Julia, an 11th grade student and parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish in Melbourne Beach, loves to write. As an altar server, lector, cantor and member of her parish choir, she also loves to share her faith. During the 2013-14 school year, she combines both loves as an Ace Reporter for the Diocese of Orlando.
Launched in 2009, the Ace Reporter program invites Catholic students in grades four through high school, who attend a Catholic school or participate in a parish youth group, to write articles about the people, places and events that are having an impact on their faith and education. Their work appears on Faith News Online, a special section of the Diocese of Orlando website.
“The Ace Reporter Program is a chance to include young people in communications and evangelization,” said Teresa Peterson, director of the Office of Communications. “Young people have so much to offer our Church – enthusiasm, creativity and a solid faith. We are so grateful that so many have chosen to be ace reporters. We hope this experience will enrich their faith life and also enrich the faith of our readers.”
In 2009, there were 12 students representing nine schools participating in the program. Today, 66 students representing 13 schools and one parish serve as ace reporters.
“I have always loved English class and I love writing creative, original pieces,” Julia said. “Writing comes very naturally and easily to me. I think this will greatly help me as an ace reporter because it will help me write inspirational pieces that will hopefully encourage and inspire people to deepen their love for God and for others, especially those in need.”
Ace reporters cover the news happening at their schools and parishes and also take photos.
“I am proud to be an involved member of my parish and would love to be able to tell others about what we do here in our parish, in our community and beyond,” said seventh grade student Coral, also from Immaculate Conception Parish. “I hope to bring my own unique style and perspective to things as an ace reporter.”
Gretchen Lux, music director of the parish, will serve as the girls’ mentor, offering guidance to Julia and Coral throughout the year. She said the faithful of Immaculate Conception Parish are blessed to have the “cream of the crop” representing them in this program.
“These girls are both very faith filled, intelligent and thoughtful young women,” Lux said. “I think their contributions will be wonderful.”
In addition to student written reports and photography, Faith News Online features “Ask Father Faith,” where students submit questions about the Catholic faith that are answered by diocesan priests. There is also a page for Fun Facts, short facts from YouCat, a version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, written for young people and a page for the “Saint of the Month,” a short biography of a saint.
To learn more about what is happening in the faith journeys and education of our youths, visit www.orlandodiocese.org/faithnews.