Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


On Friday, December 19, 2008 two people that I loved dearly were brutally shot and killed in an attempted burglary at their home. Both Jean Smith and her son Jim Smith were two of the best people that I know. Honestly.

The deaths have gripped the county, as Jean was the president of the choral boosters at her kids' high school (CD Hylton High School), as well as on county boards. I know her through Holy Family Church, where he volunteered in about 1.5 million different capacities. Many kids called her "momma Smith" and this title is quite fitting. She literally loved thousands upon thousands of kids in her short life on this earth and the best part is that she loved every single one of them like her own four children. Jim was equally important to so many. Having just completed his third term at James Madison University (JMU), was a practical joker with a huge heart. He sang in an a capella group there as well as various other choirs. In high school, he sang in multiple choirs and wrestled, but again, i know him through Church and through really watching them group.

My first exposure to the Smiths was probably about 10 years ago when I taught Sarah, the eldest daughter 7th grade religious ed. She was as amazing then as she is now. As I've looked back the past couple of days since the murder, I realize how much each member of the Smith family, down to the youngest son (I don't feel comfortable naming him here, as he has been out of the spotlight since the that feels weird to say), has truly impacted my life. They have sprinkled my life with sunshine and for that, I am truly blessed.

Jean taught me how to love "sky big" and in many ways with the heart of Saint John Bosco. She took the messy lives of kids and teenagers and adults, and covered them with her love, and tied them with a pretty bow. I am honored and blessed to have been loved in a very real way by her. I'll always miss sitting at her kitchen table sharing our lives over cokes. We had plans for Christmas Eve and New Years and I know I'll feel her absence on both of those days.

Jim taught me how to lighten up, laugh alot, how to tell inappropriate and distasteful jokes with great poise :), and how to have an infectious smile. I love that Jim loved his family so much and how he sang for the Church choir, even when it was uncool. I always appreciated that he let me be a part of his life and let me into his world, especially when he went to college. I remember when we worked together on a confirmation retreat at my home parish. I was touched by his maturity, by how much he cared about the kids in our group and how much he truly loved God. I am so glad that he was a part of life.

There's great graces from God in this and I feel his mercy and love in the sacraments. In running towards the Church, in the Sacraments,, I feel his love and see his hand in all of this. Everyone always says this, but I know I'm a better person because of them, but more importantly, I'm a better Catholic because of their love.

Jim: I wish I could have had one last check in with you or seen you perform one last time. Thanks for letting me be a part of your life. I love you.

I miss you alot Momma Smith and I would give anything for one more do over of December 19, 2008. Help me to be a good youth minister and help me to love my teens the way that you loved all kids.

Please pray for the remaining members of the Smith family, for their extended family, and for the community, as they need great strength during this time.

I also ask for prayers for their murderer. He is 17 and I fear great retaliation against them, which is not what Jean or Jim would want.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

52 posts of greatness

So, obviously, I haven't been the greatest at posting lately. A lot has come up, there's been a lot of joy and a lot of struggle lately, but all of it will eventually be for the greater glory of God!

Driving home tonight from work, I had the brilliant idea to post 52 posts between now and December 2009. I'm not trying to make this a new year's resolution, cause those are pretty much always broken, but I'll do my best to provide 52 moments of blogging greatness!

Hope your advent is going well and you're preparing the way of the Lord...

Merry Christmas and much love.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Funny things kids say...

Hello Bloggers! I hope you're doing well. I'm sorry that I haven't been up to date on posting, it's been a little bit rough lately, and I've been totally slacking, so for that I'm sorry.

There's tons going on here. I'm choosing not to post all of it, cause really, I still need to think it through, but basically in the last month, I've been told by a parent that I do not meet their expectations and I'm a disappointment. Surprise surprise. I've spoken with the pastor, who's informed that I'm doing a good job, but still, I fear that this will not die and start to turn nasty with the mother. I hope not. Please pray for me. At most, I figure, if I'm not pissing someone off, I'm probably not doing my job so well.

I named this blog something different though, cause I get so much humor from listening to the things the kids say to each other....

So this one teen is talking to the other teens about how he's not wearing tee shirts any more and how he's doing his own laundry now and how his mom is shocked by that. It was funny. Later on I asked him why he wasn't wearing tee shirts any more and said, "Em, cause I'm a man now".

I tried not to laugh, but it's been the highlight of my week.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

One year of Ministry

A lot has happened in the last year...I became a full time Director of Youth Ministry and my world was rocked! I'm so unworthy to have had the year that I had, to have been able to minister to these kids and to love them and learn with them and to be a part of their lives.

Having gone to Work Camp, and World Youth Day has refreshed and renewed my zeal for my job. There's so much work to be done for our Church, but there's so much hope and both of these events have taught me that.

I promise more blogs in the future, but for now, I'm thankful for a year of ministry, for a year of fun and grace and love.

May Christ's peace be with you.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008


So, as I sat here avoiding my impending to do list, I thought, I'd write a post at the very least.

Alot has happened in the nearly nine months since I've started. I've learned a ton and I'm way more comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps one of the best moments as of late had to be taking kids to see the Pope at his mass at the Nationals' Stadium.

I had the ENORMOUS privilege of taking three kids to the papal mass with me in April. It was THE singular most transformative moment of my life. Just being there, seeing the stadium full of 46,000 made it totally amazing, besides the fact that the pope was there! Getting up at 3 am, was not the most fun, nor was organizing a bus full of almost 100 papal goers, but the whole experience was almost indescribable. My kids were amazing, were never too far from site and posed for every CHEESY picture that I made them pose for. They were dolls.

At first, I was having a little pity party for myself because I thought that the experience would have been way better if I didn't have kids there. I felt like I could have prayed more, listened better and had a much better time in general. Then the Holy Spirit gave me a slap on the face. During the procession of the gifts and leading into the Eucharistic prayer, one of my kids looked at me and said: "Thank you Em" and it was in that moment that I realized that I was watching these kids' lives be transformed, for that, I am most thankful and completely unworthy. I have had the privilege to watch three (we had another kid tag along with him really four) kids' lives be completely transformed. That has brought me to my knees a lot lately. I also think that God used it to help me process that I'll have to work through being at work while I'm world youth day and let the Holy Spirit in.
The pictures are us after the papal mass...look at those smiles and then the other one is Benny obviously.

Come Holy Spirit! Thank you for the opportunity to be able to have you work through me to bring teens to Christ. I am unworthy.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008


May you have a very happy and holy Triduum, walking with our sweet Lord.

Remember to take some time for your own prayer during these holy three days.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pier Giorgio Goes To World Youth Day

Wonder what he's paying for airfare...jkjkjkjk!!

I did not know this until recently, but Pier Giorgio Frassati is an incorruptible, so because of his example of loving and choosing God, he will go to Sydney Australia to be venerated by the youth of the world.

If you are going to World Youth Day it is always good to talk about not only other young Catholics from around the world who are part of our same faith, but also others who have lived at different times who are still a part of our Communion.

Here are some links for Pier Giorgio Frassati. Seriously, the girls always fall for him and the boys want to be him. Not a bad man to imitate!

Dom Bettinelli-ps hat tip to-has good info as well:

There are books on him as well, which Dom has listed on his site.


Friday, March 07, 2008

A Truly Great Moment in Ministry

So there's some good days in ministry and then there's some GREAT days. Today was one of those great days....

As many of you know, Our Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI is coming to Washington, DC in mid April. Getting tickets for the mass to be said at the Nationals Stadium has been quiet the production. Because I'm a staff member, my pastor has graciously given each of us a ticket as well as a ticket for a person of our choice, but I don't get an extra ticket.

I get three: to take three teens from my ministry with me to the Papal Mass! Woah. I got to call them today and let them know that they had been selected for the mass. The reactions were far, my favorite was the silence on the other line and sheer Oh my gosh! I was amazing.

I'm so blessed to be seeing the Pope in person, much less to be able to watch three kids' lives be transformed by their seeing the Pope. This is what makes ministry worth it.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

another day in paradise

Sorry for not posting lately: Here's a little tidbit into the insanity.

Some days in youth ministry are harder than others. Today was one of those days. Let's just say I left the office at 12 am and that wasn't even the end of the day. Here I sit at 1:36 am pouring over what to do with a huge headache.

Why does your heart have to break in ministry? Obviously, I know this answer, but no amount of school helps you to understand this.

I promise the whole scoop later, cause really, I'll need your advice. But for now, pray for me that I can come to understand why any teenager would think it'd be okay to take keys from an office, sneak into a gym and play basketball after I've said no.

Thanks for the prayers, I'm about to scream.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Out Of The Mouth of Babes

My 7 year old niece, talking to her dad during Mass one day:
"...when Fr _____ prays over the food does Jesus into it, or what? Like, how does he get in it?"

Age of reason indeed!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Confirmation Sponsors

If you have read my blog for very long-esp in the early days-you know me to be passionate about Confirmation formation. Well, the sponsors are part of that formation.

Let me vent first: Why, kid of all of 15 years old, are you picking your cousin who is barely older than you? Why are you asking your brother who lives an alternative lifestyle in LA? Why are you asking someone who lives 10 hours by plane away? This person should be an active and faithful Catholic, someone who knows their faith-or at least is willing to learn-and is highly concerned about the state of your soul and how you life and how you are getting to heaven. Do you get that?

Ok, now that that's off my chest.

I think we struggle so much with the spiritual poverty that is in most of our Confirmation programs that it's just enough to get the kids to some sort of place to be ready for a Sacrament. I have formed programs and I get that. However we can't over look the role that the Sponsor has. If we start making them be more active than just showing up for the rehearsal (maybe) and the actual Mass we show both them and the kids that this is serious business.

I would tell the kids that their sponsor need to be in town, or can travel for meetings. When I got the groans and phone calls from parents I explained that this person should be an integral part of the kids lives, someone that they look up to and can learn from, so yes, someone in their lives on a regular basis. I'm sure Aunt Susie is great, but 1000 miles away??

As for the meetings themselves make them substantive. We do everyone a massive massive disservice if we think that they can't handle the truth. If for nothing else, God will ask you about that when you get to heaven and I'm not sure "I was afraid" is going to cut it. No, plan times where the sponsors come with the student and do an evening of Bible study or an interactive night on the Virtues or Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Have the sponsors come to service events with their Confirmandi. Give them a list of ideas of how to interact with a teenager. We do if for a living, they may be a little afraid of them sometimes. Give them materials to go over with the teen -maybe go see a movie together and have questions about how the movie brought out some aspect of the faith. Or read a particular book together. Or go to Adoration together.

This is an excellent time where you can, to some extent, assist in the formation of the Sponsor. We all know that sometimes we get really great sponsors for the kids and other times you are thinking "What??? Why did your parent allow this???"

So take advantage of the time to minister to the adults. If you have a solid core team, you could even consider inviting the sponsors to go on retreat and your team could pray over them. Most sponsors would be blessed by it- (after they got to the retreat, I know getting them there might seem overwhelming at first.)

And lastly, pray for them. Pray for their deepening conversion so that they can be strong witnesses of Faith to the teens that we are working with. Pray for the needs of their lives, for grace and mercy to be poured out upon them and for their active response to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Youth Ministry Almost Five Months Later

Hello Faithful Readers! Thanks for reading. Jen and I have been lacking on posts, but we've made the commitment to get back to posting again. With that, I figured I'd give an official post, with a youth ministry favorite...highs and lows. So, in just five months, I'm able to say I have a high and a low for the week.

Low for the week: Other than the obvious low being that the entire office staff (including me) got the 24 hour stomach flu, I have another more ministry related one: Parish (staff) politics.

I knew they existed, but you're never really sure how much until you're in it. We're making renovations happen to our office, which means people have to move. I don't but my space might be shared. This of course leads to talk about who's going where, who has more space, why this person can't move there. Really, I'm just trying to not have my youth room trampled upon... I know this doesn't sound politics related but it all is. I'm a firecracker and i think that the rest of the staff is not used to someone who's so free about what she thinks...This is good and bad. I listen and I listen well, which means that everyone tells me their scoop. I just want for everyone to stand up for themselves, say when they have too much on their plate and learn to say no! Being Catholic does not mean being a doormat.

High for the Week: Although I could name a few (like going out to lunch with the associate director of youth ministry for the Diocese, or going out to lunch with Deanery 2 YMs) an obvious Holy Spirit moment takes the cake....The High for the week is about the Holy Spirit putting words into my mouth that must be heard.

This week at our Sr. High Session we talked about the Epiphany and what it meant for God to put the star in the sky, about how stars give off light, how God used common things to help us know his love and of course, that the wisemen brought Sweet Jesus to the world. I had litebrites set up all over the room (they could win them if they answered questions correctly), which were cool and really the whole session was anointed. During my catechesis, I talked about how proud God was that his son was born and that because he wanted to show us Jesus, he put a star in the sky. What I say was: BOO YAH! God put a star in the sky. Now, this excited the teens of course...and they absolutely loved it. BOO YAH is right....God is BOO YAH! The Holy Spirit gave me that moment to make the connection with them. I love when he gives me little gimmicky things to say so that He seems more accessible to them.

Later on that night, we decorated wooden stars (they were meant to represent one way that we can always find Jesus when we're lost, and how we're meant to be his light to the world) and I thought many of them would write Matthew 2:2 on their stars, or something of the like, but what do they write....BOO YAH! It was awesome. I know it might not seem that way, but any moment, when they get it is just glorious.

If you're interested in this session, I'd be more than happy to email it to you. It was pretty FLY!

Promise to post more regularly...I'll pray for you. Pray for me.

St. John Bosco, Champion of Youth, pray for us.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Gladiator and the Martyrs

I know it's an older movie, but have you seen "Gladiator"? It ranks in my top 5. Some days it is my number 1 movie.

My friends that are girls are galled at me: " It's such a violent movie! How can you stand all that blood and fighting"? But they miss what it is all about.

It helps that this movie is set during Roman rule. When he is fighting as a gladiator and the lions are released on him you can't but help think of the early Christians.

But the major thing I see in this movie is a man who is martyred for the Truth, for a dream that was Rome. He lost everything-he was a general meant to be murdered, his wife and child burned and murdered and his mentor and father figure Marcus Aurelius who was leading Rome as Rome deserved was murdered-all murders by Marcus Aurelius' hack of a son Commodus (played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix) who hates the principled hero Maximus-our Gladiator.

Throughout the movie there is always the chance that Maximus will be killed as a gladiator. Commodus had ordered him killed initially and tried to do it again and again. "Fate" would not let this happen. Maximus stays alive until his mission is accomplished. Other scenes show Maximus as a uniter of the gladiators (who are meant to compete against each other to stay alice) and they hail him for it. They rally around him to protect him.

Commudus, on the other hand is only out for himself. He whines that the crowd does not love him, tries to seduce his sister and plots to kill her son who is the heir apparent. His selfishness turns him in to a psychotic paranoid. I love how they show him in white-which to our imaginations means "the good guy"-but a very twisted white. He is pale white with shadows under his eyes and his white robes barely disguise a ruler gone bad-ghostly, barely human.

Maximus' actions spur many people in the movie to return to virtue and for the work of the good. I think the best line of the entire movie comes at the end when his fellow gladiator, Juba says "and now we are free. I will see you again...but not yet... ... not yet". It brings me to my knees every single time ('course the music behind the scenes just about undoes anyone listening, sung by the immensely talented Lisa Gerrard who doesn't sing words but "as the Spirit leads"). And the nearly last scene? With the doors? Good gravy get me a Kleenex, I just love the end the best.

My other favorite line-and I'm pretty sure I blogged about this awhile back-is at the beginning and is the theme for the movie and should be the theme of our life: What you do echoes in eternity. Isn't that a great line?!

I realize it is rated "R" , mostly for intense graphic combat but I would absolutely use this movie to inspire teens to greatness. You can use various scenes on their own, to be sure, but the entire movie is worth watching and then having a discussion on. We are in the business of forming future saints-and Gladiator shows the purpose and necessity of going through the rigors of this life for martyrdom for the Gospel .

PS What do you make of Maximus' reaching down to pick up dirt before each battle?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happy New Year

It's a new year! Did you have a good break-did you take a break? Please say yes.

It is a new year and you are half way through the school year. Well done! Being on the front lines is hard but know that God's grace is ever present. In those staff meetings where you wonder what in the world the liturgist is going to say next or wishing your pastor would approve your plan to take the kids bunging jumping (COUGHLiabilityCOUGH) or some mother has just ripped you up one side and down the other or a kid seems totally and irreversibly pagan, just keep going. Keep relying on the Grace of God to move you and be docile to his Holy Spirit.

You have our prayers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Checkin In!

Hello all you readers! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been so busy. It's insane, but great.

So, three months in, I've learned more than I ever thought I would. It's incredible. I'm struggling to adjust to a non-school life. I miss homework, but I love being a grown up and having a full time job. I'm struggling spiritually too. Between everything that needs to be balanced, I'm struggling to make sure that I'm praying. Sometimes I'm shocked at how little I remember Sweet Jesus. Pray for me. Pray for the struggle to love on him some more and to really remember that he is the reason for this. He is enough and I have to remember that.

I'll post again soon, in the mean time...pray for me and I'll be praying for you.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Why We Need GOOD Catechetical Youth Ministers and Teachers!

(major h/t Mark Shea)
AKA: How Millions of Ordinary Slobs Get Their Information about the Catholic Faith

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but, you know, often times when our politicians are running, you know, the Church gets a little aggravated with that because there's quite a few of them have different pasts and sometimes the Church wants them to be more perfect.

JOY BEHAR: When you say "the Church" which church are you talking about?

GOLDBERG: Well, it's, it's all churches seem to have all kinds of problems with all kinds of candidates. But this particular problem comes when Archbishop Raymond Burke says no communication --

BEHAR: No communion, communion.

GOLDBERG: No communion for Giuliani.

BEHAR: Holy communion on Sunday.

GOLDBERG: Yes, holy communion, you know what holy communion is. For the Catholic Church, you go in on Sunday, you've confessed everything on Friday or Saturday, you're clear, they give you the host, they say you're cool.

BEHAR: Then you get drunk and go out and have fun.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, you're done. But because of Rudy's stance on abortion, he says he can not give him communion and he is persisting in a very serious sin. When asked if the Archbishop would deny those pro-death penalty, pre-emptive war, he says it's a little more complicated in that case.

BEHAR: Because they're adults and they've committed some crimes, they feel that, that's a legitimate reason to kill someone.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: I always had an issue with priests denying communion. I remember someone in my family went through a divorce. Unless she got her marriage anulled, she wasn't allowed to receive communion. Her ex-husband wouldn't give her an anullment. He wouldn't show up for the anullment. So, then she was shamed, in other words, for not being --

BEHAR: Ex-communicated, yeah.

HASSELBECK: -pretty much not able to walk down and receive what is to be the most intimate, you know, part of the week with God and taking Jesus into your body.

BEHAR: What about Giuliani? He's been divorced three times at least.

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Has he had communion prior to this? Have they been giving him- is this an everyday thing?

GOLDBERG: I assume in other churches he wasn't having an issue or we would have heard about it.

BEHAR: Well, they don't exactly interview you when you're at the rail. The priest doesn't say how many times have you been divorced? They don't do that.

GOLDBERG: But if the archbishop is making that much noise, I assume that this is not the kind of story that would disappear. We would have heard something because it happened with John Kerry, didn't it?

BEHAR: Well, you know, just, just speak to the anullment problem. I remember when the Beatles were around, that you could, that you could buy an anullment. People used to buy anullments.


BEHAR: You know, the Kennedys and people like that could buy anullments, so it meant really nothing.

HASSELBECK: Our family didn't come from a lot of cash, so they weren't buying an anullment.

BEHAR: Well, that's my point. So, I mean, it's not exactly the most moral position.

GOLDBERG: It's very strange that when, when the Catholic god, you know, because there are so many different gods. I'll refer to the Catholic god at the moment. It seems that the Catholic god always says judge lest ye be judged. And always says if I-

BEHAR: They always say that.

GOLDBERG: If you come to me, I'm the only one who can forgive you. It doesn't matter what everyone else says. And yet a priest, the mouth piece to God, would say you can't --

BEHAR: There are amendments. Unless you do this. Unless you do that. (hand gesturing)

SHEPHERD: The priest has absolute say, because I don't know about Catholicism -

BEHAR: No the Pope does.

SHEPHERD: The Pope, okay.

HASSELBECK: No, the Pope does. The bishops are an extension of his, his abilities to say yeah or nay to certain things. There are a lot of rules in the Catholic, you know, Church.

SHEPHERD: So if he says I don't believe in abortion anymore, then he can take communion?

BEHAR: Well, the thing about is that Rudy Giuliani hasn't necessarily had an abortion himself. His wi- you know what I mean? His wife hasn't had one. I don't know if she has or not. He's not saying I'm going to get it or you should get it or you shouldn't get it. He's saying people should have the right to choose whether they want this or not. And that's his position is. The Church doesn't have that position.


SHEPHERD: But did they deny him for leaving his wife or cheating on his wife and marrying another woman?

BEHAR: No, no, no.

SHEPHERD: Why don't they deny him for that? Is that not a sin any more to leave your wife? Excuse my anger, but is that not a, not a --

BEHAR: It is a sin. But he wasn't running for president at the time, so there wasn't an issue.

HASSELBECK: I seems this archbishop needs a little pub. You know what I mean? He wanted a little publicity. He though slamming Giuliani would get him into the limelight.

BEHAR: You think that's it?

HASSELBECK: Yeah, they're all about it.

BEHAR: What about the vows of modesty? Don't they take that also?

HASSELBECK: Some don't. You should see the jewelry they wear. They're, you know.

SHEPHERD: Blinging! Bling, bling!

GOLDBERG: I just find it very interesting that, that, you know, it's like closing churches. I don't understand people who close churches because there's so many, you know, folks that go to church. You know, it's really a big deal for a lot of people. How can you live at the Vatican and say we have to close these churches because there's not enough money when we could, like, sell some stuff?

BEHAR: Well, the Catholic Church is, is in debt now for paying off a lot of the pedophile cases and they have to close all these churches.

GOLDBERG: There's a lot of stuff they could be selling.

HASSELBECK: And they were handing out communion to all those men who were molesting all the boys out there and they didn't have a problem giving them communion.

BEHAR: We were all raised Catholic here, so this is not some anti-Catholic rant that we're on. This is just factual information.

GOLDBERG: No, I'm a little bit on a rant. No you're right.

BEHAR: You can rant. But I was raised -- I had communion every Sunday. I received my communion, my confirmation, all nine yards. My daughter's been baptized, just in case, you know?

GOLDBERG: You are so funny.

BEHAR: And so this is just- these are facts about the Church right now that people have to either live with or reject.

HASSELBECK: That's one area. That's the Catholic Church. There are many other divisions of Christianity.

SHEPHERD: If you're a Christian, you can do communion if you sin.

GOLDBERG: Not in the Catholic Church.

And it came to pass that which was spoken through the mouth of the Prophet Chesterton:
The modern world will accept no dogmas upon any authority; but it will accept any dogmas on no authority. Say that a thing is so, according to the Pope or the Bible, and it will be dismissed as a superstition without examination. But preface your remark merely with "they say" or "don't you know that?" or try (and fail) to remember the name of some professor mentioned in some newspaper; and the keen rationalism of the modern mind will accept every word you say.


Monday, September 24, 2007

just checking in...

Hey friends. Sorry for the lack of posts, but you know, your first month and a half in ministry is insanity.

Things are great, the parish is amazing, the kids are amazing and lots of fun. I'm loving the Diocese of Arlington. It's soo amazing! They are a great group of supportive people and amazing resources. It's so much fun to work for this diocese and to be part of the Arlington elite.

I'm struggling a little bit because I feel idealess. Here I was spending all this time at school studying and planning and coming up with great stuff, but now there's these souls that are actually real and attached to these plans, which makes me hate everyone of them. The desk has the amazing ability to zap all planning from me. I went out to lunch with my old youth minister, who's still the youth minister at my home parish and we talked through the semester and it was amazing. I gave her her entire semester's worth of plans....and named the group PULSE...and then we planned my stuff and I had nothing. We met today and promised to meet once a month for planning and I hope mentor ship...I know things take time, but really, I feel like whoa! What happened to all these ideas.

Is it normal for me to feel this way, is it normal to take some time adjusting before you can come up with a game having only toilet paper, tape and a chair at your disposal? I've never struggled like this before, I'm hoping it's just my adjusting.

Please keep me in your prayers as well. I'm fighting off the seeing me as a youth minister and seeing myself as a daughter of Christ, who's career is as a youth minister. Pray for me to fight the fight, just as I am praying for you!

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The Human Experience Grassroots Films

They posted the trailer on youtube. I can't wait to see the final product!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ATM-Steubenville Youth Conferences

I'm in the middle of the Annual Team Meeting for the Steubenville Youth Conferences-the hosts and a few speakers and all of the organizers from all of the sites. We review the past year and take a look at many things-like did the schedule work, how can we improve the program, what worked, are we staying or straying the mission of the Youth Conferences.

One of the things that we are looking at is the role of the Young Apostle program. To be honest, from my vantage point, I didn't see their use to the conferences. We all recognize that it's become a chance for kids to be on stage rather than being servants. The conversation about it took over 2 hours. My preference would be to really make it a formative program which automatically includes leadership training, because we are all called by our baptism to be leaders and to serve.

Some sites seem to rely a great deal on their Young Apostles to work for them. I'd like to see sites offer kids the opportunity to serve, and not be dependent on them. On campus I could see placing them under our student leads so that they are actually doing something to serve the Conferences, but are also surrounded by great college kids who pour their hearts into their work.

But we'll see what develops...

All in all it's been excellent to be with the other organizers to support one another. There are some extraordinary people out in the trenches doing the Youth Conferences and the only way that we were able to reach 37,000 kids at 18 sites is because of their hard work and dedication.

Pray for us as we continue to work on making the Summer Youth Conferences everything that God wants it to be. Pray that we hear and follow his leadership and guidance!


The Meaning of Life

Grassroots films is going to have another hit on it's hands.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Souless Perfection: Girls Who Hate Their Bodies

This is a very interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor. I think it is well worth the read because it has to hit home to us, whether we are a woman or a man in youth ministry.

For us women, we know all to well the struggle it is to love ourselves. In fact, I think we never get out of it because within youth ministry we get to stay young and try to look "cool". What is cool? Thin is in. God love Queen Latifah and Mo'nique and yes, even Camryn Manheim who want to make it cool to be big. But in reality?

Thin. Is. In.
...In essence, they are crying out to our godless culture, showing us just how damaged a child can be who is thrown to the wolves of advertising and amoral media without any spiritual armor.

I'm not calling for a return to conservative religion or restricting dogma. I'm envisioning an inspired movement toward community where girls are nourished with dinner-table conversations about the values of kindness and charity; where girls undergoing puberty are encouraged to embrace the miraculous, complex, and perfectly imperfect bodies they possess; and where girls can find inspiration – not condemnation – in religious texts.

Men, this affects you to. You are the model to other young men of how you treat women. It is not just the pretty ones who should get attention. I'm not saying that it is your role to be a part of a young women's healing, but you can take notice of their hurt and find good, solid women to be role models.

I cannot say that I am above the lies quite yet. I can't say I think I'm "attractive enough" which then makes me think I'm not Good Enough. But I do recognize the lie, which is more than most teenage girls can do. I struggle with the lie and I've been honest with some of the girls I've been closer to about it.

I'm with this writer: There is more damage than we know when we decided taking God out of society was a good idea.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Speaking of Facebook...