Saturday, May 26, 2012

Senior Testimonies - 5/20/2012

Here is the audio from the End-of-the-Year Party (Annie Mitchell and I had a miscommunication and missed Anna's talk - sorry Anna!):

Check it out!

This is good stuff...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

St. Gertrude Goodbye - by Emma

Thinking back, I realized that it has been a year and a half since I proposed to you all at Fall Retreat in 2010.  Back then , my love and gratefulness for you was enough for me to "propose," and my love for you has continued to grow.  But, I'm ready to accept the fact that God's vocation for all of us is probably not to get married.  So out of this sacrificial love I now write to you to say one last thank you and goodbye.
God has made all of you so incredibly beautiful-even the gentlemen-and I'm even more incredibly blessed that He has opened my eyes to see the unique gifts you all have.  There's just something about being here with all of you even if I barely know you or sometimes forget your name or call you Beth when your name is Hannah.  God has really created this community to be light in the darkness especially the darkness of my own life.
I don't know, but I think that without this community, I would have been exhausted trying to follow Jesus a long time ago, but it is here that I am best reminded of the beauty and universality of our Church.  It is here with you all that I am reminded of my need for Christ and constant conversion.  It is here that I am reminded of the source of my joy and my heart grows in its desire to do nothing but proclaim this crazy intense Truth to every soul I encounter.  Okay, so I can't say I crazily proclaim the intense Truth of Jesus to every soul I encounter, but I desire to, so pray that I one day can!
Boys, as much as I in all my pride, am uncomfortable to admit this.  You guys are literally awesome, and I even must admit as a girl I've been a bit jealous about the bond you have together.  Truly men after St. Joseph's heart.  Because you rejoice so much in your identity as men of God, you have led us as daughters of the righteous king to understand our beauty, worth and mission as women that has been so distorted in our culture.  I guess I can't speak for all the girls, but I know personally that you Tobias men have helped restore my knowledge of self-worth and gently led me into Mama Mary's heart.  This is a good place to be as God gently leads me to my vocation-whatever it may be-so thank you.
For the girls, I am most grateful for the joy you've all brought me.  Finding true, solid, edifying friendships in high school is difficult, but I think that's because in the confusing time of growing up it is easy to only focus on oneself.  Being here in a place where all you girls rejoice in your compassionate and nurturing femininity and care totally and selflessly about others, friendship has been easy to find, and now very hard to move from.  I don't know if I could tell you how much you all have inspired me.  Your care for me, all the crazy things we have done together, accepting my vegetarian Westside differences, and witnessing to me about how Jesus is kindling the fire of His love in your hearts are all things that I will keep in my heart as I wait to meet the beautiful women Jesus puts in my life next.  Know I am still here for you too so all that little pointless pop song goes-just call me maybe!?
I think I will end with something I learned at the Matt Maher concert:  Jesus needs me.  I think this alone is why I'm semi-ok with leaving you all and moving on.  He needs me for the world, for the darkness. He may have created me just to bring one soul to heaven, and if I don't follow I may miss out on my crazy beautiful call to take part in the salvation of the world.  What is even more beautiful is that you all have this call to, and it has been you all, and core team, and Brad and Fr. Albert who have inspired me to know, love and serve for this call.   You all are the ones who help remind me of my vocation to greatness.  You all are the ones that have brought the words of Pope Benedict to life showing me that my call to greatness is not an ethical choice or a lofty idea but an encounter with the person Jesus Christ.  Our call to greatness is a call to a person-Jesus-and I thank Him for being able to learn more about Him through you.  Before I go I would like to pass on a family heirloom to Maggie Drew.  This antique has been a prized possession of mine after winning opposite war the fall retreat I got engaged.  Do not worry, for unlike Greco, he promotes the complementarity of men and women, but must be protected from little children desperate for sugar.  Treasure him and pass him on to a well deserving freshman like yourself when you're a senior.

Know I am praying for all of you that you may receive your Creator with a wide open heart and with His help fight the lies of the flesh, the world and the evil one that tell you that you are unfixable and unworthy.  I challenge you to continue to pursue Jesus who is the greatness you are being called to.   And with one last week of Easter-Alleluia!  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pope Benedict on Prayer

Here is an excerpt from a recent audience...good stuff:

A first element that the Apostle wants us to understand is that prayer should not be seen merely as a good work that we carry out for God, an action of ours. First and foremost, it is a gift, the fruit of the living, vivifying presence of the Father of Jesus Christ in us. In the Letter to the Romans he writes: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (8:26). And we know how true the Apostle’s saying is: “We do not know how to pray as we ought”. We want to pray, but God is far off, we do not have the words, the language, to speak with God, nor even the thought to do so. We can only open ourselves, place our time at God’s disposition, wait for Him to help us to enter into true dialogue. The Apostle says: this very lack of words, this absence of words, yet this desire to enter into contact with God, is prayer that the Holy Spirit not only understands, but brings and interprets before God. This very weakness of ours becomes -- through the Holy Spirit -- true prayer, true contact with God. The Holy Spirit is, as it were, the interpreter who makes us, and God, understand what it is we wish to say.

In prayer we experience -- more than in other aspects of life -- our weakness, our poverty, our being creatures, for we are placed before the omnipotence and transcendence of God. And the more we advance in listening and in dialogue with God, so that prayer becomes the daily breath of our souls, the more we also perceive the measure of our limitations, not only in the face of the concrete situations of everyday life, but also in our relationship with the Lord. The need to trust, to rely increasingly upon Him then grows in us; we come to understand that “we do not know … how to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26).

And it is the Holy Spirit who helps our inability, who enlightens our minds and warms our hearts, guiding us as we turn to God. For St. Paul, prayer is above all the work of the Holy Spirit in our humanity, to take our weakness and to transform us from men bound to material realities into spiritual men. In the First Letter to the Corinthians he says: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual terms” (2:12-13). By means of His abiding in our fragile humanity, the Holy Spirit changes us; He intercedes for us; He leads us toward the heights of God (cf. Romans 8:26).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Comments from the Archbishop

Archbishop Schnurr’s Seven Observations Regarding Ministry to Youth
Notes by Brad Bursa
Presentation given on May 2, 2012

The following notes are both observations and directives from Archbishop Schnurr regarding Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese.  Here, we are speaking not only about Youth Ministry (as we may commonly think of it), but all religious education that happens on our campus for adolescents and young adults.

1.  Aim of Youth Ministry – turns us back to the Baltimore Catechism.  The first question in the Catechism is “who created you?”  The second is “Who is God?”  And, the third – “Why did God make us?”  Archbishop sees this third question is the launching point for Youth Ministry.  God creates for a purpose, which leads into vocation (in the broad sense – call to holiness – priesthood, consecrated life, marriage, chaste single life).  An answer to the question “why did God make me?” provides for a fullness of life.  (We were created with a purpose – a heavenly purpose – beatitude, eternal happiness). 

2.  We cannot underestimate our young people.  Need to challenge them, and encourage them to be not afraid.  Young people want to hear everything the Church has to say, and they will make the decision themselves.  Young people don't want to hear that they are not ready for certain content.  

3.  Youth Ministry cannot be endless fun and games, and Religious Education cannot be endless classroom teaching.

4.  It is important on occasion to have bigger events, because young people need to know and appreciate that they are part of something larger than the parish/school.

5.  Need to balance big events with a need for silence - retreat experience.  Archbishop recommends that the youth spend quiet time in prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament.  They need to first meet Jesus – encounter the Person of Christ.  Then, they will be more inclined to want to know/learn about Who they just met.

6. Need to involve young people in the life of the parish.  The youth have something to offer the Church right now.  

7.      Ministry needs to involve the youth themselves - need opportunities for peer ministry.  

Of few of my own comments:

  • An increase in parental support – Parents are the primary educators of their children – especially with regard to the faith.  Not only would I hope that parents encourage their children to attend our programs at the parish, but that parents continue to learn more about the faith, and draw deeper into conversion, so as to teach their children about Jesus and the Church.  Our programs exist to supplement what is happening in the home.
  • Urgency.  As we have become increasingly aware of - especially since January - the faith is not something that we can simply take for granted.  We are challenged to freely assent to Christ and to his teaching, and to work for virtue and conversion in our lives.  This necessarily means that our priorities are straight, and constantly re-straightened.  The busyness of families nowadays often pushes faith formation, prayer, family meals, etc. to the back burner.  The Church needs strong, faith-filled families, because the world needs the witness of these families.  The issues the Church is facing cannot be played out only on the judicial level – these issues demand that each Catholic re-examines his/her own life and accounts for his/her faith – which means saying “yes” to Christ once again, and re-establishing priorities accordingly.