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, February 27, 2007

So Much To Say AGAIN!

Remember that Dave Matthew's Song?

There has been so much going on, so much info I've come across and no time to blog! I have to work to support this habit, afterall!!

Gone to the Amazing Grace Conference in Detroit, to celebrate 4o years of the Charismatic Renewal
Bought a computer (which means more regular updates yeah!!)
Bought a plane ticket to Rome
Found a monastery to stay in in Rome for $30 a night
Found a buncha articles on the Pope and Sin. That is, him reminding us to rid it from our lives.
Found a book on Beauty that is a MUST read
Found a book on youth and legal issues that would be good to keep around
Talked to Fr Mike about the Renewal, which is always fun
Talked to some of the TOR Sisters about what is next with our generation and the Renewal, totally cool.
Perused a great deal of Catherine of Siena Institutes' blog-and fellow disciple and minister Keith Strohm's blog who also posts on Siena's blog.
Started a new project for class
(PS Got an A- on the last one! woot woot!!)
And started a new diet that is really really great.

So, I'm whipped.

But when that new toy comes, I'll have much to share!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If Only...

Give Confession top priority, Pope asks priests
Vatican, Feb. 19, 2007 (

At a February 19 meeting with confessors, Pope Benedict XVI remarked on how the "limitless renovating power of divine love" is realized in the sacrament of Penance. The Holy Father was speaking to the father-confessors of the Roman basilica and the officials of the Apostolic Penitentiary, led by Cardinal James Stafford. He told them that the priest, as confessor, is an "active instrument of divine mercy."The task of the confessor, the Pope said, is to help the penitent "recognize the gravity of sin," and resolve to avoid sin in the future, while provide "the comfort and consolation of Christ.""How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long!" the Pope said. (emp added)

He encouraged priests to help the faithful use the sacrament properly. To do so, he said, confessors must learn as much as possible about the background of their people, the problems they face, and the spiritual problems they encounter. Above all, the Pope continued, "We cannot preach forgiveness and reconciliation to others if we do not experience these things personally." He encouraged confessors to make frequent use of the sacrament themselves, so that they too have a fuller appreciation for the forgiveness offered by Christ through his priestly ministers.The sacrament of Penance, the Pontiff concluded, "is a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority."

If only Anna Nicole and Britney had this in their lives.
As Sister says "Do Good Work".

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stations of the Cross

Part of formation demands that you observe the seasons of the Church and if you are leading others, you would do well for their soul if you assist in their observation of the Church seasons as well.

But I''m sure you already knew that.

There are lots of things to do with Lent. One that I've done is Stations of the Cross, so here are a few ideas on how to do them:

1. Scan pictures into your laptop and do a power point. Play music in the background for a prayer experience. You could use just pictures or pictures followed by a short meditation, read or on the power point.

2. Play music in the background-nice, soft, reflective music and have them draw the stations. I would give them bibles so that they can thumb through or use a book of stations for ideas

3. One year my crew, who many were in the drama club, decided to act out the stations for the parish. We put up a sheet, and the actors would post in a scene and we'd shine a big light from behind them so that a shadow appeared to the congregation on the sheet. We would click the light on and off in between stations and had a reader give a meditation during each station. The kids wrote it, prepared it, directed it, and got quite into it. The kid who played Jesus was particularly affected as he began to reflect on what it must have been like for the Man he was portraying.

Here are some resources for the Stations. BTW, the Stations are not a liturgical event, they are a prayer, so don't get all caught up in doing the "right" stations. Like the Rosary, there are various ways to pray the stations. We have our usual 14, but there are many out there that use other images and scriptures, some starting with the Last Supper.

Stations By Newman but please use these carefully. Newman is wordy. And deep. Might be best for personal reflection.
Mary's Way of the Cross. Seen from Mary's perspective.
John Paul II's Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross for Young Christians (Generally I'm wary of 23rd Publications, but if I believe this is a pretty good book for teenagers)
Variety from Creative Communications Sister said sometimes you need to peruse Creative Communications like you do 23rd Pub, but she did like some of their Lenten materials. So does Amy Welborn, apparently. So, there's two thumbs up there.
Speaking of Amy, I'm always trying to send folks over to her. Her stuff is outstanding.

Please share your ideas with the rest of us. Because really, isn't youth ministry really about taking each others' ideas? !!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Lent: Don't Miss This Opportunity!

Do you have a plan for Lent?

I just finished my project and found myself connecting it to Lent.

The assignment was to teach a doctrine using the Rites of the Church. This is very important because everything we teach needs to be centered on our Liturgy. If the center of our faith is the Eucharist, we should always be pointing to those rites, and the sacramental rites.

I chose the doctrine of Eternal Life and used rites from the funeral Mass, Baptism, Penance andthe preface to the Eucharistic prayer for the 1st Sunday of Lent. The objective was to teach the reality of Eternal life and that what we do in life determine that reality, with the grace of God and the sacraments, naturally.

My proclamation was "What we do in life echoes in eternity" and yes, I used the film Gladiator as well.

With Lent approaching I included a project to challenge the kids to think about what they are doing. Middle AND high school students are old enough to do more than "give up candy". I made a picture of a grave marker. On it they would put their name, qualities people would say about them at their death and then qualities they WANT to be said about them when they die. On the flip side they would put their lenten resolutions that would get them in the habit of achieving those qualities. I made it a "lift ticket", complete with wickets. You could either use name tags or glue the two pieces of paper over a wicket.

If I have the chance I'll post the whole lesson.

In any regard, be sure that you are preparing your students to enter into Lent. This is a marvelous opportunity to assist in the formation of your kids and get them thinking about putting to death those things that do not assist them in the goal of heaven and start thinking about ways of living holy lives to get to heaven.

What are you doing? Share with the class!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chocolate, Not Contraception

I've heard of the practice at college campuses where they give out condoms with chocolate during Valentines day.

A. What a stupid use of a lovely day
B. What a tragic use for chocolate.

Having said that, I saw over at Dom's site this group that is spreadin' fred about the realities and lies of contraception, and handing out chocolates of their own:

"The Chocolate bars were wrapped in flyers with a message about the possible harms of contraception on relationships, and were an analogy about how "without contraception, you can get so much more" in comparison to the small Hershey's kisses that the "Condom and a Kiss" campaign normally hands out...

Our Mission is to empower college students to be actively involved in educating their peers through public awareness campaigns and discussion on the physcial, social, economical, and other affects of hormonal birth control and other population control methods. Simply put, we want our generation to know the truth about sex drugs and make smart choices from that knowledge."

See more of their extraordinary selves at:

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Baby Got Book

This is so ...umm...hey, you gotta laugh at it.

I'm outta here-going to the Amazing Grace Conference. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Video Clip Ideas

Here is a good place to go for clips from movies to use in your lessons. It is from "The Source for Youth Ministry" website. They are not Catholic, but many of their clips won't be problematic. Someone has spent a lot of time compiling some great ideas.

New Project

You knew I would beg your assistance again. I'm still in class!!

So, yes, I have another project due: Be creative in coming up with a way to teach a doctrine using the Rites. I have chosen Death.

Ok, so death isn't a "doctrine" per se. I need to think more about that. But purgatory is. Life after death is. Heaven and hell are.

We got talking in class a couple of times about how well Catholic die. I have to admit that the funeral Masses are extraordinary. We start with the person's baptism, have Communion and then commit them to the earth. Birth-Nourishment-Death. I don't know if you realize this, but the Mass doesn't end until the commitment at the grave site. Well, there are the concluding rites at the end of the in-Church part, but it continues at the grave.

I was going to do virtues because I think the virtues are a very lost concept for today's world. There is no comprehension of "virtues". Doing what feels right to you has become the ultimate. It is so ingrained in us. However, I was finding it difficult to come up with a creative way to teach the Cardinal Virtues and the Theological Virtues, so unless one of you have a great idea, I'm going back to "death".

How have you handled death with the teens? Has it been after a tragedy? Have you thought about teaching it independantly of a highly charged emotional environment? Have you given thought to prepping the kids in the event of a death? Even their own?

How do you get the point across? How would you have a youth group on death? Or a religion class on death?


Happy St Cyril and Methodius Day!

I'm serious!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Young Apostles Needed!!

You are going to want your kids, esp your boys to be involved in this:

Greetings in Christ!

I hope all is well. I am sending this letter to ask your help in recruiting for the Young Apostles program for the upcoming summer. We are below average on applicants overall and way below on young men. If you know a teen who is ready to be trained in their faith and take it to the next level, please encourage them to apply online . The Young Apostles program exists to further the training in both Christian leadership and evangelization for today's Catholic teens. Thanks for your help and please pray for our ongoing efforts.

Peace and blessings.

John K. Beaulieu
Director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach
Franciscan University of Steubenville
1235 University Blvd.
Steubenville, OH 43952
(740) 284-5873

Spending Cash

If I spend over $40 I have heart failure. I'm not kidding. I'm the kind of person who signs up for Consumer Reports and figures out exactly which gizmo is right for my money.

So, when I spend $700 on a plane ticket and $1500 on a lap top in one month, you can bet I'm hyperventalating.

Can someone please get me a paper bag?? Someone?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI To Youth (World Youth Day)

Pope Benedict speaks to the youth on the occasion of World Youth Day 2007, Palm Sunday:
Everybody feels the longing to love and to be loved. Yet, how difficult it is to love, and how many mistakes and failures have to be reckoned with in love! There are those who even come to doubt that love is possible. But if emotional delusions or lack of affection can cause us to think that love is utopian, an impossible dream, should we then become resigned? No! Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you - you who are the future and hope of humanity-, trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another.
My dear young friends, I want to invite you to “dare to love”. Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death forever through love (cf Rev 5:13). Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilisations.

It's a short but powerful read. Take it to your Religious Ed classes and read it for a prayer or to Youth Group or whatever you are doing with the kids. He is so accessable to read and understand and this letter is practical as it is beautiful.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Oh, yeah, Baby!

One more day!!


Monday, February 05, 2007

Virtual Youth Ministry

Now here is something that is quite interesting.

The Sion Community in London, England do a "Virtual Vigil" It is an online presence for several days in a row. You can chat live, get prayers, do evening prayer, be part of an interactive drama, talk in their forums...they have a whole bunch of stuff going on.

Make sure to visit them in the next few days. The Virtual Vigil has them live for about 5 days. I'm guessing because of the cost and energy they can't maintain that sort of presence every day, but it's an outreach using the medium of the internet.

The Sion Community is a group who do evangelization. They have a community and do various kinds of evangelization, one of which is youth ministry. Go check out the Sion Community website as well.

Go say hello and introduce yourselves. Or send your kids over there. It's what they are there for!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Online Presence: Good Thing Or Not?

A reader asked me to ask ya'll what you thought of starting a blog with his group. I began thinking about some of the other ways that are available to us online-myspace, facebook, iming, gmail, etc.

Are there things to be wary of? Have you done these things with your kids? What are some of the benefits? What are some of the pitfalls?

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