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Chapter 15:

The Secret Ballot As everyone looked at Jake, he realized that he needed to take a stand on the importance of receiving the Sacraments. Jake thought, “Telling the priest your sins is hard to do. What if the priest gets mad at you or really doesn’t understand what happened?” Jake mustered up his courage and told the group, “While I am not officially our leader anymore, I want to say something about going to Confession. Being a disciple isn’t always easy. Being a disciple is about doing the right thing. The right thing is that we show up at the Parish’s Reconciliation Service with our families. Jake’s parents smiled proudly for the decisions both Jake and Benjie had made. Jake’s father then announced, “We’ll be there as a family. Now let’s see if you can do the same.” Ellie and Manuel walked to school on Monday morning with a lot on their minds. Ellie knew that they were making excuses about going to Confession, but she told Manuel that it Page 2 of 5 © RCL Benziger

was embarrassing to be honest with the priest. Manuel said, “I am in the same boat. I do not like admitting that I have failed. It kind of scares me to talk with a priest, but Father Timothy seems very understanding. I guess there is nothing to worry about.” Ellie agreed, “Let’s try to not be like the cowardly disciples who ran away from Jesus in his final days. Being brave is still important in following Jesus.” Just then Ellie received a text message from Keiko. After reading the message, Ellie said to Manuel, “Speaking of being brave, we still need to elect a new leader of the Explorers.” Ellie pointed to her cell phone and said, “Keiko just reminded me.”

“How about we have an election after the Parish’s Reconciliation Service this Tuesday night?” Manuel suggested. “Great idea, Keiko’s violin lesson would be over by then, and she lives just down the street from the church. I will text the group to meet up after school to finalize the plan.” Ellie responded. Page 3 of 5 © RCL Benziger

All the Explorers met under the large maple tree at the neighborhood park at four o’clock that afternoon. The group decided that they would vote by secret ballot for their next leader. The explorers paired up so they could ask someone they respected to name a quality that a good leader should have. On Tuesday night they would gather at Keiko’s house after her violin lesson and the Reconciliation Service. That night they would discuss and vote. The big night finally came. Father Timothy was happy to see so many families gathered together in the pews. Father Timothy shared the Gospel and gave a homily about lost sheep. As he talked, he smiled at Benjie and his friends. The Explorers felt honored to be mentioned in Father’s remarks. Then Father Timothy and Father Mark prepared to hear confessions in private. It was time for them to walk into the Reconciliation rooms and confess their sins. Each of them felt a little scared as they sat in the confessional. Yet the strangest thing happened: each one of them walked out with a huge smile on their face. As they each knelt to pray their penance, they knelt next to one another. Benjie smiled proudly at his brother, Jake. Page 4 of 5 © RCL Benziger

As they walked to Keiko’s house afterwards, the Explorers shared the advice they received about what makes a good leader. Officer Duncan told Jake and Keiko, “I believe that a good leader is truthful, never cheats, and works to protect what is right.” Father Timothy told Marissa and Ellie, “A good leader is wise and teaches others by his or her actions.” Grandpa Ortiz told Manuel and Rodrigo, “I think that humility is necessary to be a good leader, thinking of others first.” Tobi and Benjie shared what they had heard once they settled in at Keiko’s house. They all discussed further about the qualities of a good leader. The Highland Ridge Explorers gathered on Keiko’s back porch. Since Jake had been their previous leader, he led them in prayer: “Holy Spirit, help us decide on our next leader. Guide our decision by your wisdom and grace. Amen.” Then each explorer wrote a name on a piece of paper and put it in the basket that Jake held. --------------TIME TO VOTE

Exit out of this page turner. Then scroll to the bottom of the web page to place your vote. Page 5 of 5 © RCL Benziger

Season 2, Chapter 15  
Season 2, Chapter 15  

The Secret Ballot