Vocations

Vocations Awareness Day

John Lilly No Comments

Jonathan Mundell and two Women’s Youth Apostles, Tiffany Lambert and Krysti Patient, represented the Youth Apostles community and the Women Youth Apostles community at Vocations Awareness Day this past Friday. The Religious Vocations Awareness Day Fair held in Finnegan Fieldhouse at Franciscan University of Steubenville welcomed and brought together representatives from nearly 100 different religious orders and dioceses from around the country (and world!)! Students of Franciscan University, and anyone else who was wondering if God could be calling him or her to religious life or the priesthood, were invited to come and learn more.

Catholic Campus Ministry Summit 2016

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ARISEThe Catholic Campus Ministry Summit (for college students) and the Diocesan Youth Conference (for high school students) took place concurrently in Richmond this past weekend.  The CCM Summit was Friday night to Saturday night and the Diocesan Youth Conference was Friday to Sunday.  Over 1800 youth and young adults came together to celebrate their faith.  Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT was the keynote speaker for the CCM Summit. She was an incredible speaker and used her personal stories to powerfully deliver the Gospel message.  The high school and college students came together for the evening program on Friday night which featured the Catholic entertainer Danny Ray.  He is a magician and did marvelous tricks which confounded and impressed the crowd.  Everyone was also together for daily Mass with Bishop DiLorenzo on Saturday morning.  The high school and college students had separate CCM Summitsessions for the rest of the weekend.  Two of our Youth Apostle brothers gave concurrent sessions for the college students.  Fr. Jack Peterson, YA gave one entitled What do I do today? Discernment in your daily life.  Chris Hitzelberger gave another entitled WWJD: Why wait? Just date!  In all there were 15 Youth Apostles and 3 Women Youth Apostles present for the event.  Some Youth Apostles came with Virginia Tech, some came with Old Dominion University, and some were assisting behind the scenes.  There was a booth manned by Jonathan Mundell, Tiffany Lambert, Clarissa Maciel, and Krysti Patient who spread the word about Youth Apostles and Women Youth Apostles.  Ben Jacobeen and many other Youth Apostles joined at the booth different times throughout the day.  Mike School and Andrew Waring did a great job helping to lead the whole event.  All in all, a wonderful event!

Closing of the The Year of Consecrated Life

Peter Clem No Comments

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This past Saturday, Bishop Loverde celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More to Close the Year of Consecrated Life. Pope Francis ended the Year on February 2 in Rome but in the United States, the ending was pushed to this past weekend so that many religious from our diocese could be present. The Gospel was the story of the great catch of fish when Jesus told St. Peter and the disciples to throw their nets in after they had caught nothing all day and then had a great catch.

During his homily, Bishop Loverde gave three “clues” from the Gospel that point to the consecrated life. First, he spoke of the community. Peter wasn’t alone and it was pointed out that Peter said, “we have worked hard.” Bishop encouraged us that “we cannot work alone for the Lord.” The catch is too large for anyone one person to bring in but instead we are to find strength in numbers. The second takeaway was the head. While there is a group that Jesus is addressing, he speaks with St. Peter, the leader of the group. Bishop encouraged us to be united with Peter’s successor, the pope, and to work with him. Quoting Pope Francis frequently, it was suggested that we review our attitude with the pope. However Bishop Loverde continued, expressing that every community has their own successor or leader. As men and women of community, we are too look to our leaders and be obedient to them. The final fishing clue was the catch. It was not one fish at a time but instead a large net set out. “Extend the net widely!” Bishop Loverde charged the consecrated present to cast the net so as to catch as many souls as possible. Although after even one person is gained for Christ there is great rejoicing, we need to be professionals in community who “fish far and wide to the peripheries.”

To conclude his homily, Bishop expressed his gratitude for all those who have given their lives in service to the Church and for their great love of God. “Don’t forget your first vocation, your first call.” This was a great reminder to me how I need to always be grateful to God for calling me. First to be His son and second to the consecrated life to serve Him. It is Youth Apostle’s mission to inspire the young people we interact with to realize this call from God: that the first and most important thing is they are a beloved child of God.

Year of Consecrated Life Video

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Pope Francis YCL

Fr. Jack joins with Pope Francis in celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life by sharing some of his thoughts on why their gift of self has always been important to the Church.

World Day for Consecrated Life 2015

Peter Clem No Comments

By Jonathan Mundell

bishThis past Saturday Bishop Loverde celebrated a Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in celebration of consecrated life. Four of our consecrated men in Youth Apostles (Fr. Ramon Dominguez, Fr. Tom Yehl, Peter Clem, and Jonathan Mundell) were honored to join for this celebration. As we sang the entrance hymn, our two priests were among the thirty priests (religious and diocesan) processing toward the altar. Peter and I were seated with consecrated men and women from about twenty different communities. Also in the congregation were parishioners of St. Thomas More and lay faithful from other parishes in the diocese.

Rev. Mark Mealey, O.S.F.S., a religious priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, was the homilist. His homily, of course, focused on consecrated life. He spoke about how the consecrated are called to live a more intensified Christian life and how we must go out into the streets. He focused on three points from Pope Francis about ministering to others: the art of accompaniment, the virtue of tenderness, and being a person for others. He spoke of how the art of accompaniment is the gift of our presence to those most in need and is connected to the art of listening. This true listening is the openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which spiritual encounter cannot occur. The two questions he asked as he spoke about the virtue of tenderness were: “How do we welcome the tenderness of God?” and “Do I allow God to love me?” He pointed out how much the world needs the virtue of tenderness today. And lastly, he spoke of how being a person for others means that we are called to sacrifice, to live and serve the other. He encouraged us to invest ourselves in fulfilling the needs of others.

As the prayers of the faithful began, Peter Clem and I went to the back of the church with Carmen groupBriceño (All Saints), Sr. Irene Cody, R.S.H.M. (Marymount University) and two other religious sisters. The six of us were chosen to present the gifts. What an amazing experience it was to process with my brother and these consecrated women and present to the bishop these gifts of bread and wine which would become the Body and Blood of Christ! I reflected on what gifts God is calling me to present to Him, little though they are, so that He can transform them and use them to bring others closer to Himself.

After communion, Bishop Loverde expressed words of gratitude. He spoke of being grateful to the consecrated men and women in the diocese and those who have gone before. He asked the Lord for many new members to these communities and encouraged the laity to be open to this vocation. He quoted Pope Francis in saying that this Year of Consecrated Life is to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope. To cap off the night, there was a reception following the Mass. The bishop was kind enough to take a picture with the four of us which was a great blessing! How wonderful it is to be part of the Catholic Church and to be consecrated to the Lord in Youth Apostles!

 

Year of Consecrated Life Begins!

Peter Clem No Comments

YCL logoyear-of-consecrated-life-prayer-english-backToday, Advent and the new Church year begin. In 2013, Pope Francis declared that this year would be a year focused on Consecrated Life, specifically for celebrating the gift of the vocation and a call to “wake up the world.” Last week, he released a letter to all consecrated people addressing his wishes for the upcoming year. You can find the letter here. The USCCB has also released their plans for the year with three particular events and a prayer for the year.

As Youth Apostles, we hope to take part in this wonderful opportunity. Our consecrated gathered last month to discuss it further in ways that we as consecrated can be renewed in our own commitments and ways in which we can tell others the good news of our vocation. Our hope is that young people will be open to the Lord’s call, “Come, follow me.” Please pray with us this year for the consecrated in our community, our brothers and sisters around the world, and all those discerning consecrated life. Keep posted for various events we will be planning for later this year!

Fall Consecrated Gathering

Peter Clem No Comments

By Fr. Jack Peterson, YA

 

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The eight Consecrated men of Youth Apostles broke away from their routines for an overnight gathering to a house at Lake Anna on Monday and Tuesday this week. Fr. Peter and Jonathan coordinated this blessed opportunity to build community. Creating occasions for formation and fellowship among the Consecrated is even harder now with two of our Consecrated clerics spread out around the state.

FGGIt was a brief but enjoyable gathering. We prayed together, enjoyed the peace and calm of the lake, spent some of our time conversing around an outdoor fire pit, went for an after-dinner stroll, and watched “For Greater Glory” later in the evening.

For me, the highlight of our time together was the afternoon when we discussed four questions and the conversations that they yielded which were uplifting, enjoyable, and fruitful.:

1. How shall we celebrate the upcoming Year for the Consecrated?Pope Francis YCL

2. Shall we establish a habit for the lay Consecrated?

3. What do we want future assignments for our priests to look like?

4. How can we better live our promise of poverty as Consecrated men?

Another highlight was the blessing of having Peter Clem join us for the first time. We are thrilled to have him spend this year further discerning God’s call in his life.

May God bless our Consecrated men with the grace to grow in holiness and to live out their commitment with fervor and joy. May He bless our community with more men who discern the call to dedicate their lives to building God’s kingdom among young people alongside us. Click here for more information on vocations within Youth Apostles!

Franciscan University Vocations Fair 2014

Peter Clem No Comments

IMG_1344This past Friday, Jonathan Mundell and I headed up to Steubenville, Ohio for Franciscan University’s annual Religious Vocations Awareness Day. There were over 40 different religious communities there with a table and someone to tell interested students about their community. It was inspiring to see the life of the Church and the great joy every community had in telling others about what part they play in bringing more souls to Christ. It was a great opportunity for Youth Apostles to stand among some of these religious communities who are hundreds of years old and know that we have a unique place within the history of the Church. Nearly every person who came to our table, both religious and students, were fascinated by our community. The most talked about topic was how we are a mixed association of single, married, consecrated lay, and consecrated clerics and the dynamics of how we are able to share in the beauty of every vocation within the context of community. The other aspect of our community that most intrigued others was our focus on doing youth ministry. Everyone who stopped by our booth to explore Youth Apostles loved how we see youth ministry as the most important thing to be doing. Jonathan and I were renewed in our own vigor to live fully the mission of Youth Apostles through the constant explanation of who we are and what we do. The trip was also great because we were able to catch up with a couple of students from the NOVA area along with Jonathan’s sister Kristen.

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First Week Consecrated

Peter Clem No Comments
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Me with my new consecrated brothers (missing Fr. David Sharland)

I wanted to take some time to sit back and reflect on my first week of consecration because I believe it has truly been an exciting experience worth sharing.  To begin, Saturday was indeed blessed.  To have so many come out to share in the wonderful celebration of 35 years of our community and my initial consecrated commitment was humbling and breathtaking to see.  It was very difficult to get through the Mass from the very first note of “We are Called” because the idea of making my commitment went from being an idea to a reality to be lived out.  Consecrated life in community has been on my heart for a little over 4 years although Youth Apostles has always been present in my life since I was born due to my grandparent’s and parent’s involvement.  The promises are so beautifully written and to be reading them before the altar took much energy because of the great joy in my heart that decided to show itself through many tears.  It was an incredible experience to be making this commitment before so many that I love and have loved from various aspects of my life: family, brothers in community, friends from childhood, high school, college, and from time at All Saints as an intern.   I reflected on how all these people and the experiences with them led me to this moment that is not the end but indeed the beginning.  I am so grateful to all those that came!

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Reading my commitment

Fast forward a few hours and I was getting up for my first Holy Hour with my consecrated brothers.  As some may know, I struggle very much so with getting up in the morning, let alone praying while trying to keep awake.  However, God is so good and this past week has yielded not only 100% attendance but also a deeper prayer life through the Liturgy of the Hours and moments to gaze upon Jesus in the Eucharist and speak to Him in the quiet of my heart.  I have had many reflections which I hope to share with my brothers, young people I serve, and any who would like to hear them 🙂  Due to the very structured nature of this first year, I have increased my prayer to almost 3 hours a day to include Holy Hour, Liturgy of the Hours, daily rosary, Mass, and random moments to just sit in quiet.  On top of this I am also diving right into spiritual formation reading that will lead to more opportunities to grow.

On top of this increase in my prayer life, both quantitative and qualitative, I have had many opportunities to spend time with brothers outside the chapel by going to their houses for football games, helping out with various chores around the house, playing soccer, watching movies, playing board games, cooking dinner, and most importantly eating together.  The meal times are some of my favorites because they lead to so many various conversations and I feel the change in how I want to engage my brothers in a more intentional way since my consecration.

I am so eager to continue this year with a joyful heart and although there are challenges, I know that through the grace of God and with the help of my brothers, this will be an incredible year that will lead me to a strengthened holiness on the journey to Heaven.  Please pray for me in my journey and that more men will consider consecrated life within Youth Apostles.  Know that I am praying for you daily and if you have any specific intentions, please let me know at pclem4@gmail.com. For more information and an AWESOME video on vocations within Youth Apostles check out  http://www.youthapostles.org/our-community/vocations.

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