The Challenge to Care for Our Common Home

As I write today, it is pouring rain and once again my neighborhood is under a flash flood watch. While this might be normal for some parts of the world, I live in a place that proudly boasts 300 days of sunshine per year. The Colorado Mountains are known for clean air, blue skies and plenty of sunshine and those of us who live here love to get outside and hike, bike, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

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Fostering a Culture of Encounter with Young Disciples

Fostering a Culture of Encounter with Young Disciples

Join us and thousands of people from around the world starting April 12, 2015 for a five-week free online learning experience on helping young people encounter Christ and the Church! Each week will have a Master Teacher(s) focusing the topic around a chapter from the apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium or The Joy of the Gospel. Surrounding that topic will be other experts and practitioners helping you put that theme into context in a variety of NetSourcing Learning Communities, such as clergy, parents, faith formation, and ministry with high school youth, middle school youth, or young adults. 

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Hope - Suubi - Solidarity

Hope - Suubi - Solidarity

Suubi is the word for hope in Uganda.  It is a word that can inspire, challenge or make us run in fear. I am choosing the first two and invite you to join me on  little journey.  I first met Moses in a Facebook Youth Ministry group. He was so excited about what God was doing in his country and felt called to do something for the youth and families in his community.  He was so eager to learn about social justice - a new concept to him.  We had so many conversations about service, justice, what the Catholic church has to say about human dignity, poverty, hunger and needs.  I learned that his community was hit very hard by AIDS and HIV, leaving so many children sick and orphaned.  The community was finding it very difficult to care for everyone....and many go without basic needs today.  Moses challenged his youth group to build a home for a homeless family - and I was amazed at how this poor community and even poorer youth found a way to build a tiny brick home for this family. It was beautiful and of course empowering. The youth wanted something more to do...so Moses helped them feed the hungry in their community. They gave up their own breakfast one day to share it with the school children in need.  I was overwhelmed by this beautiful act. There is no excess from which to give in this community - people are giving from their own food, own shelter, own clothing.  It shook me to my core. I thought of all our YNIA teams - and their own fundraising efforts to come on a YNIA week. You all earn the money to give up a week to serve in the name of Jesus.  It is radical.  It is a paradox.  It is our faith. We will soon be sharing with you a little project Moses and our YNIA team have come up with to bring breakfast to the children in Masaka, Uganda. We hope to have each YNIA team host a breakfast to raise money to help our friends grow maize. This maize will be breakfast for the children. You and I know we learn better, feel better and do better if we have full tummies. 

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Partnering with a Purpose

I have always believed in Catholic Relief Services, its mission, and its work. So when CRS invited the Center for Ministry Development to partner in developing FoodFast for 2015, we said YES without hesitation. FoodFast is CRS' 24-hour interactive experience for youth which engages them in exploring issues of hunger while fasting and raising money to feed those who go to bed hungry every night.

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Announcing New CMD Staff

I am excited to announce an addition to our ministry staff. Angel Barrera will join the Center for Ministry Development as a Project Coordinator for Youth Ministry Services on January 5, 2015. Angel has over 10 years of experience in ministry with youth and families in parish, campus ministry and diocesan settings. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Religious Studies from University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. He has been serving as the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Brownsville.

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Hail Mary Ministry

My wife and I were visiting our daughter's at their college football game this month. It was a great 59 minutes of football for the home team, until a Hail Mary pass in the last ten seconds gave victory to the other side. This was a surprising and disappointing experience, but it made me think about why we call it a "Hail Mary" pass.

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Change the World!

One of the most incredible things about high school youth is their depth of compassion, willingness to serve and sense of adventure.  With those three ingredients - they really can change the world.  So what needs changing?  When there is a need not met - that's when change is needed.  When there are children or families in our communities who are hungry - elderly who are lonely or neglected, when mental illness  is not addressed and  homelessness becomes a way of life and not just a temporary thing - change is needed! Service and mission trips help us to keep our hearts pliable and our eyes searching for those in our midst who need the love of Christ.  A high school mission trip with YNIA makes changing the world an everyday event and it empowers young people to stand up, choose to be the salt and the light that changes things - that brings hope, healing and joy. 

Best of Youth Ministry Access for January

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Rejoice in the Season of Christmas with Youth January 1, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Mary, the Mother of God: We, too, are Theotokos! by Leota Roesch (high school) Praying with Mary: Direction for Life by Cheryl M. Tholcke (high school) Following Mary's Example: Saying Yes to God by Ann Marie Eckert (high school) The Many Faces of Mary: Who is...
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Mission Trips Really Do Make a Difference

Emily---Blog-Header
Sometimes we question how much of an impact mission trips for high school youth really make. Do they help deepen a sense of missionary discipleship in those who participate? Or are they a one-time "feel good" experience which doesn't extend beyond the week? God sends me the answer to this question in really incredible ways, and I'd like to share on...
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Best of Youth Ministry Access for December

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Advent: Celebrate this Season of Anticipation with Youth Preparing Our Hearts: Youth-Led Advent Reconciliation Prayer Service by Susan Searle (High School) Anticipation Advent: The Joy in Waiting by Genni Sayers (Middle School) The Pursuit: Advent Labyrinth Walk by Hannah Quast (High School) 24 Hours of Hope: An Advent Retreat by Leslie Barkin (Mid...
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