Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greek Tragedy

The Bust. Busted.

It is hard to believe the "brazen bronzen one" could be destroyed so epically.

I must speak of Greco and of his woeful tale. A tale brightly begun some 3,000 years ago, that today seems to fade into shadowy past.

The ancient Greek poet Hesiod reports the birth of Greco in his famous Works and Days. Wikipedia, a primary source on Hesiodian thought, describes the Bronze Age as follows, "Men of the Bronze Age were hard. War was their purpose and passion. Not only arms and tools, but their very homes were forged of bronze. The men of this age were undone by their own violent ways and left no named spirits but dwell in the "dank house of Hades".

You see, it was quite unfortunate to have been born into this third generation of men. Can bronze really stack up against the purity of gold and glamour of silver?

Indeed, Greco's tremendous strength makes its first appearance here. This sort of strength penetrates flesh and bone. It is stronger than the bow of Artemis or the armour of Achilles. Ah, yes, the strength of intellect led to Greco's fame. During the wars of the Bronze Age, Greco lost both legs, his arms and most of his torso. His armory was insufficient on the front lines of the Greco-Persian Wars. Ancient legend has it that the Persians used lasers.

Still Greco lived. Not only in the minds and hearts of the Greeks, but in the form of a bust, animated by the brilliance of his intellect and stunning good looks. Greco dwelled as a treasure on someone's mantle, before being shoved in a garbage bag and deposited at the Treasure Mart. It appeared that now, all was lost for this timeless character.

But the Fates cast a kindly glance upon our hero, and he was purchased for a small fee by a heroic member of the Youth Group. He then embarked on one final voyage.

As the "brazen bronzen one," once sauntered in Sparta, walked the sands of Ithaca, and ran laps around Plato's mind, he pushed onward, as a ship's mast in storm, wind or fog, toward Steubenville for the conference of youth.

Here he was revered and upheld by many. Photographed. Hugged. Polished, though never tarnished.

All was well for our faithful hero and preparations were being made for his triumphal re-entry to the great city of Cincinnatus, when disaster struck broadside. In a moment of absent-mindedness, his bearer (for he always had to have a bearer after losing his legs, arms and most of his torso) let him slip and crash harmfully onto the ground. Oh hollow fall! Oh Gravity! Antagonist of all hollow objects. Thrown from his pedestal, Greco skipped across the ground and came to rest under a bus seat.

Will this be the end for our hero?

Or will Greco live...forever?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Word Became Flesh

"This definitely changed me."

"I can't wait any longer; I need to start praying now."

"Something just clicked this time and I was so happy."

These are only soundbites. I wish we would've recorded all of the teen testimonies during the bus ride back to Cincinnati. They were powerful witnesses to what God had done during that weekend in Steubenville (July 16-18).

The Youth Conference marked a full year for me at St. Gertrude's in terms of events, as I was first introduced to the group for the 2009 trip to Steubenville.

This year, you teens were open to God's love and grace in a way I had not seen before. It was amazing to talk with you during the weekend and hear how the Holy Spirit was moving in your lives. It was amazing to listen to the testimonies on the way home and hear about how the Holy Spirit changed your hearts.

As I continued to reflect upon these experiences, a few other things stood out.

The first item is that how you experienced Steubenville wasn't out of the blue. All year we have been working on the relationship with Christ, on going deeper. The Core Team has been praying for your continued conversion, and ours as well. Steubenville wasn't an accident. You were called there. You were gently pushed by the grace that has been increasing throughout the course of the year, in our retreats, Adoration nights, Sunday meetings, etc.

My second observation deals with the group as a whole. There is no icebreaker that can take your relationships as deep as praying with one another can. And over the course of the weekend, I saw this in action. As you prayed with one another, for one another, your relationships deepened. You were vulnerable with your brothers and sisters and your relationships grew. This became especially apparent during adoration on Saturday as many of you voluntarily started praying with your peers. Experiences like these are a testament to the power of the spiritual bond between people; there is something more there, something of substance, something that penetrates the superficial crust that has covered us over the years.

I will end my comments here. If you wish to post some comments about the weekend, that would be awesome! I'd love to have the conversation continue.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Slideshow for Fr. Michael

We watched this slideshow at the farewell breakfast for Fr. Michael on Friday. Check it out!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tribute to Bob

I plan on writing a bit about this year's youth conference. I'm waiting on picking up some pics and video from people.

In the mean time, here is a video from last year...Bob Rice's interpretive dance to Bon Jovi's "Wanted." It was amazing live. This video doesn't capture its brilliance, but it's the best we've got.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wonder Dog

I stumbled across this video my freshman year in college. Utterly amazing.

The best part of the clip (worth rewinding and watching several times) is the very first time you see Faith run across the screen with the little girl trying to get out of the way. If I was in a park and saw a two-legged dog running like a human, I would take off. The thought reminds me of a few notable scenes from Jurassic Park: the classic T-Rex jeep chase, and the dino herd scene...some of which has been recreated for you in the following video.

In all, this is a pretty amazing story. I have been unable to find out if Faith did make it into Harry Potter. If anyone can verify this, just post a comment. Have a good one!

Monday, July 12, 2010


In light of the crazy week ahead of me (preparing for Steubenville, preparing for the farewell breakfast, actually having the breakfast, actually spending Fri-Sun in Steubenville), I thought I'd go light on the blog this week. So, hopefully next week, we will get some discussion going.

But for now, I'd like to present a nice youtube clip each day, with a little commentary.

What you are about to see may be the classiest praise group of all time. The grand piano is not in use. The solo guitarist is only wearing socks. The facial expressions leave no doubt that Jesus is a Friend of Mine!

Honestly, I don't have much good commentary for this. The news anchor sums it up well at the end, as he says, "That's terrific!" "Beautiful, beautiful."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Show Your Appreciation

"That can't be real." "No way." "That's crazy." "I don't believe it."

Your present sentiments are the same as my past ones. I thought it was a myth. As mythological as Apollo and Daphne, Scylla and Charybdis, Odysseus and Achilles.

But it's true, and truth got me three free meals last year.

Dress like a cow, get a free meal. Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Midsummer Classic. Midsummer Break.

As most of you know, every mid-July, Major League Baseball pauses for a few days. About 97% of the players get some time off, while the other 3% partake in the Midsummer Classic...The All-Star Game. Growing up playing baseball, the MLB All-Star break meant that little league was coming to a close for the year and that summer was half over. Just as most big league teams use the break to evaluate their rosters in comparison with the standings, so as to decide if they will pursue a trade that will get them into the playoffs, or dump half of their roster for players who might be good in five years (cough...Cleveland...cough...Indians), I would evaluate my summer to see how it stacked up to ones gone by.

While I no longer play little league, though I'm positive I could dominate the diamond, I still like to take a look at summer. What has already passed and what is to come. This year, I'll examine what we've done in Youth Ministry.

  • St. Gertrude Festival: June 11-13, 2010
The festival happened. There isn't too much to say. A big "thank you" to all who helped out and endured the heat...especially the heat in the booth kicked out by the ice cream machine. We only had one real glitch from what I can tell. Saturday night, when customers were starting to pile up, the chocolate side of the machine died. It began producing watered-down chocolate ice. No cream. Just ice. Weird.

  • God in Cinci: June 13-16, 2010
Straight from the festival into mission. How about that for an insane week!

As you can see from the video, our group reached out to those closest to us in our own city. The goal was our own continued conversion and to practice charity in Truth. First ever God in Cinci Trip: successful!

  • US Soccer Defeats Algeria: June 23, 2010
This has nothing to do with Youth Ministry.

While the loss in the next round was incredibly disappointing, June 23 was a great day to be a US soccer fan.

  • Genesis to Jesus Bible Study: June 23-August 11, 2010
All summer long, 8 teens have committed to studying scripture on Wednesday nights. Please keep our Bible Study in your prayers.

  • Adoration and Ice Cream: June 27 and August 1, 2010
On June 27, the High School Youth Ministry program had its first ever Adoration and Ice Cream night. We began the night in adoration focusing on surrendering our struggles, handing over our distractions to Christ, in order to worship in a deeper way than ever before. Following adoration, we enjoyed ice cream with sprinkles. Join us for the next one on August 1.

  • Steubenville Youth Conference: July 16-18, 2010

Only two weeks away!
  • Canoe Trip: July 24, 2010
Last year it stormed...a lot. First Youth Ministry event I ran on my own. 5:30am thunderstorm to wake us up in the morning. Twelve long miles on the Little Miami. On the river and off the river. Lunch in the mud. Cold. Wet. Half-hearted attempts at building canoe huts/condos.

It was a blast!

This year we won't be camping overnight, so we'll be fresh for hitting the river in the morning. Hopefully the rain holds off, though that seems to be when the adventure begins...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Photo Tribute to Fr. Michael

Check out the photos I unearthed. Remember that we'll have a farewell breakfast on July 16 for Fr. Michael starting at 8:30am in the School Cafeteria.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why the Blog?

I made a decision last week that it wouldn't be a bad idea to start a blog for the High School program here at St. Gertrude's. The inspiration came largely from one of my Denver students who started a blog as a forum for questions, comments and hopefully answers. The Spirit of Splendor blog will assist us in continuing to ask the question "why?" which vaults us closer and closer to understanding the Truth, closer to attaining that goal of finding meaning that we have all embarked upon. I will post as frequently as possible with updates, discussion questions and hopefully some articles that you, the teens, will write. Consider it an extension of the Question Box!