Monday, August 30, 2010

Deep Breath

Is it possible for Kickoff to not be crazy?


It came and went last night with a blaze of fury. The teens were amped, the Core Team was ready to go. Dora made her famed appearance. In watching the skit last night, I really felt as if I watched an entire Dora episode...and the AdBoard performed the skit in about five minutes. It must be my advanced intellect (compared with a five-year-old) that allows me to understand a full episode in under five minutes.

I mean, the map song on the show takes about as long as the skit took last night.

Here's Brian Regan's commentary on the "Map Song."
Brian Regan - Dora the Explorer
Brian Regan VideosBrian Regan JokesBrian Regan Standing Up

Sorry if you missed the skit. If you've come this far, you may feel as if you watched it!

Kickoff went smoothly overall. I shared a story about growing up in a small town; ask someone who was at Kickoff to share details if you're interested. By the way, cow tipping is a legend...check wikipedia. I did find this humorous video on Youtube though...

The ninja playground battle was epic. Again, I wish we had it on tape. Maybe we'll have to have another ultimate ninja tournament so we can film it for promotional purposes!

I leave you with some photos from the evening's activities (you can check out more pics on our Facebook page).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kickoff 2010-2011

The adventure begins this Sunday.

A year of Youth Nights, social events, retreats, trips...

Last year, Kickoff was crazy. I would expect the same this year. Food, games, prizes. If you bring one of your parents along, you will be entered into a drawing for useful giftcards like itunes.

All teens in attendance will get the 2010-2011 t-shirt for free!

We hope to see you on Sunday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Fates Felled Him

Oh woe! Oh tragic woe and tragic low!
A fall too far to know,
That fall that from earth to Hades,
As told alike by men and ladies.
This, a second fall, our bronzen friend
Did have thrust upon him in the end,
And he, who so long did last
Now seems confined to the past.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Praise & Learn It

Many of you are starting to be more accustomed to praying with music, which is awesome. One of the best ways to start feeling comfortable with Praise & Worship is to learn the the same way that as you learn the words of a band, going to that band's concert is a lot less awkward.

One of the ways I learned and continue to learn Praise & Worship is through youtube. If I hear a song at a conference or on the radio, I can pretty much type in whatever portion of the song I remember and find it...truly amazing!

So, if you heard a song at Steubenville, an Adoration night or at Credo (which is coming at the end of September), that struck you, that took you to a deeper level, check it out. Listen to it, learn it and pray it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What does it mean?

In case you haven't seen the Double Rainbow Guy youtube clip that now has over 10 million views, check it out and reflect on it. You will find my commentary below.

The man filming the phenomenon is "Bear" Vasquez. Once, according to CNN, a cage fighter, he now lives in Yosemite and spends his time doing photography, raising animals and farming organically. In many ways, he lives a secluded life. That's about all I could really find about the man. I have no idea what prompted him to make this video public, maybe sheer amazement, maybe some other unknown reason.

Whichever, there is something more striking at play here than the double rainbow.

"I would encourage all people of good will who are active in the emerging environment of digital communication to commit themselves to promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship" (Pope Benedict in his message for the 43rd World Communications Day).

Every few days for the past week I've checked out this video. My first reaction was not laughter, but astonishment. The rainbows are astonishing, yes, but his reaction to the Beauty before him is more so. I wish I stopped what I was doing to take in Beauty and ask the meaning behind it, ask what it is pointing to. This man was a witness to me in how to respond to Beauty. Aside from checking out the video, I also read some of the 50,000 comments that have been posted. As I write this post, there are 10 comments immediately visible, and 7 of them are disrespectful or derogatory.

Pope Benedict continues: "Those who are active in the production and dissemination of new media content, therefore, should strive to respect the dignity and worth of the human person. If the new technologies are to serve the good of individuals and of society, all users will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable."

The "Double Rainbow Guy," Bear Vasquez, is a perfect example of what Pope Benedict is talking about. The easiest thing we can do is go along with the 70% of people commenting and belittle him, disrespect him, see him as less than a person, stupid, a perversion, a waste of space...we could go on. The challenge, and it surely is a challenge, is to embrace all the factors involved. Can I embrace everything that is happening in that clip in order to make a judgment about it, or will I slide in with the rest and immediately, once the first 8 words are spoken, belittle a man struck by Beauty?

I will leave you with one final, more personal, thought. To many, we worship bread.

Or do we?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Steubie pics

Many more pics/videos on our Facebook "St. Gertrude Youth Group" and become a fan!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In Keeping with the Theme

In the previous post I reflected upon the intense work that goes into playing a sport. Our relationship with Christ, just like any relationship, demands work. And, just like getting in shape for a sport, or learning how to play an instrument, the most intimidating thing is getting started.

Luckily we have help on this endeavor. Bob Rice, a former Youth Minister and now professor at Franciscan University, has a 35 Day Spiritual Workout to help you build the habit of making prayer a part of your daily life. Get started by going to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Played Football...

Most of you have heard that I played football back in high school. This time of year, football is in the air. It literally smells like football. The dry grass, hot humidity. Because football is starting to creep its way into my brain again, I thought I'd share a quick reflection about my days on the field.

I attended Tiffin Calvert H.S. A small Catholic school of about 200 kids. We had a tremendous following for most of our sports teams (we were back-to-back state football champs back in the 80s), and incredibly high expectations. Failing to win the league and make the state playoffs meant your year could possibly go down in Calvert Seneca history as one of the worst ever.

Here's our first football team.

I'm fairly certain I was the smallest kid on the team, the only exception may be my senior year when my whopping 115 pound frame may have edged a few of the freshmen. Most people thought I was crazy to play football. I was crazy.

I was crazy about winning and about the tradition. I soaked them both up.

My desire to win propelled me to endure incredible trials, the same trials most all football players face:
  • Broken ribs.
  • Blindside hits on special teams.
  • Blood.
  • Broken fingers.
  • Concussion.
  • Bone bruises.
  • Sprained thumbs and ankles.
  • Someone's facemask hitting my elbow as they ran full speed into me - infinitely more pain than a normal bump of the funny bone.
  • Tackling drills against people twice my size.
  • Intense anxiety and nervousness before games.
You face it all. You endure it all to win. You endure it because it's part of the tradition. All of you teens, you endure similar things on the athletic fields, at work, at school or in band. You endure long early practices, but why?

You name the reason...I'm sure it's a fairly good one.

I was reflecting on all of this yesterday because I so often think that living the Christian life is too hard. It costs me too much.

Football was incredibly hard. It consumed my entire life for 4 months every year. It cost me a lot of pain...maybe even years of my life.

I was thinking about it because I sometimes think we're challenging teens too much. We need to lower the bar.

If my coach would've lowered the bar, he would've been fired. We would've lost all the time. I wouldn't have met my potential as a player.

The purpose of living out our conversion to Christ is to attain salvation...the ultimate victory. When it all boils down, this is what remains. It's hard. It's not going to be easy. It requires sacrifice and too often I forget that. I worry myself with so much other stuff. I wreck my body, leaving everything on the field.

But what do I give for Christ?

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me for one hour?"