Sunday, November 23, 2008
Today we, Catholics and those that follow a similar lectionary cycle, celebrate Christ the King Sunday. This feast is the end of each liturgical year. Next Sunday begins Advent and the anticipation for Christmas, and the new liturgical year.
With tonight's youth group taking a sort of "new year's" perspective and the shift in the liturgical cycle, I really feel the newness coming. December is fairly lightweight as the youth ministry bows to the pressures of other parish events, school vacations, and the festivities of the Holy Days and holidays.
I will escape to Cleveland for several days to the NCCYM and NCYAMA conferences. This will be a chance to get new ideas on youth and young adult ministry, search out new resources, and share stories (good and bad) with others in similar ministry positions. This will be my third NCCYM conference and I am looking forward to it.
I also am looking to the new year, calendar wise, as we will begin working on several major projects and continue developing others in greater detail. There will be our parish common conference. A parish youth retreat, a joint (4 or more parish) youth retreat, a girls retreat, a young adult retreat, a state Catholic Young Adult Conference, Sunday night youth groups, Bible studies, young adult nights, a trip to Honduras, and the initial plans for World Youth Day 2011.
I find though, that much like I do when the year changes on January 1, that my outward plans are tempered by a bit of introspection. Knowing what is all on my plate and recognizing the challenges that those events pose, I am trying to make some spiritual resolutions - prayer time, fun time, and just me time. Those ideas got pushed to the side, slowly but surely, over the past several weeks.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Not long after starting in youth ministry, I was reading an article in either Group Magazine or Youth Works magazine. I honestly don't know which of the two. I ran across this advice, "Show them the God of love and joy...'Relish it. Remember it.' They're going to need it someday when it's their turn to pray in the garden [of Gethsemane]." There are many tidbits of advice, theology, psychology, crowd control, and so on that I routinely remind myself of. This remains one of the most important in my mind and in practice.
Since reading that, we've had tragedies in the community, in individual lives, and I have seen how powerful those words remain.
Yes, they need to know the morality, the theology, the history. But they need to know how to not only survive the tragedies of life, but to come out of those Gardens of Gethsemane into the light of the Resurrection.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Routinely I am asked by the diocese to do presentations on young adults. Whether I use the "Theology of the iPod" concept or keep it simple and short, I always end up surprising some people.
What is interesting to me, is how much attention the young adults are getting in the world right now. And it is positive. Whatever your personal reaction to the election results are, the young adult vote and what it means became a force in American society that cannot be ignored.
The New York Times offers this article, Generation O. Much of what the article says about the young adult population is not new; the newness lies in those who are listening.
Young people have the wherewithal, spirit, and desire to change the world for the better. The question remains for those befuddled, frightened, or ambivalent, will you let them?
The question for churches becomes, will you let them?
After all, wasn't it a young man, oh about 33, who started this all?