As part of a special new year’s series for the Catholic Standard newspaper and website of the Archdiocese of Washington on “Seeing 2020 with eyes of faith,” Catholics from across the archdiocese representing different ages and backgrounds were asked, “How will you deepen your faith and draw closer to Jesus in the new year?”

The following are comments offered from the perspective of Catholic teens in the archdiocese.

“I will grow in my faith by staying close to Christ in the Eucharist and in the sacrament of Confession. By receiving Christ daily, He will make me more like Himself and give me the grace to respond to His cry from the cross – ‘I thirst.’ I've encountered Him, and I've fallen in love! By His grace, I hope to surrender myself to His will, so that He can use me to pour out His love on souls who do not return His love. I will also rely more on the Blessed Mother by consecrating myself to her.” – Elizabeth Trossbach, senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland and an Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward

Genevieve Vavrus, a senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown

 “For the new year, I desire to grow closer to God and improve my relationship with Him. I will strive for this by attending daily Mass before school and making sure I have a time every day to pray. Creating a special time out of your busy life to pray is a necessity. Putting all worldly distractions aside and sitting in the serenity of God will help my relationship grow with Him.” – Genevieve Vavrus, senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown and an Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward

Maggie Sullivan, a senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown

“This year, I will resolve to grow closer to Jesus Christ by committing myself to more prayer and to spend more time with Him, by increasing my gratitude and reverence in the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and by being patient and humble to those around me, to try and recognize my own shortcomings before judging anyone else’s.”  – Maggie Sullivan, senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown and an Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward

Gavin Willis, a senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown

“We get so distracted in today's world with our busy lives. This new year, I aspire to put God in the number one spot in my life above other aspects of it, possibly by starting off with a weekly Holy Hour, hopefully increasing that to multiple times per week. Just being in the presence of Jesus in his most sacred form can allow one to grow in their relationship with Him.” – Gavin Willis, senior at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Leonardtown and an Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward


Junie Mertus, a senior at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Takoma Park, Maryland 

“I plan to meditate on different scriptures that resonate with me, and I am looking forward to seeing how God reveals Himself to me as I finish my senior year.” – Junie Mertus, senior, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Takoma Park, Maryland 


Elkin Segovia, a senior, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Takoma Park

“I would like to encourage my family to pray more. I have put a poster of prayers in our dining room in both Spanish and English to encourage praying before our family meals. I am also looking forward to planning more fellowships with (our school’s) youth ministry.” – Elkin Segovia, senior, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, Takoma Park 


Valerie Kuzma, a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Leadership Team, is a parishioner at St. Patrick’s in Rockville

“This new year, I am going to draw closer to Jesus through the practice of abandonment to His will. As I leave high school and make decisions about college, I am blessed with the opportunity to listen to whatever Jesus is calling me to next and following His plan instead of my own.” – Valerie Kuzma, a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Leadership Team, is a parishioner at St. Patrick’s in Rockville


John Paul Libanati, a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Leadership Team, is a parishioner at St. Bernadette’s, Silver Spring

“I was at a youth group meeting this past October when it was brought to my attention that, outside of the readings and the Gospels at Mass, I rarely read the Bible. I was suddenly struck by how crazy it is that the book I believe contains the highest Truth, God’s divine revelation, lay at the bottom of my reading list. This new year I hope to deepen my faith by committing some time to daily scriptural study. By taking more time to reflect on the Bible in this new year, I hope to grow closer to Christ, who is the Word of God.” – John Paul Libanati, a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Leadership Team, is a parishioner at St. Bernadette’s, Silver Spring