There are times when I think I am too old to work with adolescents. My memory fails me. My back hurts and my knees creak. I don’t know how to Snapchat, and I wouldn’t know 5 Seconds of Summer from...five seconds of summer! How can someone my age relate to today’s generation of teens?
Subcategories from this category:From the Director
While I was considering a topic for this blog post I was having a conversation with a youth minister. I mentioned that it was Friday and that I was excited about the upcoming weekend. His response was “It’s all the same to me since I work every day.” He even went on to say that “his office was his second home and he often just stayed the night there.” While I totally understand that ministry is important work, his response made me feel sad and I can’t help but think that it makes God feel sad too. After all, even Jesus took time away from “work” to rest. How can we be who our young people need us to be if do not make time to care for ourselves? This is the time of year when many parish youth ministries are gearing up for a new school year. Often times this means scheduling more activities, parent meetings, finding volunteers, and frankly more stress. How will you manage the stresses in your life? How will you model a healthy lifestyle for the young people you minister with?
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: