Catholic Youth Council (CYC)
The CYC of St. Johnís Parish had organizational problems in its early history. In the early 1960ís the Young Men's Sodality and the Young Women's Sodality consolidated to form a CYC group. There were no adult sponsors for the new youth group at the time although all Father Stolle acted as the sponsor when needed. At that time the CYC did not become involved in many activities and apparently the group continued as such only about five years.
The organization was reactivated in the early 1970ís and has remained active since that time. The first known sponsors were Larry and Sheila Jansen, who were asked by some of the parents and youth to help the group. At the time the activities of the group are primarily social in nature, consisting of sports activities and other events held in conjunction with other CYC groups in other parishes in southeast Missouri. The Jansenís continued as sponsors during 1973 and 1974 until they moved from the parish. A scrapbook for the organization was begun at this time, but has not been kept up completely during ensuing years.
When the Jansenís moved, Omer and Marie Seiler assumed the sponsorship, staying with the group until in 1978. The Seilerís were relieved of the sponsorship role by Greg and Jenny Nenninger.
As the CYC group increased the momentum of its activities, planning for a religious activity each month and a social activity about as frequently, Richard and Geneva Elfrink were invited to assist in sponsoring the group. The youth began having a special Mass each month, with their meeting immediately after the Mass. Members took turns with the readings, serving the Mass, providing music, and passing the collection baskets. Other members assembled as a group at the Mass.
The group has had a very successful softball team as well as sponsoring teams for baseball, basketball, and volleyball competition with other CYC groups. Members usually enjoy a trip to Six Flags each summer along with hayrides, swimming parties and other events. Roller skating and pizza parties have been held during the winter months.
The CYC's annual Christmas caroling party has become a popular tradition for the members. The group visits the El Nathan Nursing Home in Marble Hill each year on Sunday evening just before Christmas to sing carols for the residents. The evening continues with members forming smaller groups to carol at the homes in Leopold. The groups then return to the grade school for hot chocolate, snacks, and a gift exchange. Pictures were taken at the 1980 party. Members derive a deep satisfaction from the expressions of appreciation and the invitations to return which are extended by residents of the nursing home.
The youth group has also become more involved in other activities of St. John's Parish. Aside from monthly Masses, the members usually take care of Crowning of Mary as May Queen, special Masses on the 4th of July and Thanksgiving, and frequently have made special banners for other occasions. Other projects have included painting trash barrels for the picnic grounds, singing for Father Eckhoffís going-away ceremony, welcoming Father Schneider with a banner, giving a party for new members of the Parish, and extensive work on the cemetery.
After several successful fund-raising events which included dances, car washes, bake sales, spice sales, and sales of religious articles, and having received several donations, the group's treasury reached the point at which the members could provide monetary help to others. Contributions have been made to Birthright, Cerebral Palsy, Missouri Citizens for Life, St. Mark's Parish in Houston, Missouri, the Diocesan Development Fund, and other causes.
The CYC group has become active in the stand against abortion. Decisions made at the meetings have led members to write Congressmen stating their opposition to the issue, hang tags on doorknobs stressing the need to abolish abortion, and distribute red ribbons to homes to be tied to trees in the family's yard to show the family's opposition to abortion. The group also paid expenses for two people to attend the annual Pro Life March in Washington, D.C.
Recently the CYC Mass was changed from the early Sunday Mass to the late Mass with the hope of drawing more members to the Mass and the following meeting. The giving of an attendance prize of $5 at each meeting has been initiated. The person whose name is drawn must have attended the Mass and be in attendance at the meeting to win the prize. Membership cards have been designed and printed and are issued when dues are paid. Awards are given each year to the two most deserving CYC members, one male and one female.
Present sponsors of the organization are Alan and Rhonda Elfrink who succeeded the Nenningerís in 1980, and Joe and Vicki Seiler who succeeded Richard and Geneva Elfrink in 1981. The group has had the additional assistance of the Sisters who have been assigned to the parish.
With continued hard work and commitment from the members, the CYC will maintain its popularity and continue to be a valuable asset to St. John's Parish and the Leopold community.
Information provided by the Book "1856-1861 125th Jubilee" Richard J. Elfrink and many others in the Acknowledgements