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, January 31, 2006

Prayers Needed

For a dear friend and brother who is going through an intense Good Friday (is there any other kind?).

We all know the toll that ministry can take on our lives and even our families. Pray for all families of ministers. Pray for this particular soul, he the best of the best, one of my all time heroes, the man who is the king of youth ministry, who loves God and loves the people of God.

Brother, if you read this, remember: Easter Sunday always comes. He Promised it would.

What Jesus Wouldn't Do

This site is hilarious. Now, before you think it's blasphemous, it is to make fun of our own small-box conceptions of Jesus and the disciples. I have tears running down my face when I watch "The Jesus Videos. "

My brother had shown this to me sometime ago, but one of the speakers this weekend brought it back on my radar. The site is

Youth Ministers' Retreat

Was so totally awesome.

Franciscan University Christian Outreach office had a retreat just for youth ministers. It seemed like a lot of people needed to be refreshed and rejuvinated. Hey, youth ministry is a tough business! Can I get an "Amen"??!!

One of the best lines of the weekend came from Fr John Gordon. At Mass on Sunday morning he talked about -well, he talked about a lot of great things. But he touched on the fact that even the unclean spirit in the man knew who Jesus was and shreiked, i.e. that he was the Holy One of God. At the end of his homily he asked us if Jesus was more present in the tabernacle than in the monstrance. No, we replied. What makes the difference?, he asked us. "We can see him" we replied. Then he said "Let's not be just tabernacles of Jesus. Let's be monstrances"


I think every youth minister in that chapel had their hair blown back. We all had this collective "wow..." under our breath. I mean, we're the ones who think up these creative teaching moments for our kids: and here we get one that is so powerful.

So, don't just be a tabernacle: Be a monstrance.

Friday, January 27, 2006

"Trouble" With Boys

No. Really? You mean in all this time that we've spent focusing strictly on girls we've left the boys behind? Chrsitina Hoff Sommers wrote an excellent book called "The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men". It is a must read for anyone working with adolescents: male or femail. Sommers takes issues with Mary Piphers' very popular "Reviving Ophelia" has a surprising lack of statistical backbone and that both genders struggle with identity, low self-esteem, feeling of inadequecy, etc. As one reviewer of the hardback edition commented
"She essentially urges parents and educators to let boys be boys, even though
their 'very masculinity turns out to be politically incorrect.' "

Instead of pathologizing them, why not recognize that all of us hated life between ages 13-18 and dealth with self doubt and inadequecy. Getting through it successfully we can help all young men and women find their way with grace and confidence.

SuperBowl Party

Does anyone have any good ideas for the Superbowl? Do you usually have a party or fundraiser? I've done parties where the entrace fee is 3-5 items for the food pantry, or included it as part of a money maker for a camp. Other ideas? ( I realize that by now, if you're gonna do something it probably has to have already been submitted for this weekend's bulletin, but looking for ideas for others...just in case!)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pray For Life: 33 Years And Counting

We need to pray for life to be valued in this country at all stages at all times. This weekend and week we particularly pray for the victims of abortion, the mothers, the fathers, the families, even a conversion of heart for all those who promote abortion, who provide them and who give money so that this evil continues.

I came across this recently and I found it amazing.
I am Norma McCorvey. I became known as Jane Roe on January 22, 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court released the Roe v. Wade decision which created a woman's right to abortion". I am now a child of God, a new creature in Christ; I am forgiven and redeemed. Today I publicly recant my involvement in the tragedy of abortion. I humbly ask forgiveness of the millions of women and unborn babies who have experienced the violence of abortion. In this place of healing, the National Memorial for the Unborn, I stand with those who honor the worth of every unborn child as created in the image of God. I will strive, in the name of Jesus, to end this holocaust."

Also, read this article and it gives hope.

Check your local stations to see if they are reporting anything (newspapers as well) and if they aren't ask them why. And ask them why they insist on referring to us as "anti-abortion rights" people. Why can they not bring themselves to say "Pro-Life?".

Take this opportunity to share with the kids about the truth of Jesus Christ. Ask them if they saw anything on the news about it. Be bold in sharing with them what it all means.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Phantom Tollbooth

Did anyone ever read that book? It was quite good as I recall.

I've been enjoying The Phantom Toolbooths' website lately and get a lot of good info there on movies, album reviews, concert reviews, book reviews. Quite entertaining. Check 'em out.

The End of the Spear

Having gone to a Christian school for most of my elementary and secondary educated life I heard this story several times. One of the widows, Elizabeth Elliot wrote "Through Gates of Splendor" which is probably on every booklist of every wouldbe Protestant missionary. It's an amazing story, actually.

I am hoping hoping hoping that this movie does art justice. For too long "Christian (including Catholic) art has been sickly and sappy. That's why "Therese" didn't go far.

But this looks interesting. I'm hoping to see it at some point.

Homies Include "El Padrecito

I just loved this article. I really do appreciate a celebration of culture when the Church can take up what is good in it and use it to express some deeper realities.

Ok, so El Padrecito isn't by himself a "deeper reality" but it makes him "cool" , it seems to make him more accessable, and because of that ministry is happening.

Father Masseo Gonzalez, a Franciscan Catholic priest based in Arroyo Grande, is the brother of “Homies” creator David Gonzalez.

The priest put together a site ( using some freely distributed software and began answering the questions that Homies fans would send to him. Most of his visitors come from California and Texas, said Gonzalez, and most of the messages are composed in a mish-mash of English, Spanish and Internet slang.

Some of the questions Gonzalez gets are typical teenage fare, such as requests for relationship advice. However, Gonzalez also gets a rare glimpse into some of the problems affecting Latino youth.

“I got a 16-year-old girl that ran away from home and was living with her older boyfriend,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez also described situations of girls living with men who beat them or use their homes to sell drugs. Kids logging on to his site have also asked the priest about subjects like drugs and gangs.

“(The kids) trust my brother and they trust the Homies,” Gonzalez said. “These kids are hurting.”

Check out their stuff, maybe donate to his cause. I think it's incredibly inventive and an excellent use of popular culture to speak to and invite in those who might not care to darken the door of a Church. God bless 'em! (thanks Amy for bringing it to our attention!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Speaking of LOST

Didja catch last night's 8-9pm?? Huh? Didja? I had watched that episode last week and I'm think that it generated so much online they decided to run it again. It was outstanding. Read Amy's Blog on it to see what I mean.

If you don't watch it, start. It's a great great show. (So far, let's hope it doesn't go the way of JJ Abrams' other show, my used-to-be-favorite-until-that-awkward-space-between-Jen Garner-and-Michael Vartan-that-they-both-deny)


Did anyone catch this on PBS? How was it? Having worked inner city I was intrigued. I was more intrigued with LOST...

Grassroots Films: Artistry and Theology in Motion

I'm a girl and watching this video made me want to become a priest!

I watched a few of their videos and I have to say they are outstanding. I'm going to put a link on the side later on so that you can order good video from them. Or hire them especially if you live in New York.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The kids are going to shoot me for saying this, but a great way to find out what is going on in their lives is find out if they have a blog of their own on or

Be warned that sometimes kids just spout off, but sometimes what they are saying is what they really mean. And they may have lyrics or music or words that would make Grandma blush, but it's called "myspace" for a reason. The great thing is we can look inside their world without knocking first.

Of course, it's always the best to keep working on your relationship with the kids you work with. The best times I've ever had was over a coffee or cheeseburger talkin' 'bout life. Then they know that they can talk to you about the stuff that really matters to them.

Senseless Teens

A few days ago many news outlets were reporting on a couple of teenage boys who were caught on video tape viciously beating a homeless man. One of the other men they had beaten eventually died from his wounds. All of the reporters were horrified, many of them asked the question "Why??"

I have to be honest. When I first heard of the beatings and the search was on for "two or three men" I corrected my tv set: "They should be looking for two or there teenage boys." And I already knew why.

Having been in youth minsitry for so long I have also been around a great many teenage boys. In one parish I was at there was a large group of boys who enjoyed imitating the wrestling shows. We had a very large space for the youth which had several couches and pillows, so I allowed them to have wrestling events (which also had rather strict rules: an adult had to be in the room, no hard objects could be used, only pretend ones, any injuries meant it stopped immediately, etc).

What I discovered as I watched over the boys was that in their conversations they would dream up these scenarios of seriously hurting others. And then laugh about it. They would even talk about how funny it would be to go up to some shop owner they didn't like and mess up his shop or some teacher getting a beating-and then they'd all laugh. They insisted that they were laughing because it was so absurd.

Maybe. But what scared me sometimes was the amount of detail and dreaming up that went into these plots. Hurting others for sport sounded very enticing and fun to do.

And before anyone says video games don't hurt I beg to differ. Sitting there with your XBox beating the snot out of someone or killing them with Uzi's won't have an effect on you? Have you seen how realistic these games are?

No, not every boy goes out and does harm. Some of my best kids played these games. But I can't believe that this doesn't affect the kids and make them aggressive on some level and in some harmful way.

These "nice boys from next door" are playing these M-rated games and acting out their fantasies on people they think no one will miss, on people who they contend have no place in society.

And far from being their own fault and the fault of the parents, we have let them live in a society where the only thing that is wrong is if you feel that it is wrong. Very few kids that I talk to believe that copying music is wrong. A minor thing, really, but it IS against the law. But to them it is there for their use, however they feel they can and want to use it. How I live is my business and no one can tell me otherwise.

Now we have a graduated sense of entitlement: I can use human life any way that I want, esp those considered to be the dregs of society. Wouldn't it be fun to beat and hit them? Who are they going to tell? They are drunks and druggies anyway.

Congratulations, society. We've done well by our kids.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Several years ago I heard a stat from either Group Magazine or Youth Specialties saying that youth ministers burn out on average after about 3 years. Knowing what it's like on almost every level I get this stat. However many stay in Youth Ministry.

Have you experienced burnout? Why? How did you deal with it? Why do people get burned out? Why is the turnover in parishes so high?

Yet I Love Them Still

Because today everything is back to normal!!

I realized yesterday how easily it is for me to froth at the mouth. Seriously! Have you ever listened to the crap that comes out of your mouth? You should hear mine!!

I have spent the entire week b!+(#ing and moaning about not being able to work like I normally do. I mean, I probably told every person who cared to hold a conversation with me. I went on and on about how ridiculous it all was, how inconvienced I was, what a pain in the patootee this was diarrea of the mouth I tell you. Granted, it's still unprofessional to take us all offline for so long, but so is my complaining.

Yesterday two top tech guys spent 3 hours on my computer trying to figure out why I couldn't get reconnected. I just shut my mouth because first of all I'd frothed enough, but mostly because I couldn't see how I could kvetch about not having things work and then kvetch about what they need to do to get me back "online".

So, today these guys are my heroes. My great geeky heroes! Kudos to you!!! THANKS!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Mind All Their Own

I don't think computer tech guys live in our world-or think like the rest of us. I'm sorry, there it is.

The place where I work has decided it is ok for the entire system to be down for two full weeks. I have not been able to email or blog or do any kind of internet research whatsoever-unless I come down to the local library and get things done-which is where I am today.

No place of business would find this acceptable in the least. One of my friends who works for a web-hosting company can't believe taht this is going on.

Today one of the computer guys came to check out my computer and for some unkonwn reason now I need a new computer keyboard. Funny-it worked just fine before he walked in the door. Now I have no computer keyboard, no email and no internet.

So then a new guy came up and tried to install a new keyboard, and when he turned on my computer it said "No operating system". That's it. Nothing. Nada. As in your computer is now mash potatoes.

In a completely unrelated story I went home for lunch today and in my mail was a bill from the gas company for $750. Please tell me how I spent $21.00 a day in gas when I live alone. And last month's bill was $172. Please tell me that there is something in the air today...