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.
Here is a random list of ideas I brainstormed of ways to help you as a Coordinator of Youth Ministry to spend your time NOT purchasing food, setting up tables/chairs, and other programmatic tasks for the next couple of weeks while we follow the pandemic prevention protocols:
1. Sort through old files - reorganize, recycle and toss!
2. Wipe down everything in your office with disinfectant so that you can keep healthy.
3. Read Christus Vivit (again)
Free online at: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20190325_christus-vivit.html
4. Pray... really, take some intentional time to pray, perhaps in your Church or chapel. Consider trying a prayer style that you do not typically pray.
5. Write out old fashioned cards/notes to your ministry team members and mail them.
6. Take time to plan out summer activities for your ministries.
7. Make videos or search for videos to share with your teens and their families to watch while they are home from school. (Share any good ones with fellow youth ministers at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/89462880376/ )
8. Take a day off to be with your family (like a snowless snow day!)
9. Complete any of the diocesan reports you may have forgotten to do (OK, I had to take the opportunity while I had it, right, I mean at least I didn't specifically say the Parish Youth Ministry Report or the Child Protection Compliance sheet, ha!)
10. Send your teens snail mail with some spiritual tips during this time off school.... and perhaps add a personal note to that they know the parish is thinking about them and cares for them!
11. Where possible/applicable, have one-on-one conversations with your pastor, parish leader, and colleagues just to get to know him/her better and learn more about his/her ministries and life! (We often seem too busy to do so, but now we may have time!)
12. Read (or reread) Evangelii Gaudium to remind yourself of the Joy of the Gospel, even in trying times
-- free online at: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html
13. Update your "Community Services List" (a Worksheet to assist with creating this list if you do not yet have one has been posted on: https://youngstownoyyam.weebly.com/helping-young-people-during-grief-or-tragedy.html
Call counselors in the area to see if you would like to add them to the list and if they are accepting new patients.
14. Pull out the Diocesan "Curriculum for Catechesis" and make sure you are covering all the high school objectives. See binder in your or DRE's or pastor's office, or check online at: https://youngstownoyyam.weebly.com/adolescent-catechesis.html
15. Review textbooks and resources you are not currently using but in which you may be interested (at this time the diocesan offices are open as usual, so you can call Carla for ideas or come to the library to look over some options.)
16. Prepare a list of social media posts for the next couple of months so that you have them ready to go when things get busy again.
17. Meet with fellow ministers in your region or area, if everyone is healthy and able, to really work on some collaborations and/or tweak current collaborations.
18. Bring Cindee lunch.
Ha, just joking, that was just to see if you were still reading.... however, see who in your parish really might NEED assistance. Invite a small group of folks (like young adults who often are seeking service opportunities) who can assist with meal service, or a trip to the store for RXs, food or supplies, or other tasks that high-risk parishioners might need taken care of during this time.
19. If most of your teens (or their parents) have tablets, computers and smart phones with video, audio and internet, host a virtual prayer meeting/Bible study/quick learning session... if you/your parish does not have paid accounts for virtual meetings, there are free options such as:
-- Zoom, can be up to 40 minutes free (unlimited time for one-to-one calls, if you want to touch base with one family at a time)
-- Facebook Live (but would be open to all with whom you are friends or who is part of the Group page you use)
-- Google Hangouts (through Google+, so people need to join that, then they say up to ten people, but I've found that once you get over 5, it freezes up)
-- Google Meet
(Note for many of these, there is also an option for some to just call in from any phone, so they may not see what is happening, but can hear and talk with the group!) -- Let me know of others!
20. Preview some of the videos and movies you have considered using for ministry, but haven't had time to watch... be sure to create discussion questions as you watch!
21. If you are not already a member of a national ministry group, look into a few to consider joining:
a. National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) as an Associate Member, https://nfcym.org/members/associate-membership/
b. National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), https://nccl.org/membership/
-- then contact Barbara Walko about joining through the diocesan package, email@example.com
c. National Association for Lay Ministry (NALM), https://nccl.org/membership/
22. Speaking of national organization, check out any archived webinars they offered that you may have missed, the NFCYM has several posted at:
23. Pull out copies of the Catholic Exponent that you had thought "I'll read that later" and actually read them now!
24. Check your desk and storage area to inventory then order any supplies on which you are running low.
25. Add to this list!
Seriously, post a "comment" below with more ideas that may be of assistance to our fellow youth ministers!
Oh, and wash your hands!
Ministry Day 2019
Workshop B22: “Christ is Alive with (and for) our Teens and Young Adults”
Cindee Case, MAPS, Director
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Youngstown
Find links to Christus Vivit, the Final Document of the Synod, the Preparatory document, and numerous articles from through the three-year process at:
The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry also had a series of blog-posts about the process including findings of our diocesan surveys, find them posted at:
Christus Vivit Contents:
Chapter 1: What Does the Word of God Have to Say about Young People?
Who are some of the young people you recall are mentioned in Scripture?
(Exploring the young people Pope Francis highlighted....)
Chapter 2: Jesus, Ever Young
A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum. How then will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people? (§ 41)
Chapter 3: You are the “NOW” of God
we cannot just say that young people are the future of our world. They are its present; even now, they are helping to enrich it. (#64) … Each young person’s heart should thus be considered “holy ground”, a bearer of seeds of divine life (§67)
Chapter 4: A Great Message for all Young People
The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: “God loves you”. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved. (§112)
For him, you have worth; you are not insignificant. You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands. (§115)
Christ, out of love, sacrificed himself completely in order to save you. His outstretched arms on the cross are the most telling sign that he is a friend who is willing to stop at nothing (§ 118)
Finally, there is a third truth, inseparable from the second: Christ is alive! We need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because we can risk seeing Jesus Christ simply as a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago. (§ 124)
In these three truths – God loves you; Christ is your Savior; he is alive – we see God the Father and Jesus. Wherever the Father and the Son are, there too is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who quietly opens hearts to receive that message. He keeps alive our hope of salvation, and he will help you grow in joy if you are open to his working. The Holy Spirit fills the heart of the risen Christ and then flows over into your lives. When you receive the Spirit, he draws you ever more deeply into the heart of Christ, so that you can grow in his love, his life and his power. (§130)
Chapter 5: Paths of Youth
Keep following your hopes and dreams. But be careful about one temptation that can hold us back. It is anxiety. Anxiety can work against us by making us give up whenever we do not see instant results. Our best dreams are only attained through hope, patience and commitment, and not in haste. At the same time, we should not be hesitant, afraid to take chances or make mistakes. Avoid the paralysis of the living dead, who have no life because they are afraid to take risks, to make mistakes or to persevere in their commitments. Even if you make mistakes, you can always get up and start over, for no one has the right to rob you of hope. (§ 142)
Friendship is one of life’s gifts and a grace from God. Through our friends, the Lord refines us and leads us to maturity. Faithful friends, who stand at our side in times of difficulty, are also a reflection of the Lord’s love, his gentle and consoling presence in our lives. The experience of friendship teaches us to be open, understanding and caring towards others, to come out of our own comfortable isolation and to share our lives with others. (§ 151)
But I would also remind you that you won’t become holy and find fulfilment by copying others. Imitating the Saints does not mean copying their lifestyle and their way of living holiness… You have to discover who you are and develop your own way of being holy (§162)
Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourselves in the reality of life, as Jesus did”. Above all, in one way or another, fight for the common good, serve the poor, be protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism. (§174)
Wherever we are, we always have an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. That is how the Lord goes out to meet everyone. (§ 177)
Chapter 6: Young People with Roots
If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands. (§ 199)
Chapter 7: Youth Ministry
(reminder, ages 16 – 29 were surveyed, so he means teens and young adults)
requires two courses of action: outreach and growth (§209).
A mentor should therefore nurture the seeds of faith in young people, without expecting to immediately see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit. This role is not and cannot be limited to priests and consecrated life, but the laity should also be empowered to take on such a role. All such mentors should benefit from being well-formed, and engage in ongoing formation. (§ 246)
Chapter 8: Vocation
The word “vocation” can be understood in a broad sense as a calling from God…that everything in our lives can become a way of responding to the Lord, who has a wonderful plan for us. (§ 248)
Chapter 9: Discernment
I would remind you of the most important question of all. “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’” Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts, and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you. (§ 286)
Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the fact of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive at where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.( § 299)
Learn more about the timeline of the Synod and process towards Christus Vivit at the
Dinner and Presentation on November 4th
and learn more about the practical implications of the document during
the In-Service Day on November 5th.
(See flier in your Ministry Day folder or contact the OY&YAM for more.
It is also posted on the office Synod on Youth webpage.)
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee,
the professor went to the kitchen
and returned with a large pot of coffee
and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal,
some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite -
elling them to help themselves to the coffee.
After all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:
"If you noticed,
all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up,
leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves,
that is the source of your problems and stress.
"Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.
In most cases, it's just more expensive
and in some cases even hides what we drink.
What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup,
but you consciously went for the best cups...
and then began eyeing each other's cups.
"Now consider this:
Life is the coffee,
and the jobs, money and position in society are the cups.
They are just tools to hold and contain life,
and the type of cup we have does not define
nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup,
we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us."
God brews the coffee, not the cups . . .
enjoy your coffee.
On March 1st, Tom East, Director of the Center for Ministry Development facilitated a one day training in Ravenna for about 25 parish and campus ministry leaders on Accompanying Youth on their Journey of Faith and Discernment.
After an opening prayer, we discussed the concept of accompaniment. We have to let go of preconceived frameworks for our ministries with young people, including our tendency to wait for the teens to come to our programs... we have to change our perspective.
When we read the Emmaus story (Luke 24: 13 - 35), notice that Christ LISTENED first to the travelers and allowed them to share their disappointments and hopes. He walked along side them and listened.
How can we better listen without judgement and walk along side the young people of our community? (We can also notice that Jesus was not waiting in a temple... he joined the travelers on the road...)
Mr. East reminded us that we are to reach out to all the young people of the parish community (and geography), not just those who show up at Mass and programs, and not even only those that have been Baptized.
One key to this ministry of accompaniment is to recognize that God is already part of each young people's life, since conception. We need to talk with them about the conversation God has been having in his/her life... they may need help recognizing it in themselves, and to see how God is at work in their daily lives, but we seldom "bring them to Christ" as Christ is and has been with them!
Tom shared many tools for accompanying, transforming our programs, and becoming a faith companion. It is important for parents, grandparents, godparents, catechists, teachers, youth ministers, coaches, group leaders, Confirmation sponsors, and even peers to take time to pray, connect, listen, empathize, care, and witness with young people.
The second session of the workshop was regarding ways to guide youth in discernment. One of the many resources shared on this topic was a "Simple Three-Minute Ignation Method" that can be used every day:
1. Spend the first minute thanking God the Father for all the blessings received that day.
2. Spend the second minute reviewing your failings and ask Jesus the Son for forgiveness.
3. In the final minute, ask the Holy Spirit for the strength and courage to live a better tomorrow.
One of the biggest differences we can make in the lives of young people is to foster a habit of daily prayer. Workshop participants were challenged to brainstorm ways to help youth pray. We also shared resources that can help. A great example that was shared was of a young man who set 4 alarms on his cell phone to remind him when the phone vibrated to pray.
Tom also shared ideas on breaking open the Synod Preparatory document, which can be found online at:
The key questions include:
> What should we do to transform our ministries using accompaniment as a model?
> What should we stop doing?
> What are some ways to encourage the faith community in walking with youth?
To learn more about the Center for Ministry Development,
visit their website at:
To read a blog post by Tom East on this topic, visit:
If you participated in the workshop, please comment below with any additional insights, ideas or strategies that you noted during the day!
At the Convocation of Catholic Leaders (July 1-4, 2017 in Orlando), I was honored to be one of the five delegates from the Diocese of Youngstown. The event included break- out sessions, one being "Youth on the Margins: Understanding Those Struggling with Depression, Suicide, Gangs and Discrimination." Obviously, the panel of speakers addressed each of those areas. They also discussed the opioid epidemic and how some of the heroin sold these days is immediately addicting. There is also an increase in reported anxiety issues with teens. It can be difficult to share the Joy of the Gospel (theme of the Convocation) when people are struggling to find joy in any area of their life!
In an interview with Antonio Spadaro SJ in August 2013,
Pope Francis said: “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds."
As adults called to work with and for young people, we need to be available to assist as needed. In addition to just being available to LISTEN to a young person, here are a few suggestions:
1. Continue to pray for young people and their families, knowing that everyone is going through something or has a loved one that they worry about that is going through something. Pray that they have the strength they need to get through it and to rely on God.
A few Scriptures to consider in your prayer:
• “The Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
• “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, thus declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).
• “Come to me, all who are heavy burdened...” (Matthew 11:28)
• “The news about [Jesus] spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:24).
2. Have a "Referral List" handy and updated.
To read more about how to create your list, see:
as well as an idea for helping parents connect for support:
3. Learn more about Pastoral Care so that you can better be of service. Once great option is called "Youth Mental Health First Aid." This is a quick course that covers the basics on identifying and working with youth who may experience anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders, suicidal tendencies, etc. It comes with a manual that you can keep on hand for reference over and over again. (Perhaps a good idea to reread a chapter each month as well as to have on hand as a certain situation arises.)
The diocese is looking into the possibility of hosting a training for parish ministers, but I also found that there is a FREE option offered by the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board. One training day is coming up on August 25th in Warren. The flyer can be found below. If you are unavailable that day, perhaps contact them for future dates.
What else might you add to this list?
Final thought, Pope Francis encourages us in taking the time necessary to journey with people as Church, "An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be." (Evaneglii Gaudium #24)
"Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties." (Evaneglii Gaudium #167)
On Saturday, July 1
in the Hyatt Regency Orlando,
a couple thousand Catholics gathered for
an Evening Marian Devotion
focused around Mary, Mother of Evangelization
as part of the Convocation of Catholic Leaders
organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Allow me to pause to say that despite my birthday falling on a Marian feast
(Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15),
and my name including a Marian-variation (Marie),
I have not found myself to have a strong Marian devotion.
Not that I have anything against this amazing woman who said YES to God,
gave birth to our Savior and raised Jesus;
I was just raised to believe that I can go directly to Christ with my prayers.
So I didn't "need" Mary as much.
Please do not judge me harshly as I share this only to admit that I may have considered
skipping this Saturday night event....
but I did go,
and I was so glad that I did.
It was a highlight of the Convocation for me.
I left inspired and faith-filled.
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS of San Antonio and
Bishop Martin D. Holley, DD of Memphis
each shared their appreciation for and strong devotions to Mary that began during their childhoods,
nurtured them as they grew up and how she assist them now as they serve the Church.
They also discussed that Mary is called upon by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium:
"Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith toward a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn." ~ EG, no. 287.
We then prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary,
with an amazing couple of twists:
1. a myriad of languages were used to pray the Hail Mary, including English, French, Vietnamese, Igbo, Tagalog, Italian, Creole, Polish, Gaelic/Irish, and Spanish;
2. different styles of songs that connected to each Mystery were sung at the completion of each decade ("The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came," "Mary's Canticle," "What Child is This," "Mary's Song," and "El Perpetuo Socorro," along with "Immaculate Mary" at the end.)
The changing up of languages during the Hail Mary really made one pause and listen to the words,
rather than speeding through it as can happen in some recitations that I have been part of (and even led that way, as though there is a prize for finishing fastest!) and the songs assisted me in reflecting upon that Mystery.
All the while, different images of Mary were displayed on large screens in the room.
This helped to show the various ways in which people relate to the Holy Mother around the world,
and in the U.S.
Together, we prayed through the songs, prayers and images.
It was an inspiring and up-lifting evening that I wished you could have all been part of with us.
However, you can participate in spirit in the following ways:
1. Watch recordings of some parts of the evening devotion:
Part 1 (bishop's talks, Ave Maria)
Part 2 (praying the Rosary)
2. Pray the Special Prayer of Dedication to Mary taken from Evangelii Gaudium:
Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.
Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.
Obtain for us now a new ardor born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.
Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.
Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.
Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.
May Mary, Star of the New Evangelization and Patroness of the Americas continue to pray for us!
For those of you unable to read this article published on December 7, 2016 on LinkedIn at:
I am sharing this for your consideration and thoughts.
Today’s new insight comes from Sharon Galgay Ketcham: “Helping teenagers imagine how they might contribute to God’s redemptive movement in the world [unveils] their potential. When parents, youth pastors, and church leaders train their eyes to look beyond [society’s] ‘dominant problem narrative’ (that is, most teenagers are broken, deficient and in need of our help), to recognize teenage potential and provide a place in the church for teenagers to practice using their gifts – teenagers will find a meaningful purpose in the church.
“The busyness of teenagers is connected to the longing of adults to help problematized teenagers make it into adulthood. Imagine if we saw teenagers as Christ does: full of potential to join God’s purpose.”
I would add to see youth as Christ does means to recognize and affirm how teens are already engaged in God’s work in the world. I do not wonder that many young people are engaged in making a difference for good in their schools, their work places, their families, their circles of friends, in the local communities. Church leaders do not necessarily see it because all of this is taking place outside the Church. And teens may simply lack the religious language to explain it to us. But the Second Vatican Council affirms that “the laity ... make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can she become the salt of the earth” (Lumen Gentium, no. 33).
Now this is not to say that some young people are not experiencing problems or even crisis at this moment in their lives and they are in need genuine care. But adolescence itself is not a disease.
Ketcham proposes that we flip the script. What would the Church’s ministry with youth look like if it started from a place of affirmation? Teenagers are not a problem to be solved; they are the possibility for parents and youth ministers and church leaders to recognize how God is at work in the world… and perhaps, more importantly, at work in our lives.
[The quote is an extract from an interview with Sharon Galgay Ketcham, published in "The State of Youth Ministry", a report from Barna in partnership with Youth Specialties and YouthWorks, 2016.]
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.