World Youth Day - Witnesses of God’s Love

World Youth Day - Witnesses of God’s Love

Over 31 years ago, in April 1985, I was part of a group of fifteen youth ministers from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who traveled to Rome for the first World Youth Day convened by Saint John Paul II. There were not very many present from the United States; I would estimate there were less than 300. We had an amazing adventure staying at a convent, walking into Rome each day or taking the bus. I discovered pizza rustica, with toppings that included a sliced hard-boiled egg and pancetta. More importantly, I discovered the youth center that the Pope created for the event. It was created from space behind the columns of the plaza in front of St. Peter’s Cathedral. It had a simple, beautiful chapel with an altar personally donated by the Holy Father and a replica of the Cross of San Damiano, from the Chapel where St. Francis of Assisi was told to “rebuild my Church.” The words of Evangeli Nuntiandi were written by hand on newsprint in five languages and posted throughout the room next to the chapel. I experienced this document for the first time by reading it and talking with other pilgrims. I will never forget reading the words of Pope Paul VI that describe Evangelization:

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Looking to the Heavens

Looking to the Heavens

Since I was a child, I've always enjoyed watching the night sky. I can vividly remember watching my first meteor shower, my first falling star, and lunar eclipse. These were wonderful and almost magical experiences that opened me to something much greater and grander than anything else I'd know.  

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Summer! The Great Youth Ministry Adventure

Summer! The Great Youth Ministry Adventure

Each June, the Center for Ministry Development begins a new season of mission trips and youth leadership trainings. This past week, Young Neighbors in Action, Just5Days, and YouthLeader all opened across the country. This is an exciting time because it serves as a reminder for us as an organization to remember why we do what we do. Summer is an opportunity for the CMD ministry staff to switch gears from working with adults to spending time laughing, playing, praying, and serving with young people.

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Encouraging “God-Talk”

Encouraging “God-Talk”

My Great-Aunt Clara, who was born in 1887, experienced dementia in her 90’s. I vividly recall a summer day when we picked her up at the nursing home in town to take her for a visit to our farm. We were driving on the highway (I promise I was observing the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit) when she got very upset and started yelling, “Slow the horses down.” She was genuinely frightened, if a bit unaware of her surroundings. But then something quite wonderful happened. She started praying, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, save us. Protect us.”

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"You Gotta Love Them" Online Event for Ministry Leaders [Free Resources]

"You Gotta Love Them" Online Event for Ministry Leaders [Free Resources]

The "You Gotta Love Them" online event was presented live on June 1, 2016. It was an opportunity to join the staff of the Center for Ministry Development in an online event for ministry leaders where we explored welcoming, accompanying, and empowering families.  

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How Families Learn to Serve

How Families Learn to Serve

My mom was a rather busy person. As a nurse with eight children, she volunteered at our school, hosted parties, and did some behind the-scenes things that I was privileged to witness. I didn’t know as a child how those “secret things” would stay with me for my whole life.

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Christ in Me Arise

Christ in Me Arise

As we come to the conclusion of the Easter season, it is a probably a good time to ask ourselves, what do we take with us from this experience of Christ rising?

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Unceasing Prayer and Earth Day

Unceasing Prayer and Earth Day

For many, Earth Day conjures up images of planting trees, recycling your soda can at lunch, and maybe thinking about carpooling. While all those things are good, they can be sterile of any religious or spiritual meaning. We think of these things because we've been taught since elementary school that these are the things we should do to contribute to a cleaner environment. We can all make a difference when we work together.

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What I Didn’t Know About My Teen’s Use of Social Media

What I Didn’t Know About My Teen’s Use of Social Media

Recently ABC’s Good Morning America aired a special series called “What Your Teens Don’t Want You to Know.” In case you missed it, the informative and enlightening series was about teens, their cell phones and social media. As a parent of a thirteen year old daughter, this was a very eye-opening interview. It’s agreed that most parents are concerned about their teen’s use of social media but since it is not something we grew up with, nor is it something we completely understand, many parents (myself included) are a little unsure of this new virtual territory. I believe there is a lot of good that can come from social media but I would be naive to think that it is completely safe and that my child wouldn’t be tempted to engage in activity on it that may get her into trouble. In the series “What Your Teens Don’t Want You to Know,” GMA correspondent T.J Holmes, met with a group of parents and their teenage daughters to discuss phones and social media. The parents in the interview discovered was that their daughters had downloaded “ghost” apps (apps that are not what they seem) on their phones. These apps have secret codes that allow users to send text messages or pictures that are hidden unless you have the code. One app in particular, Calculator+, appears to be just a regular calculator but once you put in your secret code, the hidden app is revealed. By using this app, teens can store private pictures and messages without their parent’s knowledge. The girls in the GMA interview also shared they each have a second Instagram account their parents don't know about. The account called a Finstagram (fake Instagram) and is for their friends' eyes only. "It's basically a fake Instagram that you use to, like, post embarrassing photos of your friends," explained one of the girls.”

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Being Easter People—All Year Round

Being Easter People—All Year Round

With Holy Week and the Triduum just around the corner, I have been thinking about how quickly we set the Easter Season aside and get on with “ordinary” time even when the Church continues the 50 days of celebration. What’s really sad is that we are called to be Easter people all year round. And we just don’t seem to get it. I mean, Resurrection has happened, we are redeemed, Jesus showed us love conquers hate, light conquers dark, and grace conquers sin. We should be shouting “Alleluia!”

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