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, June 29, 2006

The End of an Era

As we all know, the scandal which erupted in Boston 5 or 6 years ago has cost the Archdiocese dearly. Because of their ineptness at dealing with reality and the litigation of zealous lawyers they have had to downgrade significantly.

Most unfortunately, to me anyway, is the slashing of the Youth Ministry budget. The Office for Youth Ministry (OYM), Boston will be moving from a 3 story convent/retreat center with 6 or 7 offices, to two offices in the basement of the Creigh Library on the Chancery Grounds. Not exactly a move up. They have eliminated 2 full time and 3 part time positions-one of those being Fr Tom Dunne's position of Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Boston. It will now be "folded" in with the position of Director of Family and Life ministries. This leaves only two full time positions to oversee the extraordinary work of the OYM.

In my opinion this change is a great loss: Gospel Road, Catholic Leadership Institute, (and "Moving Beyond"), monthly youth ministry meetings, harbor cruises, golf tournament, World Youth Day trips, a retreat for all kids in the archdiocese called "YOW" (Youth Outreach Weekend) which had to be held on two weekends because over 500 kids would sign up...CYO of youth ministers and Coordinators of youth minstry...folks, despite the Scandal, the Office for Youth Ministry was getting the job done.

Most significantly is the loss of Fr Tom Dunne, S.D.B. (Salesian order-think Dom Bosco). He has led the OYM for several years and has been a rock and wise servant during some very turbulent times. The kids loved him because he was so accesible. He lead with quiet authority and confience in his staff and in the faithfulness of the Lord. His order has him assigned elsewhere, and whoever gets him next will be a blessed group of people. Fr Tom, thank you for all your dedication and hard work. Thank you for your leadership and guidance. Thank you for being rooted in Jesus and keeping us there as well. May God bless you and keep you.

The article on their homepage is hopeful-I'm not surprised at it's graciousness and hopefullness. But having worked extensively with them, having gotten to know each staff member well and ministering with and being minstered to by them it is a great sorrow to see such good work reduced because of the idiocy of the Scandal.

For the two remaining, may God bless you with stamina, volunteers, clarity and wisdom. Thank you, OYM for all that you have done for hundreds, even thousands of youth and their youth minsiters. I would not be the minister I am today without your support and love.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Reason For Our Hope Foundation

Fr Larry Richards is a compelling speaker.

And a hoot to be around! He has been to three conferences this summer, and I just get a charge out of hearing him speak. Getting his CD's and DVD's is an absolute must. Dynamic, funny, solid, exceptional. The only other thing I'd say is get him to your parish.

Go here to find out more about his new ministry: The Reason for Our Hope Foundation. As he says "Read 1 Peter 3:15: "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." "

Friday, June 23, 2006

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A most beautiful and powerful meditation. Especially appropro for those of us in ministry:

I'm looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Behind Jesus is a cloudy sky and some trees. The Sacred Heart occupies perhaps two percent of the area of the picture. Yet when I first look at the picture, all I see is His heart with so much love radiating from it. As I gaze more closely, I am captivated by Jesus, His outstretched, nail-scarred hands,and His inviting pose.

Eventually I notice the background, which occupies over half of the picture's area. Because the background is crafted so skillfully, it leads the eyes immediately to the Sacred Heart, setting the stage without stealing the show.

The background to the love of Jesus is His early years as a Refugee, His conflict-filled public ministry, the agony of the cross of Jesus. In short, the background of the glory of love is a long life of suffering. Because God has so skillfully crafted Jesus' life of suffering, Jesus' suffering leads us immediately to His love.

Is your life full of suffering, brokenness, misery, and failure? Do you feel that more than half your life has been wasted? (see Is 49:4) Are you longing for life, but only finding suffering? Jesus is the Master, and He is making a masterpiece out of your life. Could it be that Jesus has been spending all this time painting your background? When He gets the background right, He'll be ready to paint the glory and the love. Jesus often saves the best for last (see Jn 2:10). Allow the Lord to paint as He sees fit. When He's finished, there will be nothing left but total love (see 1 Cor13:13). All your sufferings will only make the final masterpiece of your life shine more brightly with the touch of the Master's hand.

Prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto Thine.
Promise: "We can speak freely to God, drawing near Him with confidence." Eph 3:12
Praise: Praise You, Jesus! You are Love incarnate (1 Jn 4:8). I rejoice in Your loving kindness. Alleluia!

-Presentation Ministries (hat tip to Dad)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Leading A Revolution In Catholic Youth Ministry

I've recently become aware of a new ministry organization that I have GOT to tell you about:


Who are they?

Well they are dedicated to "building a solid foundation in Catholic Youth Ministry:

Where our Churches are safe
Where Youth Ministers stick around longer than a year or two
Where teens want to come and DO
Where the Impact in teens' lives is clearly evident
Where there are deeper conversions
Where there are families more involved
Where there are more vocations"

Let's face it, folks: Catholic Youth Ministry, while it has come a long way, is still anemic and in need of solid Catholic doctrine, resources and support. CYM leave parishes all the time bewildered and head-spinning thinking "What did I do wrong? What happened????" Good, holy people getting the snuf beat outta them due to so many short comings in ministry.

This is why I'm so excited to see Jim Beckman and Karen Reynolds start ImpactCenter. Their mission is to impact the lives of the Youth Minister so that they can in turn impact the lives of the youth. Read through what they are offering. It includes not a new program for your youth group, but a renovation of the Youth Minister. A transformation even:

"Our ministry is about HIM! In fact, our ministry, our life, DEPENDS on Him.
A “Revolution” in Youth Ministry will not come about because of an
event, a concert, or a new worship song.
It will not come about because of a new approach to ministry,or a new model.

Show me a youth minister who has discovered a
deep, passionate, and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,
who cultivates that relationship in a deep interior life,
and I will show you where
the revolution is already happening!"

I'll Pray For A Husband For You

So I sit next to Fr Francis Martin at lunch today. (It's the Priest, Deacon and Seminarian Conference). I ask him how his talk went this morning because I was in the office getting some work done. He said it went very well. He has been doing a series on Men and Women, using Genesis 1-3. Tomorrow he is talking about Eph 5 and Marriage. So we got talking, naturally, about marriage and how God fashioned it, how we are called to live it, etc, etc etc. (BTW this man is getting on in years but he his mind is sharp!)

At the end he says "Do you want to get married?" I said "Absolutely! I want all of this!" (what we'd been talking about. "Ok, then I will pray a husband for you"

Fr. Francis Martin is going to pray for a husband for me???? TOTALLY AWESOME!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

So, What DO You Do?

One of the last things my former boss and pastor said to me was "I think you'd do better at a small parish somwhere in the country."

How d'ya like my small parish somewhere in the country?

This weekend we had almost 1,000 participants come to celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit. The Charismatic Conference was this weekend and since my boss was the host, I was responsible for everything else. Which only includes (but is not limited to) Housing, Transportation, Speakers, Logistics, Food Services, Supply and Transport, Assistance with Chapel ministries, . . . finding speaker books that they want to hold up, rearranging workshop space because Fr John Gordon told everyone to go to one of the workshops, overseeing every detail of this conference this weekend.

Here are some of the responses:
Dave Fatula "In my 15 years working here, it has never run smoother"
Bert Ghezzi, speaker "You are doing such a wonderful job, everything has been great"
Kay, participant " Thank you for taking care of us so well. I think the students and staff have been better than any other year-and I've been coming for 8 years!"
Mark, Boss, Host "I was impressed. I could focus on being the host and not have to worry about a thing. When things run smoothly logistically it seems the Holy Spirit is freer to move-people are not anxious about anything and therefore much more open".

And boy, was the Holy Spirit moving. But that's the next post.

Lest you think I did everything by myself, I had a host of excellent staff, lead students and working students. This crew was ON THEIR GAME. Smiling, serving, open, ready, intelligent, gifted, being used by God: I was truly proud of each and every one of them. Really it was a team effort, and for my first solo gig as Associate Director everything went off without a hitch.

And to think I told Mark in my interview that I didn't think God was calling me to be here.

Lesson learned: Don't listen to me, listen to God!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


So I'm a little behind.

I am not one of those who think that X-men III is about accepting homosexuality. I think it's got a much broader message.

At any rate, here's an interesting article.

And yes, I loved it. Then again, I did grow up watching it on tv or reading the comics. I hear those who did were disappointed.

I think this could be a great Catechetical movie. I think it can challenge us to think about strengths and weaknesses that we each have and how do we accept one another? Are you one of those who are IYF (in your face) when discussing theology with a parishionor? This movie is for you. Are you looking for something for class that talks about being created in the image and likeness of God? This movie is for you.

One caveat: It has rather intense battle scenes. There is also one scene that is mmm...passionate. No clothes come off and Jean Grey is not herself, so it kind of lessens the impact. But still, be ready for that scene towards the beginning of the movie.

Good flick.
Here are other opinions. I really like their take on it as well.