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, June 28, 2005

Trash Talkin'

I just had the most interesting conversation with one of the staff.

This person talked about how difficult it is to work for the Church and remain a Catholic. She is appalled at how people will be nice to her face and then trash her when she's not around. I did tell her that I had complained-but she said, yes, but you never got personal.

And I can say that I didn't. I know that I assumed a great deal, but I never go personal. I commplained because I was frustrated with having to change from the old person to her, the new person, and not fully understanding what she wanted from us.

What it comes down to is people not having the courage to come to the person themselves and talk about what is bothering them. I strongly believe that if parishionors or certain staff members had come to me and talked I would still have my job. Instead, they bypass me, complain to Father and he thinks I'm wrong.

Now, my wrong is that I do not like talking to him. He does not listen and is rather defensive. However, I lacked the courage to say No You are wrong. Those people ARE wrong. I did nothing wrong. I did my job. My failures are no better or no worse than ANY other person on this staff.
Except for the person living with their partner...who they aren't married too...

So, in my last few days here, I'm debating: Do I confront those staff member who made judgements about me and call them on their lack of courage? Do I go to the Boss and say You were wrong. You made a terrible error here.

I'm not sure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This Summer

Do you have many events planned for this summer for your crew? Do you have any good ideas for others who might be searching for some way to keep the kids connected? Do you shut down for summer? Are you busy? Doing what sorts of things?


In other words, I'm sick. Which would explain the lack of posting. My throat hurts like nothin' I have EVER experienced before and I can't tell you how many over the counter meds I've bought.

I have to get better because I'm taking 3 girls to the Steubenville Conference this coming weekend. Should be a blast.

Is anyone else like me: Even though I'm sick I came in after hours to get some work done. I always feel this pressure like there is more I need to do more to get done. Yes, even though I'll be done here in about 10 days I still am stressed about things that I no longer have any control over.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pray For John

Hi Folks
Say a prayer for John Bettinelli, will you?

He is one fabulous man and the brother of Dom. On his blog, Dom alerted us what was happening and recently gave us an update. His wife just gave birth to their 7th child. John is only 41-and one heck of a guy.

Not Really So Cynical-Really!

It seems every time I post I've got something cynical and grumpy to say.

My sincerest apologies. I am really quite a delightful person, honestly!!!

I recently discovered that I am moderately ADD. Before you think this is some crack-pot self diagnosis, let me tell you that I've had it diagnosed twice now and when I read the literature on it I can hardly believe that they are describing my life!

Between finding this out and getting let go, I find myself vaccilating between that "Is it me or is it them? If it's me, how much of it is ADD and how much of it is, well, me?" My natural tendancies, unfortunately wants to blame others. I hate this!! I guess it's because I'm already so very hard on myself that criticism is the absolute last thing that I can handle well. I'm already beating myself up, why are you joining in?

Well, prayer does a lot of good. While I am so mad at the boss for putting us all in this wretched position, I find I must repent for some things I've said and thoughts in my head, attitudes I've taken and a self righteousness that is helpful to no one. This event happened. So get on with it.

Then again, my good friend volunteers here thinks the bossman has given me a complex. Could be.

Well, on with the resume' making and job hunting. Say a prayer.

Not Good, Not Good-But We Can Work On It, Really

I've been coming in a little later these days and staying late. Today I come in and my secretary is about to fall apart.

We had to send notes to all the parents of kids who hadn't turned in their money and people get really crazy when it comes to money. I guess one woman just simply screamed at my secretary and left me a voicemail as well. She says that she gave it to us in cash and a check, how could we have lost it, what is wrong with you people...on and on and on.

Even worse, the boss is standing there hearing all this as my secretary relays this too me. Great. Just what I need. He thinks I've screwed THIS up as well. As I walk to my office I hear him asking her about it. Doesn't bother to ask me, but believe you me, it's another check on his "Failure" list.

Did they hand us cash? I don't know. Who did they hand it to? When? If she can give us a copy of the cashed check that will help us greatly.

I guess the way I look at it is everything is workable. Is she right to be upset? Sure, but please don't scream at me or my secretary. Let's find out what happened , not who is to blame for it.
But I get another check mark next to my name.

Part of the problem is that I was told that certain moneys go to one secretary and the other moneys-for the same program-go to the other one and it's created quite the nightmare. Chances are these checks were given to the wrong secretary (not by me, maybe when the parent stopped in), or that it was placed under the wrong category.

I realize I'm responsible for the program, but -well-I'm just tired of the assumption that I'm wrong. We actually had an upset parent who was sure she paid, only to find out that the exact amount was written out for a totally different program.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Empty Banquet Table

The youth ministers in the area took me to lunch today, which was very gracious. All of them are Protestant youth ministers, most of them Reformed Church or Christian Reformed. One of them mentioned that he's just not sure he's doing ministry for the right reasons.

He began talking about how he feels like everything he does he does because he is supposed to do it, not because he has any kind of passion for it. Working for a church he questions why he is there when he's not even sure about his relationship with God. He said that he lack discipline and desire in his faith walk.

I couldn't help but think about the Sacraments. I know that plenty of Saints have talked about feeling dry and passionless. I know that our walk with God is not all bubbly and mountaintop experiences. But I just couldn't help but wonder if the table of a Protestant is emptier than ours. They don't have much to hang on to, much to survive, much to be fed by.

We have such a variety of prayer styles, we have Reconciliation, we have Jesus's Body to consume as well as adore. We have saints of all sorts-we just have such a full banquet table to be fed by.

I so wanted to offer him that as a possible solution, and as the various well-meaning ministers batted around a few ideas and anecdotes, I found myself wishing for him a fuller table from which to eat.

I did offer to him that if he'd keep me in prayer, for direction in life, I'd keep him in prayer, for direction for him. He's fasting right now, which tells me he is serious in his search for God. I'll say Rosaries for him as well-which to me is just kinda funny. If only he knew what he could have. If only they all knew. They are all such great people. I wish so much that I were staying around so that I could be more of a witness to them.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Y'know, I Always Had An Uneasy Sense About Them

I never really knew what to make of the Center for Ministry Development. At first look, they appear to be quite the Catholic youth ministry center. They use Church documents, they talk about comprehensive youth ministry and the Bishops' Document "Renewing The Vision" , they put out oodles of books like Faithways and YouthWorks that literally give you step by step instructions for youth ministry events.

I was given their Confirmation program to use and I found that I had to revise it. They reminded us that we were Baptized in the name of the Creater, Redeemer and Spirit.


We were not.

That's why I was delighted to see this: An explanation why-besides that nonsense-I always felt ill at ease with CMD.

Now, if you have these on your shelf, quietly slip them out the back door and into the trash. There are better materials out there. I promise.

Unfair Mourning

Bad things happen to you in life that just happen. But it hurts worse when it is caused by someone's totally ridiculous decision.

I'm preparing some things for a trip that I won't be able to take with the kids now, and I broke down. I just can't believe that I won't get to experience this event with them, that I won't see them, help them grow up, grow in their faith, deal with mom and dad, friends, Confirmation requirements, etc. And I'm just so very mad at the man who made this very poor decision.

Next year would have really flown. It took a few years for momentum to grow as there is just tons of things happening. Coordinators of these events and volunteers looked to have one person to pull it all together and the kids looked for someone to cheer them on and hang with. Next year would have been the year that I'd have things under my belt and can just charge ahead.

But no. Mr Impatient can't wait. His reasons are uninformed because he won't hear. And now, we all pay. Unfair mourning.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Where I Wish I Were


Warm and Muggy

But what is up with my weather pixie? Did she forget to get dressed? If she were in my youth group I'd hand her a t-shirt. And why is there a cat sometimes? Who invited him?

Monday, June 06, 2005

What Now, God?

I say this a great deal these days.

I am so extremely disappointed in the decision, I think it lacked discernment, discussion and wisdom. It was made without hearing all sides, in the heat of the moment and after I'd given a plan-a solid, verifiable plan-to fix the irritations of the boss.

And I have to say, this is why I am not entirely sure I want to stay in parish ministry. I see so many decisions made-in other parishes as well-that lack. They just lack.

Lack courage. Lack wisdom. Lack obedience. Lack passion. Lack is becoming a funny sounding word because I'm saying it so often.

It's the very place where we should be able to be filled, challenged, supported to grow in holiness and experience the fullness of the graces of the Sacramental life. Yet, because it is a group of sinners wandering around, we tend to come up short.

I'm tired of the Church failing in it's mission. I'm tired of people hurting each other. I'm tired of not being challenged-and supported-to grow in holiness. I'm tired of fighting. I just want all the good stuff. Is this too much to ask for?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I've Been Tagged: Meme!

Whatever that means...

Being Or Nothingness tagged me!

I guess I'm supposed to answer these questions and tag 5 others. Ok, I'm game:

Total Number of Books I own: hmm...200 give or take?
Last Book I Bought: (for me or for ministry? Isn't that just so typical of a youth minsiter?!) Well, for myself: Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigal-who I just love.
For ministry: Dissent From The Creed by Richard Hogan, Issues of Faith and Morals by Archbishop George Pell, Make It Real, A Practical Resource for Teen-Friendly Evangelization by Frank Mercadante, and As Morning Breaks and Evening Sets by Alonso, Delgatto and Feduccia from St Mary's Press (who make me nervous, but this book looked alright-they'll say "Father" but use "God" instead of "He" but there are some good prayers too)

Last Book I Read: Wow. Hmm...Well, I had to review a bunch of texts for a morality class, but for myself...hmm....probably The New Faithful by Colleen Carroll, one of Bodie Thoene's latest, though I wish she'd hurry up and connect everything together, sheesh.

Books That Have Meant A Lot To Me:
1. Fr Elijah: Excellent Read by Michael O'Brian. His other books are excellent as well.
2. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Young People (easier to read than the "adult" version)
3. Women In The Priesthood? by Manfred Houke/The Feminist Question by Francis Martin
4. What Do You Do, What Do You Do, What Do You Do With A Shoe? children's book: to my niece!
5. Anything by Weigel or Kreeft. Really, anything.

Sorry I don't have them in links yet. I'm trying to wrap things up here, you know.

And I will tag...let's see...Dom, Take Your Place, Young And Catholic, and...hmm. I need to get more friends.