“What Lies Within You?” An Open Letter to the High School Graduates of 2019

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Congratulations! You are graduating high school and moving on to the next chapter of your life. Did you know that one of the most popular quotes chosen as a senior class motto is "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" - a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson? Today, "what lies behind you" a...
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Christ is Alive: Being Easter People [Free Online Event for Ministry Leaders]

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"Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive!" Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit , 1 Easter and spring usher in a time of new life and growth. As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, we reflect on what it means to be an Easter people. Recently, we have been challenged by Pope Francis' words to, above all things, re...
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10 Things in "Christus Vivit" Addressed to All of Us Who Work with Young People

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"Christus Vivit – Christ is Alive" is a remarkable document. This letter to young people reflects the wisdom of the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. Though it is primarily written to young people, it also speaks directly to all of us who share faith and ministry with the young. Below you will find a Top Ten list address...
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Anxiety in the Ears and on the Minds of Youth

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Music plays an important role in the lives of young people. Remember the songs of your teen years? Every generation in history has felt their own love and deep connection to music including the generation of today. Music is a product of the times and is reflective of the situations it arises from. Some would say that music reveals the prevailing th...
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Serving in the Sun

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This has been (and still is) quite the winter. Here in Iowa, we've been bombarded with snowfall after snowfall, with lots of below zero days to make life even more fun! So it's natural for our thoughts to turn with great yearning to spring and summer. With summer only four months away, I've been focused on our summer mission trip for high school yo...
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New Year’s Resolutions – Embracing Change in 2019

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I enjoy making personal resolutions for each year. I find the reflective and visioning process invigorating and challenging. I use a mind mapping process to celebrate what I've accomplished and what I hope to be true in the next year. Like many people, my resolutions span from personal health goals, learning new things, improving personal relations...
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Carried to Christ

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World Youth Day begins January 22 nd in Panama City. In 1993, while I was Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I traveled with 800 youth and adults to World Youth Day in Denver. This was the first time that World Youth Day was held in a site that had not already been recognized as a holy shrine or place of pilgrimage. The ...
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In the New Year, What Will Our Response Be to Youth Who Advocate for Change?

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There is a popular holiday song called, "My Grown-up Christmas List" that tells the story of an adult remembering their childhood wishes and then writing an adult Christmas list. "Do you remember me I sat upon your knee I wrote to you with childhood fantasies Well I'm all grown up now And still need help somehow I'm not a child but my heart still c...
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Are Arts and Crafts in Youth Ministry Still Relevant? Surprisingly Yes!

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This summer while leading Just5Days (a middle school summer mission experience) , I was taken aback by the reaction of middle school youth  to a small, simple thing . Of course, the youth loved providing service out in the community, participating in our community prayers , and all the games and activities we did. B ut , something else surpris...
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Experiencing Solidarity

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If one member of Christ's body suffers, all suffer. If one member is honored, all rejoice. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 ​ I recently wrapped up leading a middle school mission experience, Just5Days , in Weslaco, Texas. It was an awesome week with many unexpected events! This year's theme was on solidarity and it sure felt like we experienced that on a wh...
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