Reflecting on Racism - The Sin and Injustice
I must admit that I still have variety of emotions to work through with regards to the current civil unrest brought to the nation's attention following the horrific death of George Floyd....
and reminding us that we still have a LOT of work to do achieve justice, equality, and and God's view for all humankind.
I created a page of resources for your use to discuss
with your ministry team members,
and/or with young adults.
For now, the page is featured on the home page, at:
Eventually, the page will be moved under our Pastoral Care page so that is can remain accessible for future use.:
Work for justice...
Consider “Jubilee” as we Venture out after the COVID-19 Quarantine
As the world prepared to move from the 1900s to the 2000s two decades ago, there was a good bit of fear due to the “Y2K” which was the very real problem of computer systems programmed with dates only up to December 31, 1999. This meant that all systems run on computers could shut down. Luckily, computer programmers got to work, and the “crash” was avoided.
The Catholic Church wanted to focus on more positive and uplifting thoughts. Pope John Paul II designated a process for prayer, learning and service leading up to 2000, with themes for the three years leading up to it:
1997 – Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today
1998 – The Holy Spirit
1999 – God the Father
Then the year 2000 was a Great Jubilee year, a Holy Year, which had the theme: OPEN WIDE THE DOOR TO CHRIST: Evangelize, Reconcile, Celebrate!
As a young adult at the time, it was typical to move around every couple of years, so preparations for these years was done while I worked in the Diocese of Cleveland Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry/CYO, then was carried out in my work for the Diocese of St. Augustine Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, then I celebrated the Jubilee year in the Archdiocese of Atlanta Office of Young Adult Ministry at a huge Eucharistic Congress which included tracks for children, middle school, high school, young adults, Spanish language, and general sessions, along with a large celebration of the Eucharist in the Georgia World Center (and event that has continued until this year, canceled by COVID-19, by the way.)
All of these dioceses (and numerous others, including the Diocese of Youngstown) added sessions during the preparation years and Jubilee year – more formation programs, more events, more parish missions, more special Masses, more prayer experiences, and more and more…
Ironically, for a Jubilee year, based on the celebrations of our Jewish ancestors, was to take a time-out – they said for the land to lie fallow…
Take time to break from busyness,
spend time in silence…
take time to reflect…
take time for prayer….
take time with the Scriptures,
In order to prepare ourselves for the jubilee and to open the door to the new millennium, all of need to take a break from the “busyness” of contemporary life. Our home, work, and church lives are incredibly busy – typically marked by endless activities that provide little time for personal reflection or spiritual growth. Use the Jubilee as an opportunity to slow down… (“A Parish Guide to the Jubilee Year: Open Wide the Doors to Christ – Evangelize, Reconcile, Celebrate!” © 1999, Unites States Catholic Conference, Inc., page 35.)
Part of me would like to apologize for all the extra plans that I was part of planning 20 years ago that made Church busier and placed more expectations on the faithful to do more and more…. I was naïve and caught up in the excitement. There were many amazing programs and experiences, but it really did ramp up Church activities that never really slowed down.
I am grateful that during this horrible pandemic, I have finally taken to heart some of the words I heard during the preparations for the Great Jubilee 2000… and maybe I can help integrate them into 2020 vision (pun intended).
As the Jubilee focused on the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd Millennium…. We can now take time to transition from the hectic nature of pre-COVID-19 lifestyles to choosing to slow down a little post-pandemic….
Psalm 37 verse 7 tells us to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 11, verse 28: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
And as Jesus spent time with Martha and Mary, in Luke, chapter 10:
As they continued their journey, he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
I can easily find myself acting like Mary – focused on tasks that I perceive need to be done, but Jesus reminds us that spending time with him is the better part…. Tasks are important yet growing in faith is more so!
Tara Brach, a psychologist in New Jersey said: “Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit.”
So, how might we utilize some of the tools from the Holy Year of decades ago now?
The parish Guide for the Jubilee Year 2000 from which I quoted above, lists 9 Ways to Live Jubilee:
1. Pray daily – personal, Scripture, meditation, spiritual reading, and so on.
2. Practice forgiveness - examine your conscience and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we are permitted again… also consider the people with whom you may need to reconcile relationship.
3. Celebrate the Eucharist – once the Churches open again, go when you can, but pray Spiritual Communion and really be attentive during Virtual Mass…. Actively participate!
4. Live a just life – are you familiar with our Catholic Social Teachings? If not, learn more about how we are called to live our faith in the world by how we treat other people, civic life, and the environment.
5. Help the poor – practice charitable acts as possible and work for community-based solutions for the causes of poverty and injustice.
6. Be a Domestic Church – we have had weeks now to work on Being Church at home… do not lose the good things that have come of that! Keep working on your family prayer and kindness towards each other!
7. Share faith – yes, we are called to Evangelize… The Psalmist proclaims (39:7), “My hope is in you (Lord),” and then we read in the book of Peter (3:15), “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” So, how has God been a source of hope for you? What is an important image of God for you and why? How have we seen God at work in our own lives? Share these insights with others, and you are evangelizing!
8. Join a small Christian community – this is perfect virtually and as we move into our limits of groups of 10, or even when we move to 20 or 50, that we can meet in small groups for faith sharing, Bible studies, discussion groups.
9. Know your faith – respond to the call to continue learning about our Triune God, our Church, our sacred Scripture, our Tradition, our Rituals, etc. Read, participate in webinars, take classes, and so on.
And I will add a 10th Way to live Jubilee now….
The 4 Major Basilicas around Rome - St. John Lateran, St. Peter's Basilica, Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore each have a ‘Holy Door” that is locked most of the time, but opened for special occasions like the Jubilee year… There are special prayer services for when the Holy Door is opened and then when it is locked again… while it is open, faithful make pilgrimages to walk through while praying.
During the year 2000, every diocesan Cathedral and other designated Churches dedicated special doors for local pilgrimage.
While for different reasons, all our Churches had their doors locked for the safety of the community during the pandemic, but soon they will re-open… and I’d invite you to treat the door you enter as a Holy Door… go slowly and prayerfully, thanking God for his presence outside and inside the Church building, outside and inside our hearts… make being back in a Church for Mass or Reconciliation or prayer time a special moment of Jubilee!
So, as many people keep saying they are eager to get back to normal, I want to encourage you to avoid the pre-pandemic normal… do not allow your calendar to become packed full again…. Parents, this is a chance to reconsider running your kids in a million directions for sports, dance, martial arts, etc. or even just over-scheduling yourself.
Ease back into life, reflect on what is most important to you and take the keys from the 2000 Great Jubilee to make a spiritual pilgrimage to a time of slowing down, focusing on Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father as to Open Wide the Doors of our faith… And may the fruits of the Spirit become abundant in our lives as a result:
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” (Galatians 5:22).
Notes from the
on Thursday, May 7, 2020
Blessings, Self-Care and Summer
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God's people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
Mary all who seek your help
experience your unfailing protection.
Participants were invited to introduce themselves and share a blessing experienced since the March 17th shut down in Ohio.
Move/improved prayer time
technology working at home!
Family time (spouse, kids, grandkids)
seeing parishioners checking in on each other
Help at home
helping others/working with food cupboard
Calling parishioners has helped make great connections
As a reminder that we have to take time to take care of ourselves in order to be able to serve others. Stephen Covey’s 7th Habit of Highly Effective people is to “Sharpen the Saw” where we have to schedule time for our physical, emotional/mental and spiritual well-being. We divided into breakout rooms to discuss how we are doing so. As re-grouped and shared the following insights:
Need to work on more
walking – indoors and outside
Getting up from the computer periodically
stop work at 4:00 p.m.
Video chats with family/friends
old fashioned phone calls
Reading, including spiritual books
praying as a household
going in to the office, but shorter hours
Set an alarm every two hours to get up and move
new prayer styles
Cindee referred to organizations that she listed in yesterday’s Youth Ministers Update that had canceled, postponed or rescheduled some summer events (see below). Most are cancelled for 2020, but some have only gone through June so far.
The unknown is difficult. Right now, we only have mandates through May, wherein we should not be calling people out of their homes unnecessarily. The limits of ten people, with masks and six-feet distancing once we can gather also can be challenging, but some things can continue to be done virtually, by mail, and the other creative ways you have used for two months now…. Once the Ohio dioceses share the guidelines for resuming Mass and Liturgy, we will need to follow up similar guidelines for other pastoral activities as well.
Post-meeting note: since there was a question about planning for June,Cindee did email Msgr. Zuraw that question. He replied,
“I would advise against this at this time.”
Also, once Church buildings do open, be sure to talk with the pastor/administrator/leader to inquire about hosting prayer services for/with teens and/or their families following the guidelines. Highlight various aspects of your Church as appropriate (statues of saints or stained glass windows as a focus for prayer)
Do not let fear rule, Keep hope and “Be Not Afraid”
but keep in mind our responsibilities should we schedule something at which an outbreak happens…. We don’t want to put our teens (or the households to which they return) in harms way.
KEEP UP THE CREATIVITY and doing what you can to support the teens and their families. And you for all you do!
Mollie: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
Joe: Can You Drink the Cup?: Henri JM Nouwen
Article to which was referred regarding U.S. bishops’ guidelines for re-opening Churches:
Participants: Bob Barto (Holy Trinity East Liverpool), Marcy Fessler (St. Patrick Youngstown), Joe Frangos (St. Paul North Canton and Little Flower Middlebranch), Mollie Kulig (St. Peter and St. John Canton), Cara Lipinski (St. Joseph Massillon), Shannon Pecchia (St. Angela Merici), Terry Sibert (St. Joan of Arc Canton), Diane Tarka (St. John Summitville), and Cindee Case (Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry), and late Anne Weeks (Holy Spirit). Asher Frangos also joined us a few times (so glad to see him doing well!)
- Updates from some of the organizations used by parishes in our diocese:
> Catholic Heart Work Camps
All 2020 summer camps have been canceled.
> CMD Young Neighbors in Action and CMD Just 5 Days
All 2020 summer camps have been canceled.
However, The Center for Ministry Development is planning to provide resources for parishes and Catholic High Schools to serve in your community this summer. We are preparing for a multi-day national event in late July or early August that will include live streaming for music, prayer, and faith sharing as a send-off and wrap-up for service in your local community.
> ND Vision at Notre Dame
Canceled for summer 2020
> One Bread, One Cup
CANCELED the summer conferences for 2020 (May 1 announcement)
> Steubenville Youth Conferences
As of May 5th, they have still only canceled/rescheduled June dates, they still have July dates posted... but check with them if the parents/teens of your group do not yet feel confident about going, to inquire about cancellation policies.
What to Say to Young People During COVID-19: Part 1
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.