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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Parish Politics

When I first started in youth ministry, I naively said "I don't believe in parish politics". Now I say "I don't like parish politics".

I think dealing with others is one of the most frustrating aspects of ministry, ironically. As John Beaulieu said to me the other day "the Church would be great if not for it's sinners".

Politics amongst the staff and in the parish are a reality. It's why I started this blog, in a way, to deal with the issues that would often arise. There are parents who want things a certain way, volunteers who have done it this way for 20 years, a pastor who has way to much on his plate, but may still feel the need to tell you how to do your job, a liturgist who is God (no, really!!) and the secretary who, lets face it, you had better be always on her best side.

Leadership Journal has a good but short article on politics.
I think one of the things they are dead on is that our lives must be above reproach. We are watched at all times. Even when we want to gossip or agree with something that may be against the pastor we have to hold our tongues.

I have known many youth ministers who have inadverdently shot themselves in the proverbial foot because they became to enmeshed in the politics. You have to hold your tongue. Find a place outside the parish to relax and deal with the pressure. Pray like mad. Choose right. Read the article.


Boulder High School

This would be one excellent reason why you have to teach sex and marriage very very well.

Labels: ,


I've decided to diminish the picture because folks tell me the movie STANK.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The "Next Generation" Of Charismatics

I grew up in the Charismatic Renewal. My parents had us kids "baptized in the Holy Spirit" when I was only 7 years old and we were a part of an ecumenical charismatic prayers group.

The short of the history is that the Holy Spirit has been around since day 1...duh. And we know that Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to lead an guide the Church and that there are many gifts-as well as fruits-associated with the Renewal. In the late 60's Patti Mansfield, then a student at Dusquene University, said yes to God and he poured out his spirit on her and Dave Mangan and this was the beginning of a renewal within the Church that has transformed the Church and the lives of it's members.

Fr John commented to me that when the Renewal began, those involved had grown up in a Church that was secure in its identity and that the focus of the renewal was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This was very good and very needed, as it responded to what Vatican II was challenging the lay to do: Lay hold of your baptism and put it to use. (short, very short abbreviated version there)

My generation, the GenXers and GenY have not grown up in a Church secure in it's identity. Our catechesis has been hijacked and priests and bishops and teachers have felt free to dissent openly with the Church and teach her members all sorts of things that are not and have not led people to freedom in Christ.

So we tend to find our security in the teachings and laws of the Church and want to be sure that everything that we do and say is exactly in line with the Church. Not many of our generation have found a home in the Church, but those of who seek really seek hard for the teachings of the Church and seek obedience in Her arms.

I think there is a need to bring a theological depth and understanding to the renewal, as well as take the renewal and the charisms to a new depth. I think that the implications of this means that we take this Holy Spirit and all his gifts and use them to renew, evangelize and catechize the Church whether we do this in a parish and ministerial setting or we are lawyers, secretarys, office workers working in the world.

I'm giving a workshop at the Charismatic Conference (at Franciscan University) that I am both excited for and rather nervous for. I want to bring together this Next Generation and have a forum in which to challenge others to keep taking it forward and explore new ways in which the Holy Spirit wants us to bring Christ to the world.

Prayers would most certainly be appreciated. Hey, come! It will be well worth your while.

I am not knocking this, to be sure. But I think we

Labels: , ,

The Ecclesial Method: A Proven Plan for Catechesis

As youth ministers, it is part of our responsibility to do Catechesis. It is one of the 8 components (Renewing the Vision) and in all reality, we cannot inform our students that we are trying to evangelize without the content that catechesis provides.

In his book "The Mystery We Proclaim" (see book on left side) Monsignor Kevane gives us a definition "Catechesis is the transmission of God's word to invite people to personal faith".

Wow, there is so much in this book I'm having a hard time keeping this short


Why is catechesis so important? Why this series on the Ecclesial Method? If you are 40 and under you have to realize how crummy your own religious education was growing up. It's a joke that most of us make, but what is not funny is the reality that there was a deliberate effort to undermine the transmission of the faith to thousands, even millions of us growing up. So, we have been left with an anemic faith and an "American Catholicism" that thinks it is independant from Rome. ""Well the Church says...but I think/believe/feel".

It is important because it reminds us that we can have security that it is God who initiates. It is God who comes after us crazy, stubborn sinners. It bonds us to the Church and when we teach, we must be faithful to the Church and her teachings. It is not in our "right" to decide what is right and what is wrong. If you remember, that's how Adam and Eve got into trouble.

No, our choice is to choose the Truth and we cannot take that away from the students we work with. It is not our place to decide what is true and teach it. It is only our place to present the Church's teaching and let them choose it. It just may be a wonderful coincidence that we are able to give testimony to the teachings of the Church.

The goals, as Kevane lays out are easy to remember: 5 C's: Conversion, Community, Content, Contemplation and Commitment.

Conversion: This would be the main goal, and as we know it is a life long process.
Community: "...has the responsibility of welcoming them into an environment where they can live as fully s possibly what they have learned" (Pope John Paul II)
Content: Two words: Be Faithful. Seriously. Read above paragraph
Contemplation: Kevane teaches us that "Awakening those who participate in our programs to the Transcendent as a lived experience must be a goal...While liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life, the quality of our participation in and profit from its celebration is linked to the depth of our prayer life". There is the learning, then there is the praying of it.
Commitment: And then there is the living of it.

In the days ahead, Emily and I hope to pass along to you not only the theory known as the Ecclesial Method, but also many practical tips of how to put these parts into your work.

What we cannot loose is that we are fortunate to be called to serve God and his young people. With this call comes a responsibility that we can not escape. Souls are in our hands and we have to do all we can to invite them and get them to heaven.

Do good work!!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fr. John Gordon

This afternoon we found out that Fr John Gordon has been recalled back to his diocese, the Archdiocese of Newark by Archbishop Myers.

Fr. John has been at the University serving as the Director of the Pre-Theologate program, and is a speaker at many of our Youth Conferences as well as the Priests/Deacon/Seminarians conference and Charismatic Conference.

On campus, he is known as "that really Charismatic priest" and indeed he is. He has been involved in the Renewal for years and brings that into his ministry as priest. His preaching is always firey and direct and he tells it like it is.

He's also known to be one of the most gracious, giving, self-effacing ministers. As John Beaulieu says of him "He always has time" and the students know him to be available and practical in his advice, not to mention great to pray with.

On a personal level, I am extremely sad and disappointed. Fr John has been someone I've come to rely on and love bouncing ideas off of-as well as getting my wit handed to me on a platter as he outdoes me in friendly barbs. Not once I've walked into Mass late and up there on the alter is Fr John. He catches my eye then looks at his watch, tries not to grin and then shakes his head. I have gone to him for prayer, for very personal difficulties and direction, especially when it comes to the Charismatic Renewal and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I know that this is not what he expected either, but in true form, he will obey and return to Newark.

I hope they know what a gift they have in him.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Catechesis Methods

As some of you may know from reading past posts, I am of the mind that Youth Ministry HAS to be all about the 8 Components. At one time I had a serious on the 8 Components and was discussing each of them-then I lost some of the blog and it got wiped out.

I'd like to return to that one day, but for today, I'm going to share about Catechesis.

What? I don't do that in youth group! you might have just said. ACKKK! If you don't think you are doing catechesis or that it's not "part of your job" then honey, you are dead wrong.

Whether or not you have Religious Education or Confirmation prep as part of your job responsibilities you are absolutely responsible to pass on the faith to others. You don't know how?

Let me share about it with you!

It is vital that you find a way to actually teach kids the faith. The days of youth group on Sunday nights just talking about feelings or favorite movies has to go. Comprshensive youth ministry has many facets, many ways of passing on the faith. Direct teaching of the faith is inherent in your work.

I had the privilage of teaching a 9th grade class one year. I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend that if you aren't in charge of the Religious Education that you teach a class:
1. It will get you "in" good with the Religious Education folks (who says RelEd and Youth Ministers don't get along?!?!)
2. You get to know the kids, their lives, their families, their have a waiting audience to minister to.

In the next few posts, I hope to talk more about Catechesis. I've learned some great things this past year and even though I'm a veteran in youth ministry and I had already read a lot of the texts I learned things that will sharpen my skills and make me a more effective youth minister and so I'm sharing these things with you, that you can serve God and his youth even better!

Blessings! Know that you are often in my prayers. I may not always know you by name, but the work you do needs protection and prayer. While I can't be directly in ministry right now, I pray daily for those of you on the front lines. Be strong and take heart!!


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Prayer for Paul, Again

Hi All
Please say a prayer for my brother, Paul. He's the eye doctor who recently went to Ghana to do medical mission work.

He has a pretty big test today for opthomology. He flew to Florida yesterday and is taking the test down there. This comes right on the heels of their move to a new home last weekend-and the usual craziness that comes with having three kids!

So, if you would, lift him up in prayer that the Lord would grant him peace, clarity of mind, and joy in the midst of all that is coming his way.