A Day in the Life– Reaching Out to Young Adults

As the Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Washington, I wanted to respond to this comment we received from a 30-something: “I must admit I have some concern that the Church is missing the mark in reaching out to people my age and younger.”

 

Your concern is very valid. Some dioceses don’t have a young adult minister, and the majority have a minister serving Youth and Young Adults. Can you image trying to focus on a ministry that includes 10-year-olds and 33-year-olds? I can’t! Sadly, in dioceses like that, the young adults are usually the ones who get the short end of the stick. However, the Archdiocese of Washington is very fortunate to have someone on staff dedicated to full-time ministry to young adults, yours truly.

 

What do I do all day? Well let me give you a snap shot of one 48 hour period last week to show how the Archdiocese is reaching out to young adults!

 

On Wednesday morning I had a meeting with the Coordinators of Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Arlington and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We discussed our successes, our struggles, and future collaboration on a regional young adult conference. It was a little work, a little fun, and a wonderful time for fellowship with my colleagues!

 

On Wednesday afternoon, I prepared the young adult announcements for publishing in the weekly Office of Young Adult Ministry E-newsletter. (To subscribe, email [email protected]) This email lists all the archdiocesan and parish young adult events including spiritual, social, service, and educational opportunities. It’s easy to browse and pretty comprehensive. Great for young adults who are new to the area or are looking for a parish to join.

 

On Thursday morning, I prepared the song sheet for Christ in the City which took place on Thursday evening. Christ in the City is an opportunity to establish a relationship with Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist. The service includes recitation of the Rosary, Adoration of the Eucharist, Praise and Worship, Confession, and a scriptural reflection by a priest. The song sheet includes all the prayers traditionally sung during Adoration as well as some popular praise and worship songs. This allows people to participate and follow along especially if it is their first time to Christ in the City. There are usually anywhere from 75 to 150 young adults at this prayer service.

 

I also worked on the Annual Seven Church Walk which is coming up on March 28th. (Check the main page for a blog devoted to this event.) During this day-long event we visit and pray at seven churches in downtown Washington, DC. It’s my job to choose the churches, contact the pastors at those churches, create a schedule for the day, and coordinate a team of volunteers to help during the event. Everything is coming together nicely!

 

On Thursday at noon, I attended the Mass at Central Pastoral Administration (a fancy name for our offices). Why is this important? Because I want to let you know that we are all praying for you! We have Mass every day in our building, and we can also stop in the chapel any time during the day to talk to, listen to, or vent to God. He’s always there in the tabernacle!  

 

That afternoon, I did some serious spring cleaning…that’s biblical right? Leviticus? 🙂

 

I also worked with a young adult on establishing a Young Adult Ministry Softball Team this spring! We’re looking at the DC CityBall League with games on Sundays at West Potomac Park. Check the e-newsletter for details!

 

Thursday evening, as I mentioned, I prayed and worshipped and adored at Christ in the City!

 

Friday morning, I had a planning meeting for our Ad Gentes – Young Adult Mission Trip to Squaw Lake, Minnesota this June. We placed a deposit on the condominiums we’ll be renting there, and our next step is to work with a travel agent to block our plane tickets for the group. We’ll be offer Vacation Bible School to the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Squaw Lake. Along with our missionary activities, we’ll be enjoying the outdoors in Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake and coming together in community for Mass and Liturgy of the Hours.   

 

So that’s how I’ve been reaching out to young adults. More importantly, that’s how I’ve been creating opportunities for young adults to reach out to Christ! If you have suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] God bless!

 

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 19 – Pilgrimages – Annual Seven Church Walk for Young Adults

Like many world religions, Catholicism maintains the practice of making pilgrimages to sacred sites or shrines. In his time, Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595), Patron of Rome, would lead excursions to the four Major and three Minor basilicas of Rome. The day included music, catechetical instruction, and a picnic along the way.

 

The Pilgrimage to the Seven Churches of Rome included:

San Pietro in Vaticano

San Paolo fuori le Mura

San Giovanni in Laterano

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

San Lorenzo fuori le Mura

San Sebastiano fuori le Mura

 

Here in the Archdiocese of Washington we have our own Seven Church Walk! The Seven Church Walk serves as a spiritual preparation for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and is a unique way to see our historic city and its architectural diversity.

 

This year, the pilgrimage will be held on Saturday March 28 from 9:30am – 4:00pm. The day will begin with 9:30am Mass at St. Patrick’s Church (619 Tenth Street NW) and will include the Litany to St. Joseph, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, a meditation, prayers for Pope and Bishops, Divine Mercy, and Eucharistic Adoration.

 

The sites for the Seven Church Walk include:

St. Patrick

Immaculate Conception

St. Aloysius

St. Joseph

St. Peter

Holy Rosary

Mary Mother of God

 

Join more than a hundred young adults from across the Archdiocese as we visit and pray at these seven churches in downtown Washington, DC. Please bring water, a bag lunch (or money for lunch), a rosary, and a contemplative spirit. You must wear good walking shoes because we will be walking about 6.5 miles!

 

RSVP to [email protected] 

 

 

Saint Patrick’s Day

On March 17th we celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick.  Since I reside in the Church of St. Patrick and count both Flinn’s and Murphy’s in my lineage I always look forward to celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day.  While we may raise a glass to St. Patrick (hopefully not too many) we cannot forget that he is best known for raising his heart to the Trinity, and I am sure he would beseech us to do the same.  We should offer a prayer tomorrow that the faith in Ireland will deepen, and that our own lives may emulate an undying dedication to evangelization like St. Patrick. 

Below is portion of St. Patrick’s famous and beautiful prayer known as “St Patrick’s Breast-Plate.”  A full version of the prayer can be found at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11554a.htm along with a short biography.  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

 

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today

God’s Power to guide me, God’s Might to uphold me,

God’s Wisdom to teach me, God’s Eye to watch over me,

God’s Ear to hear me, God’s Word to give me speech,

God’s Hand to guide me, God’s Way to lie before me,

God’s Shield to shelter me, God’s Host to secure me.

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right, Christ at my left.

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.


40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 18 – The Good Priests

Reason # 18 – The Good Priests. Much has been written lately about the sins of some priests who horribly committed sexual abuse. May God bless those who were victims of such priests. But the vast majority of priests are good, holy and dedicated men who given themselves selflessly to God and the service of his people. I can testify to many good priests who helped me along the way.  The priests who serve us in the Church are not perfect men but most all of them love God and his people. They work long hours and are present at some of the most difficult and joyful moments of our lives. Most of them are quiet servants, answering late night phone calls, celebrating early masses, sitting through long meetings and patiently listening to our concerns, struggles, joys and hopes, questions, and doubts. They celebrate the Sacraments with devotion, both for God and their people. And truth be told most Catholics love their priests, pray for them, respect them  and value their service.

So here is a reason to come home: many good priests are waiting to serve you and celebrate the significant moments of your life. Many good priests await your return.

Here is a beautiful Video that celebrates the ministry priests among us:

Wondering About Wrath

Today’s Gospel read at Catholic Masses (where the “A” readings were not used) was about Jesus cleaning the Temple. Clearly in this passage Jesus manifests anger. Why is Jesus angry? Why is he throwing tables over and driving people out? Is this anger a sin? But Jesus never sinned! So how can we understand his anger? In fact, there are a lot of verses all through the Bible that speak of God’s wrath, or anger. How can we understand it and square it with his mercy and patience?

I preached a sermon on these topics today here at my Parish, Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian.  You can get it here: The Whys and Wherefores of Wrath

A more complete listing of my sermons is here: http://frpope.com/audio/recordings.php

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 17 – Jesus is Here Right Now

Reason # 17- Jesus is Here Right Now. If I were to credibly announce to the Washington DC area that Jesus Christ was going to come down from heaven and appear in my Parish Church of Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian, the place would be packed! Media Satellite trucks would line the block. Crowds in the hundreds of thousands might well gather; all to see Jesus. But the truth is, Jesus IS here, right now. He presides as High Priest at every liturgy we celebrate. He remains present in our tabernacle. He’s here! He preaches the sermon, stands at our altar and feeds us with his Body and Blood.

 The Choir in my Church often sings the Gospel song “Jesus Is Here Right Now.”  while we receive Holy Communion. Are you looking for Jesus? Here’s here, right now! A great reason to come home.

Here are two powerful videos that celebrate the True Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament: “God in the Streets of New York.”  Behold how Jesus walks the streets of New York and see the remarkable reactions of many people in the video. Some glance shyly, others reash out to touch, others cry out from a distance, one man throws open his window and cries “Glory.” The second video is actually the same footage, but a musical version, a remix or sorts.

Recession&Religion

How is the recession impacting churches? ABC’s Good Morning America visited St. Martin of Tours parish in Gaithersburg, MD and Catholic Charities’ Archdiocesan Legal Network to see how the economic downturn is hitting home. Watch the video here: Religion & Recession