to convert their lives—seeking the heights of relationship with the Father to answer His call to become living saints.
While not for the faint of heart, sainthood is attainable and is our goal. In our pilgrimage toward sainthood, we look at the saints who paved the way before us—especially Blesesd Pier Giorgio Frassati.
See, Pier Giorgio didn’t do anything incredibly spectacular. He didn’t start a religious order, he didn’t die a martyr, nor did he go off to a foreign land and convert thousands. But, what he did was extraordinary—he lived a life that was not his own. He lived a life of prayer and fasting, often waking up before the sun to walk to Mass in the mountains or spending all night in adoration. He gave up the many goods afforded to him as a young, rich, Italian (such as riding first class or living a wealthy lifestyle) in favor of simpler things. He lived a life marked by friendship and the joy of being in the company of others. He served others, constantly looking out for his brothers and sisters in need. And, though he struggled as a student, he engaged in his studies with diligence.
In short, he was a “normal” guy who lived an adventurous life. Often seen hiking in the mountains with his friends, betting his buddies in a game of pool to come to Mass with him (which he always won), or forming the Tipi Loschi society (“Shady Characters”) with his friends which encouraged joy and a love for the outdoors, Pier Giorgio did many of the things you and I enjoy. But he did them knowing he was a pilgrim on a journey to the heights—toward heaven —and he wanted as many people as possible to join him.
The Church offers us countless examples of teenagers doing just this—living a saintly life here on earth. These stories of teenage saints continue to inspire the saints of today to live a life that is not their own.
The teens of St. Gertrude are no exception.
Here, we come to a fork in the road: fullness of life or the counterfeit forms offered by the post-Christian culture. L’alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School invite you on the path to live a life in abundance.
AN ADVENTUROUS LIFE. A COURAGEOUS LIFE. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
Will you respond?
In short, L’alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School are dynamic spiritual journeys which encourage those in seventh through twelfth grade to move into Christian adulthood by providing:
- Christian community through mentoring and friendship - We have adult mentors who are formed and trained to support and encourage teens. Both L'alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School encourage consistent, honest, and open Christian friendship.
- Formation experiences - Formation helps teens to know the faith, wrestle with big issues, and think critically and according to a Catholic worldview.
- Prayer opportunities - We help teens encounter Jesus Christ through prayer and the sacraments. We have a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother, just as Pier Giorgio did, and we do not shy away from the ascetical life of the Church.
- Ministry - Inspired by the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio, L'alto: Junior High and L'alto: High School encourage the youth to be of service to others.