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, March 27, 2007

Bishops Give The Smack Down (And They All Said YEAHHH!!)

Being a catechetics student under Sister Johanna is a real delight. This woman, as I've shared before knows the "movers and slayers" of our national catechesis-and is rightfully incensed by them. Moran and Groome are two that she has analyzed and shreds their theory on "process" over content. That is, how people reach the faith and honoring whatever conclusion comes to them from that process, rather than taking the truth of the faith, the content, and catechizing in such a way to effect conversion. (REAL conversion). I mean, her doctoral dissertation is gonna knock them outta the ball park.

So when this article came up, I noted it, but I don't think I understood it's real impact. I was not aware of who Maguire was, but she said he's one of the usual suspects along with Curran and a few others (I don't have my notes with me-Em? help?).

Folks, this is HUGE. This guy has the guts to send this tripe to the Bishops and expects for it to go through??? But this tells you how LAX the system has been! That he really believes that in sending this to them it will change anything.

I know, we're not used to the USCCB layin' the smack down, but with Bishop Lori as chairman (who says he "grew up"with Sister, is a usual at the Bosco Conference and loves the University. He has a real drive and love for the Church and for real catechesis. Stick with him, he'll take you great places!) we can know that at least THIS committee is on the right track.

(PS Bishop Vigneron is also on the Commitee and has been a presenter for our Applied Biblical Studies Conference)

Keep an eye on his story.

And for the love of God, avoid anything by Groome. And Moran. And Jane Reagan. (And, frankly Bill Huebsch while I'm at it)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Visual Profile

This was totally cool: Better than any of the other tests!

What is your visual profile?



Rome was awesome!!

The travel there and the travel back were insane, but being in Rome was extraordinary.

My friend and I also took a side trip to Assisi which was probably the highlight. That and getting to be at John Paul II's tomb.

I'll blog more on it later, but suffice it to say that all in all, travels to and there included it was a wonderful and amazing trip.


Thursday, March 15, 2007


I went to the interview, it's under my belt! I'm not so sure how I did, but I feel good about it. I'm glad that I have it under my belt and know a little bit about what to expect from future interviews. The parish was nice, the pastor was nice and things seem to be good overall. Of course, we'll see how they go. Thank you for your prayers everyone. I really appreciate all of them, I know that I was lifted up in prayer and I am so blessed because of that.

Jen's been having a blast in Rome, really enjoying herself too much, and my spring break's been delightful. I went on a confirmation retreat with 85 7th graders and a handful of high schoolers (the Diocese of Arlington confirms in the 8th grade) and it was great. I've done these retreats for a long time and it's been so amazing to be God's instrument for all of these years (Since I was 13) and it was definetely a good last retreat for me. (Pretty much, it's going to be a little nerdy to go to another parish's confirmation retreat if you're a YM somewhere else. I can see myself coming up to prepare lunch or something, but not leading it as a small group leader). Seeing all of the kids that I've watched for years grow up and give some amazing talks was amazing, I got to spend time with three amazing people I worked with two summers ago but most of all, planting those seeds were amazing. The retreat was good, the kids really got it and it was leaps and bounds better than one of the last groups who we retreated. It's so great to know that Christ's love is shining so brightly in this way. Everyone should check out "Who You Are Makes a Difference" (type it into a search engine. Learn it, love it and live it), we make blue ribbons and hand them out to the kids..maybe something you want to try.

I had a great meeting with the youth minister from my home parish Toni and it was utterly refreshing. It's always so nice to bounce around ideas and to hear people's support of me going into ministry. Breakfast with her was so nice and really helped us to talk about a lot of ideas for stuff at my home parish. This break has been great! Thanks again for the prayers!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tomorrow's the day

Tomorrow's my big interview. I'm a little scared, but definetely excited. So many people are praying for me and for God's will in my life. I just got off of the phone with the youth minister there, it was very fruitful and gave me some ideas about where to go in the interview and what his Youth ministry is like. Seems interesting and I'm very excited. Please keep me in your prayers for tomorrow. I really need them, so that I might serve Him in the best way. The youth of the Church deserve it :). I'm open to any last minute suggestions about questions to ask. Thanks!

In Him through her,
Em :)

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

And, She's Off!

I'm off to Rome today!! Going for 8 days and plan to NOT stay on a diet, drink any wine I want and see as much as possible! I can't wait.

Enjoy Em while I'm gone. She's so delightful. And Em, we're all praying for your interview!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Test post

This is a test post to see if I can post under my own name now.


And so, the journey begins

Hello Friends! I'm Em and I'm going to be posting for Jen while she travels to Rome. I hope that I can be as interesting as she is.

As for a little bit about me. I met Jen for real in class this semester, before I just saw her in passing in the halls. As I'm sure you can tell from previous posts, we are in Catechetical Methods together and it has been sheer joy holding down the youth ministry end of catechesis in a class full of future high school teachers. Being able to work with Jen and bounce ideas around has been amazing. I'm currently studying to get my MA in Theology with a specialization in Catechetics and I will be done in August. From that point on I hope fulfill the lofty call that He has given me to be a youth minister for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. I grew up in the Diocese and continue to be in love with it's sheer orthodoxy and love of the truth.

Jen's asked me to post while she's away, however, you'll see me when she's back as well. Her vision to get a network of YM's going is sheer brilliance and she has asked me to be the new YM and post my experiences and adventures in YM here. I hope that I can bring some fresh ideas to the table and that I am able to learn a lot from this site.

And so, my journey of life and love for Him, begins here. I'm going home for spring break in a few days and I am so nervous. I have been asked to interview for youth ministry position in Stafford, Va (great location to my parents house, where I will be starting off). I'm scared, but excited. I'm not fearful, but instead scared. It's that good scared where you know that you can not do anything with Him and you being a complete and utter servant to Him. It is this that brings you to your knees every night. Teens souls are going to depend on me (not all on me) and my goal's to get them to Heaven. How awesome and scary is that? I know there are many seasoned YM vets, who read this. Do you have any suggestions? Any MUST ask questions you care to share? I'm eager to share this journey with all of you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Youth Minister Blogging!!

As some of you know, I have been hoping to get some active youth ministers on board to start blogging. It is with great joy and anticipation that I introduce Em!

Em is just beginning her career in youth ministry. What I love about her is that she is doing it because she loves youth, not just because hey, what else ya gonna do with that theology degree? No, she really has a heart for youth-and they for her.

She is gregarious, charming, and very loving. She has an inordinate love of cows and has never heard the song "I'm Proud To Be An American" even though she grew up barely a 1/2 hour from the Nation's capital. Not shy, she is also very real about life and is a well grounded woman. She loves Jesus Christ with all of her heard and is awed by the chance to share that love with others.

Oh, and PS til we figure out how to actually add her with her own name, the post below really is from her. Not me, TCYM Lounge.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our new blogger!!


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Youth Masses part 858673086

I keep bringing this up because I'm still working through it. And I LOVE the comments that come, it really ends up being a great discussion. REALLY. Even those I've disagreed with, I've always learned something. I'm all about intellectual honesty. ok, usually...!

So we were in class last Th and D asks the magic question to Sister: What do you think of "Teen Masses".

Now, a little context for "D". D is a convert from the Protestant faith, where he had a great deal of the Christian Praise and Worship. He was nervous because he sees the depth and beauty that the Church has to offer and does not want to short change the youth.

I was nervous for Sisters' response, because I was sure that we were going to clash on it. I mean, she has validated everything I've thought so far, but I really really thought she was going to look askance on the whole P&W at Mass thing.

I was delightfully surprised. She was quite fine with it. "D" was surprised too, I think. She did say that the music needs to be appropriate to the Liturgy. The words and such need to match what is going on in the Mass.

I was psyched!!! If Sister thinks it's ok, then seriously folks: It's fine. She is a stickler about making sure people receive the fullness of the faith. And to be sure even youth from age 0-100 have a right to the Truth.

So it made me think: We need both. We need praise and worship because we are called to praise the Lord. All throughout the Psalms are praises to the Lord God Almighty. We European types do that rather stifffly, but not the Psalmist! He was dancin' and playin' all kinds of instruments! I know, I know inculteration and all that. But the praise, well led, leads to a deep contemplation we call "worship". A yearning, a groaning of the Spirit.

We also need the high beauty of the hymns and the gorgeous pipe organ music. I am NOT opposed to making sure the kids have a healthy dose of it. However, it is like feeding steak to kids. You can give them the essence of the meat, but in a way that is digestable. Praise and Worship in it's own is an excellent form of prayer in itself, and it is a digistable way to pray.

And yet we need the solemn hymns and the gorgeous poetry of those songs. We need both, and I believe one is not better than the other, but maybe even complementary.



Yes, I'm taking myself on a vacation. As you all know, working for the Church rarely affords you the cash to do a major trip like this. AND we tend to work ourselves to the bone and never take a retreat or time off or even comp time.

Am I talkin' to the right crowd??

All of the above is me. While I miss ministry so very very much, there is a real freedom in a 8-5 job (with hour lunch breaks!!). I've saved a little nest egg and am going to go blow it!

PS If you ever travel to Italy and want to stay in a convent or monastery, use They are not a travel agent, but a little business that helps travelers find places to stay in monasterys (let me tell you how much i've mispelled that word!). I found a great place about 5 miles outside of the Vatican for only $30 a night! You already know how much I enjoy spending money *ack!*.

So, blogging will be sparse. I may ask someone to fill in for me.

Actually, I'm looking for someone who has been in youth ministry a long time to join the club. If you are interested, shoot me an email at


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Friday, March 02, 2007

Somebody Stop Her!

So each Friday the three execs of the Outreach office go to the Chapel and pray for the staff and for the Summer Conferences. It's really a great thing.

If you're not exhausted.

I was praising when I heard myself say "praise to you guys". Thought "just stick to tongues, jen. less embarrassing, really".