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Stay focused on Christmas!

John Lilly No Comments

Reflection provided by Fr. Jack Peterson

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Christmas Day is celebrated for eight days in the Church. We call it the Octave of Christmas.  It ends on January 1 with the feast of the Mary, the Mother of God.

It is very easy to be distracted during Christmas by a flurry of activities such as enjoyable gatherings with family and friends, returning gifts to the Mall and some extra time for rest. While these are good things, time for prayer easily gets bumped out of our day. I want to encourage you to take time out to pray and reflect upon the great mystery of Christmas this week. Stop by a church or chapel and enjoy some quiet time of prayer in imitation of the Blessed Mother, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2: 19).

Here are a few Scripture passages and questions that might be helpful to you.

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger…” (Lk 2: 7).

  • Can you imagine Mary’s first hug of the Christ-child?

“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over the flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them…” (Lk 2: 8-9).

  • Why did the Angel appear to shepherds?
  • Jacob, Moses and David were shepherds…
  • Jesus would proclaim, “I am the Good Shepherd.”
  • The lowly are often open to God’s presence and action in this world.
  • They teach us how to worship the Christ child with deep, humble faith.

“…laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2: 7)

  • Did the animals in the stable sense something unusual?
  • You know how pets can sense when we are sick or in morning?
  • Did they grasp that something unusual was going on in their stable?

“I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Lk 2: 10-11).

  • How do I allow the beauty of this mystery to bring “great joy” into my life?

The Joy of Being Discovered by Christ

Peter Clem No Comments

Fr. Jack was reflecting on something Pope Francis mentioned a few weeks ago and shares his thoughts on what it is like to experience the joy of being discovered by Christ.

Fr. Jack’s Thoughts on Spotlight

Peter Clem No Comments

spotlight

Fr. Jack recently saw Best Picture, Spotlight. He gives his thoughts on the movie and the issues it addressed.

St. John Bosco

Peter Clem No Comments

1st Mass Fr. Michael Rua

Today is the feast day of St. John Bosco, one of our three patron saints. He is best known for his love for young people, giving his entire life to their service. Fr. Jack shares some of his thoughts on this great saint. Check out the video below!

Food for the Soul: Jubilee of Mercy

Peter Clem No Comments
This is the logo for the Holy Year of Mercy, which opens Dec. 8 and runs until Nov. 20, 2016. (CNS/courtesy of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization) See JUBILEE-MERCY May 5, 2015.

This is the logo for the Holy Year of Mercy, which opens Dec. 8 and runs until Nov. 20, 2016. (CNS/courtesy of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization)

On December 8th, Pope Francis opened the Holy Doors in Rome to begin the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Fr. Jack gives some background to what this year will mean for the Church and how we can take part in this Year of Mercy.

Happy Thanksgiving from Youth Apostles!

Peter Clem No Comments

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May God bless you this Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks to God for all the blessings He gives to us.

Pope Francis’ Trip to the United States

Peter Clem No Comments

Pope Francis is coming to the USA this week! Fr. Jack shares what he is excited about and some of the itinerary for the pope’s trip. Are you making plans to see Pope Francis this week?

Fr. Jack Addresses the Supreme Court Ruling

Peter Clem No Comments

 

weddingLast Friday, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision on the definition of marriage. Fr. Jack wished to share his thoughts and the teachings of the Church with you.

There and Back Again: A Pilgrim’s Journey

John Lilly No Comments

11295935_10102249578523557_1553625835532469684_nTwo weeks ago, I got the wonderful opportunity to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Fr. Peter and Catholic Campus Ministry at George Mason. It was a truly incredible experience. I literally walked in the footsteps of Jesus. There were many highlights throughout the trip, but I’ll do my best to share the most impactful!

Primacy of Peter | Bible Verse – Jn 21: 15-23

11407135_10152943953343170_2950972752037547926_nOne of the places we stopped was the Primacy of Peter. This was right off the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Our guide, Hussam, gave us a quick overview of the spot where Jesus cooked breakfast for the disciples and where Jesus redeemed Peter’s three-fold denial. There is a church built around the rock right off the shore (see picture). It is a strongly held tradition that it was there that Jesus asked Peter if he loved him three times. Personally, I had a great reflection on this passage. Using some good old Ignatian Meditation, I put myself in Peter’s shoes. I imagined what it would have been like to be on the shore with Jesus. The cool breeze against your face, the calmness of the sea as you talked with Jesus. As I talked with Jesus on the shore, I truly felt him asking me to love him better by tending and feeding his sheep. Who are these sheep? They’re my friends, family, and brothers in community. I felt incredible peace talking with the Lord on that shore, just as Peter did.

Mary’s House | Bible Verse – Lk 1: 26-38

11377221_10155532301645125_2902668859358723883_nOne of the other memorable places we visited on our pilgrimage was the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth (which contains Mary’s house beneath it). We had Mass right in front of Mary’s House, where right in this very spot the Word became Flesh! It was so neat to be in such an awesome, yet simple place. Hussam told us that before the New Testament, Nazareth had never been mentioned. It was probably a shock for most Jews to hear that the Messiah was born in Nazareth. God was definitely trying to prove a point, though. Mary’s House, as the picture shows, is really more like a cave. It’s has only the basics, and is incredibly simple. Here, in this backwater town of Nazareth, God came to us. He was definitely trying to make a point. We had a Holy Hour one evening with the Franciscans at Mary’s House. It really struck me how God wants us to focus not on the external but on the internal. Mary’s house wouldn’t have gotten a second look today or back in her time. That didn’t matter, though. Her heart was in the right place, and she was concerned with loving God and her neighbor. That mattered more to her than house! As a Youth Apostle dedicated to imitating Mary’s radical yes, it was also extra special to be at this spot. We pray for her intercession daily in our lives and in our ministries

St. Peter in Gallicantu | Bible Verse – Jn 18: 15-27

11422843_10153420464352112_1960942407_oGallicantu simply means “the cock crows.” It’s at this spot where Peter denied Jesus three times. It was awesome to be in the spot where Peter denied Jesus and where Jesus redeemed Peter’s denial! Fr. Peter celebrated Mass here for us, and afterwards we were able to go down beneath the church. This was where prisoners would have been kept (the church is built over top of Caiaphas’s house). Hussam told us about the two different prisons: one for common criminals and one for extreme political revolutionaries. Jesus fell into the second category since the Pharisees believed he was trying to overthrow them. It was here that Jesus would have stayed the night before he went to Calvary on Good Friday. As you walk into the dungeon, you can see the imprint of a figure on the wall (see picture). The picture is edited so you can make out the figure on the wall. It was difficult to make out at first, but after spending some time the figure of Christ became clear. When I finally made out the image of Jesus on the wall, my heart jumped. I had seen the Lord!  That must have been the feeling the disciples had after they had seen Jesus when he rose. “It was him, he’s alive!” It was a joy-filled moment, and it was truly humbling to know that I stood in the spot Jesus did the night before he offered himself up for us.

It’s not 100% certain that this imprint is of Jesus, but from the evidence found it’s likely that he was here. Above the imprint is a large hole where Jesus would have most likely been hung by chains. To light the dark cell, an oil lamp was used. However, it was also used as a torture device. Oil from the lamp would drip onto the prisoner, causing immense pain. This oil is what left an imprint on the wall, and allows us to see Jesus’s position.

There were many other highlights throughout the trip, and I could write about it for days. Hopefully, though, this gives you a glimpse into the trip and inspires you to go one day! I highly recommend it. The Lord will work wonders!

19th Annual Golf Tournament

Peter Clem No Comments

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Last week we held our 19th Annual Golf Tournament at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, VA. The day was made wonderful thanks to the weather being beautiful, a great turnout of golfers and a delicious barbecue dinner to cap off the day. However, this event would not have been so successful without the guidance of our Director of Development, Gerry Hartigan, the help of our Golf Committee Members and the generosity of our sponsors. Your support of this tournament allows Youth Apostles ministries and outreach programs to reach thousands of children and young adults in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Thank you also to all the volunteers who came out for the day.

Sponsors

Tom & Nancy Woodley Family…………………….…………..Tournament Sponsor

We are blessed to be in a position to support the vital mission of the Youth Apostles community as it continues to expand its ministries in providing guidance and developing the faith of our youth in their service to others.”

—Tom and Nancy Woodley

Pitsinger Family………….…………………………………………………….Dinner Sponsor

Institute of Catholic Culture……………………………………………Apparel Sponsor

Barclays Bank…………………………………………….………………….Golf Ball Sponsor

Tim O’Hara…………………………………………………………………..Golf Cart Sponsor

Metro Earthworks……………………………………….………..Hit the Green Sponsor

Sheehy Auto Stores………………………………………………Longest Drive Sponsor Fr. Tom along with his foursome.

National Delivery Systems…………….Closest to the Pin

Ourisman Automotive…………………..Closest to the Line

Wes Greenway’s Alexandria Volkswagen……………..………..Hole in One

Bill Page Honda……………………………………………………..………Hole in One

Corporate Sponsors and Donors

Bergmann’s CleaningIMG_6389

Betty Jo Kaveney

Bill Page Honda

Bob Pizzano

Corstone Capital

Kevin Fitzgerald

Molly Decker Real Estate

IMG_6428St. John the Apostle Catholic Church

Hole Sponsors

Anne Sharland

Don Smaltz

East Commerce Solutions

Kathy and Steve Pryor

Kevin McCarthy

Nappi FamilyIMG_6447

Otto Hoernig

The Belt Team

Tom and Ann Newell

Wes and Linda Greenway

William Earle

WTOP

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