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.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Catholic Educator's Resource Center

One of my goals with this blog is to not only foster discussions among people who work with youth, about the formation of youth in terms of Comprehensive Youth Ministry, but to find and share resources that come across my desk.

Today's pick is the Catholic Educator's Resource Center. I did a bit of homework (as I always do before posting a site on this blog) and find it to be orthodox and committed to the Truth of Jesus Christ. That being said, you will also find some of the resources from Protestant writers but this should not mean that those resources are not valuable. Remember, we have our differences, but they also can speak to the Truth.

At any rate, it's a great extra resource for articles and defenses when you are teaching a particular Catholic Truth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm Ba-a-a-ack!

But feeling under the weather today.

I went for an interview at a rather prestigious place. Well, in our little Catholic World, that is.
I went to interview at Franciscan University of Steubenville in their conference office. It was a long drive and a long day, but a rather great day. I was astounded that they wanted to interview little ol' me.

I first talked with the HR director, and then met with the Executive Director of Christian Outreach who is just the kind of boss everyone would love to work for. Also there was the director for all of the youth conferences. We began the interview in prayer and intercession and began to talk. Talked all the way until noon Mass, went to Mass, went to lunch, continued the interview, which finished with prayer as well, then back to HR and then I was done.

The best thing about an interview like this is the intense discernment that goes into who will be hired, as well as the encouragement to continue praying on my end-which I've been doing for several days now. It would be a huge step to be there with huge responsibilities. I could do the job-but I'm not sure I'm being asked by the Lord to make it my next move.

All in all it was a remarkable and peaceful experience.

Oh, and for those of you who know Bobby Rice well, he's "Professor Rice" now! He teaching catechetics and as I understand, assisting with the Youth Ministry track that is undersay there at FUS. Way to go Bob!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Well I Never

uh... realized that I had made it difficult for folks to post.

I wondered why I wasn't hearing from a soul! So I checked my settings-and sure enough I had marked it incorrectly.

If it is still a pain in the butt to leave a comment would someone be so kind as to send me an email? I would greatly appreciate it. This blogs only really works when there are some good discussions going. Which I inadverdantly(sp?) messed up...d'oh...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Modesty Becoming The "In" Thing?

I was delighted when I saw this in the local paper!

"There was way too much skin," (Alex) Branaman (Senior, Student Council President) said. "I talked about it a million times with my friends. We were more offended than the guys or the teachers."

I have heard of girls requesting that department stores carry more modest fashions for them. Girls! Not their mothers! Is Brittany going by the way side? Please let it be true!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Speaking Of Education...

A very big opportunity might present itself before me. Wow. I never expected the Lord to put this in front of me.

And he may yet close the door, but I've decided that I will walk through each door that opens hoping that he will close all doors where I'm not supposed to be.

As most of you know I was ridiculously let go from my last job as youth minister for a parish of 1500. Since then I have been staying with some absolutely generous and gracious folks and job hunting. I look at it this way:

1. I could get married: This would require a serious relationship that I am not in right now. But my good friends keep saying "We want you to meet this really great Catholic guy...". But not being in the immediate future, I'm looking a little harder at

2. I could get a job.
And under that heading is two headings:

a. I could get a job working for the church-but not in parish ministry
b. I could get a job working in the corporate world and do parish ministry as a voluteer and side step all the politics and gar-bagze

I just got called for an interview from a place that I absolutly did not sense that God was calling me too. I had a hard time writing the cover letter and was quite doubtful I'd get any call from them. I am honored to get the call and it may well turn out that after listening to the Lord we both decide I'm not the one for the job. That's what the interview is for, after all.

So say a prayer for me as I discern where the Lord wants me next.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Catholic Education: Does Yours Measure Up?

Whether you are in charge of Religious Education or do the Youth Ministry side of Comprehensive Youth Ministry (in my not so humble opinion I believe the two should never be separated, but several pastors and youth ministers think otherwise) you, as someone who works with youth either directing or assisting with their formation, you should know by now that you fall under the directives of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

Deal Hudson was able to meet with Archbishop J. Michael Miller, the Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican. "That means he helps oversee Catholic education from kindergarten to college and graduate school throughout the world." says Mr Hudson

Miller gives us the 5 marks of Catholic Education:

1. "Inspired by a supernatural vision." Schools are about preparing students for "heavenly citizenship."

2. "Founded on a Christian anthropology." Education is the "perfection of children as images of God."

3. "Animated by communion and community." Schools should have the collaboration, interaction, and environment that "safe-guards the priority of the person."

4. "Imbued with the Catholic worldview across the curriculum," Catholic education should "transform the way we see reality."

5. "A place where committed Catholics teach." Catholic teachers should themselves be "witnesses for Christ."

It is a grave responsibility to pass on the Catholic faith. It is nice and easy to witness to if you believe in the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith as well, but not necessary to the fact that you must pass on what the Church teaches. That you may not agree with say, the teaching on birth control or Confession or a male only priesthood is of little consequence. It is too bad that you will have to teach against what you believe, but teaching Catholic youth is not about what you believe-it is about what the Church teaches. If you believe in it as well, that just makes it easier to give witness to and frankly, makes the Truth significantly more attractive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Legally Killing The Innocent

One of the things I loathed about being in youth ministry is the legal eagles' demands on what I do. I get so PO'd when they deem that they can dictate what I can do and what I can't do with the kids.

I realize that there are wack jobs out there. However, the list of rules that I was expected to adhere to assumed that I was a reckless driver who put kids in danger and was a molester on top of that. Unfortunatly, the person in charge of Faith Formation (who always wanted to be my boss, glad he wasn't) was a rule oriented person and having a sibling working for the Diocese meant that he was quite concerned with following these rules.

As part of this, I came across Dom's article about Safe Environment for kids. It seems to put the responsibility to greatly on the children and if the parents do not allow their children to be part of the program they will not be covered legally.

Let's not forget that the primary educators of children are the parents. Not the Dioceses/Archdiocese.

If you are required to use programs such as Talk About Touching there are some real issues here. I will be upfront here and say that I've not reviewed the material, but investigative and intelligent writer Dom has and I'd trust his judgement, one that has been echoed by many. This program was reviewed by a parish in Boston:

As the parents were given their first exposure to the curriculum through an introductory video, some of them were shocked at what it contained. The video opened with the tableaux of a young child of about 5 years old asking his mother, “Mommy, what is sex?” And the mother responds, “Sex is when two people get undressed and rub their private parts together.”

If all of the programs are that provacative why in the freakin' world does the USCCB think that they can mandate that children see this kind of crap?

From Dom, who quotes Teresa M. Kettlekamp, directer of the USCCB’s OCYC :
“… any such training programs for children which are totally left to the parents and are not conducted as a regular part of a school or religious education program, curriculum or classroom work and overseen by the arch/diocese/eparchy will not satisfy the requirements of Article 12 of the Charter. This will result in the issuing of a Required Action to the arch/diocese/eparchy to provide safe environment training to children as required under Article 12. Not to do so will be considered noncompliance."

What is wrong with this picture?
I'm going to copy the info Dom' has on his site. If you have received this same info please let me know what you think of it. Since I'm no longer with a parish, I don't get it, but I'm interested to know what others' reactions are.

Contact info:
Teresa Kettelkamp, Executive Director
My direct number at the USCCB is: (202) 541-5418 and my cell phone number is: (217) 725-3535
202-541-5418 (direct line)

Sheila Kelly, Deputy Director

Danna Palmer, Executive Assistant
202-541-5413 (main line for the office)

Gladys Smith, Staff Assistant
202-541-3094 (direct line)
Fax number for the office: 202-541-5410
Charter information:

Thanks Dom, for the head's up and information.

Rel Ed Teachers

Well, Religious Education has started at my old job. I am proud that some of my ideas still continue and have already made the program stronger.

However, two of the best volunteers are thinking of quitting after this year. It doesn't effect me, but their reasons make me do a lot of thinking.

One of the things that these to fabulous volunteers resent is the continuous push to get "certified" by the Diocese. They feel-as do many Religious Ed teachers-that teaching each week is more than "just a few hours" as the pastor puts it.

These teachers, by and large, spend a few hours a week preparing, a few hours looking for ways to make their classes interesting and engaging, a few hours contacting the church, the parents and/or the kids and then a few hours in the classroom. Nearly all of the teachers work full time jobs and have families to take care of. Some rush right from dinner and ball practice to RelEd with barey enough time with their own kids. In short: They are VOLUNTEERS. Giving freely of their time. Time from their own careers, families and projects.

Not to say they don't like doing it, most do.

On the flip side, we've had teachers who don't KNOW what what the Church teaches, or will say things that are NOT Church teaching. One of the reasons to get them certified (though most Diocesan certifications seem rather shakey anyway)is so that those teaching the young are themselves taught.

Last year I was invited into a 9th grade classroom to say a Rosary with the kids. Teachers were "good Catholics", wonderful women and moms-but they didn't have the first clue how to say the Rosary. They had spent 3 weeks with the kids making clay rosaries, and very little time talking about how to say the Rosary and how to medidate as you are saying the Rosary.

As the Youth Minister I was right in the middle. I cringed at what some of the teachers were saying, some out of ignorance, some from being badly taught by previous parish teachers-and wanted them to read or take a course to correct their thinking/teaching. Then I also saw how very busy they were and knew that this was just more then they were willing to do, most of them.

What is the solution?

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Last night we had two seminarians from the Legionaries of Christ over for dinner and prayer. While talking to one of the brothers he asked me if I had ever heard of I said no, and realized that I've not done anything to provide info on vocations.(PS if you have good info on vocations I'll add it in the vocations area.)

Being that I believe I'm headed for the married life, I remember to bring up the topic often enough, even with the kids. I did do a session one class time where I invited a priest, a nun, a consecrated woman and a married couple to come and talk about their call to vocations. Most of these people were folks that the kids already knew, but I don't know that it makes a difference whether they know them or not.

Consider having a vocations night for youth group or religous education class. I think you can have these witnesses come talk even to middle schoolers. Hearing how God is working in other people's lives can help the youth learn to recogize when the Lord is speaking to them.

PS I had a friend who, when she was young, thought the word was "vacations", so she prayed and I'm sure many on break from work had a lovely time...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Get Over It!

Have you ever had that person that you have to work with who just irritates you?

Argh! Even worse is that this person is a good and holy person, but I tell ya. If this person reminds me one more time to deliver the gifts to one of our voluneers (who is also a personal friend of mine) I think I will scream.

See, it always seems to me, in my measely mind, that if I don't do things this person's way, then she gets to being a nervous nelly. Just can't take it. This person is highly highly organized, but not so great with people. That is not a slam, it's just not where her best gifts lie. Therefore when I do things differently or in my own way that are different from her world of clearly drawn lines it seems to just throw her into fits.

I know, I know. Pray for her. I'm not even working with her anymore and it still irritates me.

What Kids Won't Do

"NONONONONONONOOOOOOOOO! I do'wanna go back to school!!!"

Well, one young person (or a few of them) locally -which is why I'm not posting a link-slashed all the tires on the buses early this morning. Yes, folks, slashed. No buses. They had a 2 hour delay, but what makes it worse is that most of the kids have not been inside the new school, so now that the day has shorter periods, it's all going to be one heck of a jungle there.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Kanye West Is An Idiot

If you watched the concert tonight on NBC and MSNBC, you'll know what I mean.

The best part was Mike Myers' face of shock looking at this rambling fool.

UPDATE: Read this MSNBC lackey who blogged the concert. I think he bought one to many Kanye West CD.

Bishop Sam Jacobs-Houma-Thibodaux Diocese

Has anyone heard from him yet? Does anyone have any word on this excellent man? Is he all right?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I Spoke Too Soon

Please do not take my below post to mean that you should get in your car and head South (or East or West or whatever). Instead, submit your information through places like the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities and let them contact you.

I just can't believe the hell that is going on. They are shooting at their rescuers, murders, rapes, drying from lack of water, food, medicines, heat. God what is going on?

There is a blogger inside New Orleans. Check out what he's seeing.

And pray. I just-I'm just sick.