Archdiocese Local Special Issue - Convocation

Bringing the fire

Anna Bartkoski is a student at St. James Academy in Lenexa and parishioner at Holy Spirit Catholic Parish in Overland Park. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Anna Bartkoski

Age: 15

Parish: Holy Spirit, Overland Park

Occupation: Student at St. James Academy, Lenexa

What’s in your toolkit? While I have not really had any formal experience, I have attended Catholic school all my life and, in preparation for the convocation, I have been using the “Integrated Evangelization” and the “Crowds to Three” booklets.

What is your Catholic superpower/secret weapon? St. Dymphna has definitely gotten me through a lot, and the “Blessed Is She” online daily devotional is my secret weapon.

Before the convocation

The future of the church’s evangelization efforts looks bright thanks to young people like Anna Bartkoski.

A student at St. James Academy in Lenexa, Bartkoski has big dreams for the archdiocesan convocation.

“I hope that I’m able to bring a fire for evangelization back to the St. James community,” she said. “I want my classmates to experience Christ in the same ways I have.”

Bartkoski has attended Camp Tekakwitha every summer since fourth grade and draws inspiration from the counselors, who make her “want to be a better person,” she said.

“I don’t believe I would be at this point in my faith life if I hadn’t attended Camp Tekakwitha,” she added.

Bartkoski believes she was chosen to attend the convocation “because I engage in my theology class and I can connect with people.”

In meeting with her delegation group prior to the  convocation, Bartkoski noticed that coming up with ideas on how to make evangelization fun can be difficult.

But she’s ready to face any hurdles with the combined efforts of her delegation.

“I believe the challenges we’ve faced actually have pushed us to work even harder and are making us more excited to see how the convocation will improve our community,” she said.

Bartkoski is prepared to add a youthful perspective to the local church and absorb the wisdom offered by her fellow delegates. 

“Being a young person that is getting to contribute to the archdiocese in this way has been really eye-opening,” she said.

“I have never really seen this side of the church,” she continued, “and it is really inspiring.”

After the convocation

After experiencing the convocation, what does it mean to you to be a missionary disciple?

To me, being a missionary disciple means to not force your faith on another person but show them how to be holy. I think sharing what God is calling you to say, even when it is uncomfortable, is a really big deal. Doing this can change another person’s life. 

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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