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, December 28, 2006

12 Days of Christmas

I had wanted to do more for you all, but I've been driving around the state visiting friends. Maybe one of you can help out:

What are the 12 days of Christmas and is the story about it true?


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Mass

A few days before Christmas I realized that Christmas Mass is the only Mass of the year in which we celebrate both the birth and death of Jesus at Mass.

I just found that fascinating this year.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006


Merry Christmas

More On Liturgy

I have read through the posts below and am still holding my position, but have a few more thoughts.

I'm fortunate that I come from a family who area all solid Catholics. Grew up in the Charismatic Renewal, believe that the renewal is meant for the Church and believe wholeheartedly in the teachings of the Church. So when we discuss things like this it really makes me think hard about such topics.

My sister-in-law brought up a very good point. Let me backtrack:

I still believe that teen Masses-in the context of a regular Mass-are needed and important. I think praise and worship music does have a place at Mass. I believe that most liturgies could be done much better. I believe that a "teen Mass" if you will, HAS to have an excellent priest to say the Mass in a highly reverential matter, and give an excellent homily and that the Mass HAS to follow with a LifeNight, or an evening with the teens in which you continue to catechize and evangelize. I also believe that we need to find ways in which the teens grow into an awareness of the beauty and sacredness of the Liturgy and I am not opposed to sometimes having the participate in high Liturgy, or a High Mass.

Here's the thing: They just can't chew steak! We have had crummy liturgy for ages and most of the kids I work with have no idea, -shoot their parents have no idea what is going on during Mass. And we want to throw them into a High Mass situation? I'm not sure that will do much good.

My sister- in- law then said "Wouldn't it be great if we didn't need so called Teen Masses? " I couldn't agree more.

Pope John Paul II grew up being formed my excellent liturgy. It was always an excellent Mass that was said. What a world to grow up in, that your whole WORLD revolved around the Church with the Mass as central!

But we just don't have that anymore. Not only do we not have that, we have families that have no clue what is going on.

Maybe I don't give the kids enough credit. My goal is to help them connect to the Mass so that they see that is something real and alive that can make a difference in their lives, if they'd only open themselves up to it. Even if the preaching is bad, at least you have Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Everybody's Doin' It, Even Grandma!

That's right, kids! And since 9 out of 10 are having sex, it's CLEAR you won't be able to wait.

“This is reality-check research,” said the study’s author, Lawrence Finer. Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

This is everywhere. I wasn't going to comment on it, but I saw Shea had it, someone here at work printed it out, CNN is covering it. And they say the Church is obsessed with sex.

Man, where is my copy of Theology of the Body...


More Posts

I'm toying with keeping more posts up, maybe generate more conversation. I seem to be increasing traffic lately. Which is great, because this blog only works if we get conversations going...


Music and Liturgy

A start of some good discussion in the combox below:

From one:
Sacred music, suitable for use in the temple of God, as Pius X said in Tre la sollicitudini in 1903 (and reaffirmed by John Paul II in 2003) is that which is inspired by the Christian faith, has a sound theological character, and is universally recognizable. Thus, sacred music is able to complement the work of Christ in the liturgy, the goal of which is to draw us deeper into his paschal mystery for the purpose of our union with God (not merely our articulation and expression of our faith).

From another:
I'm not advocating secular music in liturgy at all. I think it can have a place in the classroom, but not in liturgy. But I don't see any problem with songs from bands like Third Day and MercyMe being used in liturgy, played by a music ministry that uses electric guitars and drums. I think they meet the criteria you cited. And they are an effective means for attracting young people to Mass.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

HPV and Cancer

Ok, boys. I'm going to write about something that might make you a little uncomfortable, but you need to know this so that you can help the women know the facts.

I am so mad every time I hear all of the ads that have been on the radio and TV lately about HPV (Human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. Why?? Because the ads have never stated that HPV IS AN STD.

That's right. HPV is a sexually transimitted disease. How do you NOT get HPV, which can easily lead to cervical cancer? DON'T HAVE SEX! But no, that's not what the ads say.

The ads keep talking about how we have to get the info out, how we have to tell the ones we love, our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our friends. How 'bout we tell each other that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease which can lead to cervical cancer that could lead to death? Really? Was it worth it?

From the American Social Health Association:
About 14,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Over 5,000 women each year die of cervical cancer in the United States.

About 20 million Americans are infected with HPV. It is expected that 5.5 million will contract it through sexual contact each year. That makes HPV the most common STD in the world.

From the Center for Disease Control:
Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.

I will concede that while there are over a hundred types of HPV and not all of them mutate into cervical cancer and not every woman who has HPV will get cancer, consider this:

For 2004, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,520 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,900 women will die from this disease. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening. (from the CDC).

Part of our work, no doubt, is to educate the youth on moral behaviors and why God asks what he does from us. It is my humble opinion that we need to not just tell kids to say no, but why saying yes to chastity is about our own respect and respecting others. That it's about using ourselves in every way for God, not for our own passions or to feed others'.

But back to the post: There seems to be a whole lot of advertising about this and again, no mention, whatsoever about HPV being an STD. It comes across like "oh, you got a cold?" when in reality it's "Oh, you had sex, you contracted an STD, oh, and by the way, it's HPV which may turn into cervical cancer. Which is not good. Which could kill you." And the kids don't go online to find out the truth. They just hear or see the ads. That's all that they are gonna get unless we come up with something much better.

Methinks the backers of these ads are more like the Planned Parenthood types. They don't really want to stop teen sex. That'd blow their whole operation. No, just barely give them the information, treat them like hormonal animals, throw a buncha condoms at them as say Good Luck!

We can do so much better for them. And we have to.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wonderful Timewasters

I might have to start keeping a list over there on the side of wonderful timewasters.

Heres' one I just got from Youth Specialties:


Monday, December 11, 2006

Peter and Paul

This is part of the project I had to do for class. I used this for the Preparation or "calculated disengagement" before the actual lesson.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Saint Project Grade

I got an A-!!

Not sure why the "-" but she liked it.

She liked it!!

Thanks, everyone who helped me! Oh, Dennis, I used your idea of Trading Cards. She liked it!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Above Post"

Sorry, I've just been a little too busy doing my project.

In short, the "Ecclesial Method" is something that Msgr Kelly talks about in "The Mystery We Proclaim", a must read. While there is no official teaching that would dare to say you MUST teach this way, it is a reasonable, proven and practical way of catechesis.

The project looking before me is to teach the doctrine of St Paul and St Peter doing the first few steps, mostly Preparation and Explanation. (I've found that all five interweave to some degree, but it's a good idea to make sure they are all there).

By Preparation I mean "calculated disengagement" as Sister calls it. It's using the doctrine as background and finding a way to get the crowd to move from the world out there, their problems, their lives to some extent and shift towards an openness to hearing the Truth proclaimed.

Proclamation and Explanation are, I suppose a bit obvious. Proclaim the Truth, then explain the Truth.

Creativity is needed for both. Just an opening prayer will not suffice. Just talking out of the book won't get it done either. We know that as youth ministers. So it's a deliberateness to opening people up to hear the word of God or the doctrine and then giving a presentation that engages them on several levels, and even in considering different learning styles.

I must go now, and I'll get to the last two, Application and Celebration later. I've loads to do. Thanks for the input. Always good.

Looks like this blog is finally working, even to a small degree. It was meant to help each other with the work of ministry, and well, at least I've been getting some help! I believe others who come here will to. Can't wait to have the time to make it even better.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Peter and Paul

That's the "doctrine" I drew for class. I have to give a presentation next Saturday, teaching the doctrine of Peter and Paul. I can't remember the last time I even thought about these two!

I can only do the Preperation (involving a Sacred Space and "calculated disengagement" from the world) and the Explanation. This is tough because I'm used to doing all of the steps at once.

What steps you ask? That's right, I haven't posted about Ecclesial Methodology quite yet.

See above post...

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Fr Mike Scanlan, TOR!

Today is Fr. Mike's 75th Birthday!

I helped Shirley and Fr Mike's secretary a bit. There were tons and tons of people there-mostly students, a good number from the community and several staff and faculty. The Mayor was there and proclaimed tomorrow to be Fr Michael Scanlan day! Even the Bishop came. What a great party!

The two things I love most about Fr. Mike is that he said "yes" and that he loves the kids.

I was a student at FUS when Fr Mike was the President. He would often walk from the Friary across campus to the classrooms just so that he could see and be among the students. Once, when I was here, he flew back from a conference just to be at an all campus Mass with us-and he was returning to the conference, but he said "I had to be with the kids!". We whooped and hollered and cheered.

It inspires me a great deal that Fr. Mike said yes, even in the midst of tremendous odds. I think most people are familiar with the story of when Fr Mike became the President of Franciscan University and there was a "for sale" sign on St Thomas More Residence Hall. He insisted-much to the boards' disapproval-that the kids be mandated to be in households, that the sports program would be cut and that Mass had to be a priority as well. He was also largely responsible for ensuring that THIS Catholic College would indeed be CATHOLIC, in all the fullness and glory of the Church.

Today we have 8 Residence Halls, 3 daily (usually full) Masses, long lines for Confession, a 11 youth Conferences that reach 35,000 teenagers (he started the Conference office, where I work), Adult Summer Conferences that reaches over 2,000 each summer...oh, the list goes on and on and on.

Think what we can do if we say Yes and let God work through us! I don't think he ever envisioned or planned to become a world traveler and that the University would have grown to the extent that it did. But he said yes, and thousands upon thousands have been touched by God because he did not fear, he just said yes.

There are only two people that I admire to the point of gushing. I work with major names in the Catholic world and it doesn't faze me in the least. But it's Pope John Paul II and Fr Mike that simply bowl me over with their faithfulness and love.