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Fr. Jack and Fr. Peter released to Youth Apostles

John Lilly No Comments

Effective June 29, 2016, Bishop Loverde has agreed to release Fr. Peter and Fr. Jack for full-time service with Youth Apostles.

With the release, Bishop Loverde has also decided to assign another Chaplain to George Mason Catholic Campus Ministry. GMU has been a fantastic place for ministry for our community, and it will be hard for Fr. Peter to leave after 16 years of ministry. Fr. Peter leaves Mason in good hands, with 11 full time staff members (including six FOCUS Missionaries). He has made a tremendous impact among the students, as well as on campus with many student organizations. Bishop Loverde has appointed Fr. James Searby to serve as Chaplain.

In the Richmond Diocese, Bishop Francis DiLorenzo and Mike School have extended an invitation to have Fr. Peter become the Chaplain at James Madison University. After much prayer and discussion, we have decided to assign Fr. Peter there with great hopes for the future for him and for the ministry at JMU.

Finally, Bishop Loverde has entrusted the pastoral care of the Chaplaincy and Campus Ministry at Marymount University to our community for three years. At this time, Fr. Tom Yehl will continue as Director and Chaplain of Campus Ministry and Fr. Jack Peterson will continue as Assistant Chaplain.

Marymount’s Poland Pilgrimage

John Lilly No Comments

By Benj Emrich:

Benj reading at JPII's home parish

Benj Emrich reading at JPII’s home parish

This summer Marymount University’s Campus Ministry organized a pilgrimage to Poland. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the trip.  On this pilgrimage we were able to follow in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II, St. Faustina Kowalska, and St. Maximilian Kolbe among other saints.  Throughout this trip we were able to visit many important places of the culture of Poland as well as explore its Catholic identity.  After a very long flight over the Atlantic from Dulles and a layover in Frankfurt, Germany I arrived in Poland very eager to experience all that it had to offer for my faith.

Madonna of the Black Tears

Image of the Black Madonna

After arriving in Poland we immediately began to tour the city of Warsaw. We traversed its streets in the official bus of the Polish National Soccer Team, and saw many important landmarks and buildings such as the Polish embassies.  Arriving at the Shrine of our Lady of Czestochowa, or the “Queen of Poland,” we were able to view the Black Madonna, a beautiful Icon of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus.  We celebrated Mass there in a side chapel, spent some time in prayer, and then got settled into our hotel.

ourladyofczetochowa catherdal

Our Lady of Czetochowa Cathedral

The next day we continued to explore the Shrine of our Lady of Czestochowa where we received a tour of the beautiful shrine, had Mass in the chapel of the Black Madonna, and had much more time for personal prayer.  This is where the devotion Poland has for the Blessed Mother moved me the most! Afterwards we drove to Krakow where we had a brief tour and got settled in our hotel.

On the fourth day of the pilgrimage we drove to Wadowice, visiting the birthplace and home parish of John Paul II and had Mass inside.  We then proceeded to a monastery / retreat center in Kalwaria where we toured the grounds and had a lot of time for personal prayer. Kalwaria was high up in the mountains, which made it a beautiful place to be.

maximilian kolbe chapel2

Fr. Jack and Fr. David celebrating Mass in St. Maximilian Kolbe’s chapel.

The fifth day was a very moving day.  We spent time touring the Auschwitz concentration camp.  It was eye-opening for me to see firsthand this place about which I had heard so many terrible things.  We walked around the grounds, saw the living (or dying) conditions, and even walked through the gas chambers.  On our tour we passed by the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe died. This was a very moving experience because he is a true model of Christian courage.

On day six we traveled into the mountains to Zakopane; this was definitely the most beautiful and breathtaking place we visited in Poland.  We started the day with Mass in a local chapel and then spent the remainder of the day touring Zakopane and its local markets.  We also traveled by funicular railway to the top of one of the mountains where we could see a beautiful, albeit foggy, view of the town and its many mountains.

Mass in the Cathedral of the Salt Mines

Mass in the Salt Mines

Day seven was spent at two neighboring locations. The first was the brand new Shrine of Spirituality dedicated to John Paul II and the second was the Shrine of Divine Mercy where St. Faustina lived.  This was a day filled with prayer.  We had Mass in St. Faustina chapel within the Shrine of Divine Mercy, we toured the monastery grounds as well as those at the Shrine of Spirituality, and then we had free time to explore, pray, and visit many religious shops.

On the eighth day we drove to Wieliczka where we toured the oldest salt mine in Poland.  This salt mine is a beautiful piece of art.  We celebrated Mass in the St. Kinga chapel, which was within the mine. All the artwork, the altar, ambo, presider’s, chair, etc., were carved entirely from the salt.  The rest of the day was spent touring downtown Krakow.  We visited and toured the Gothic Royal Castle as well as Collegium’s Mauis.  After this we had dinner in a local restaurant where we experienced more traditional Polish food as well as music and dancing.

For our last day before our departure we traveled to Niepokolanow, a beautiful shrine dedicated to and designed by St. Maximilian Kolbe.  Here we spent the day in prayer, celebrating Mass in a chapel that was built when the Franciscan mission was first established in that area.  After this, we had another groupdinner of ethnic polish cuisine, we toured more of Warsaw, and then prepared for our departure the next day.

The 10th and final day of the trip was a sad day because we were saying good-bye to this place we had come to love.  While our group was leaving Poland and all of its spiritual wonders, the things we learned there and how we grew in our own faith will stay with us.  Personally, Poland delivered to me many spiritual gifts that helped me to grow in my understanding of the saints and devotion to the Virgin Mary.  I can definitely speak for everyone who went on the trip in that we all grew greatly from the experience of traveling to this beautiful and faithful land of Poland.

Youth Apostles Institute to lead campus ministry efforts at Virginia Tech

Chris Johnson No Comments

YAman_newThe Youth Apostles Institute has accepted an invitation from the Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, the bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, to lead the Catholic campus ministry at Virginia Tech. The appointment will go into effect June 1, 2013.

Rev. David M. Sharland, YA, who has served as the chaplain and director of the campus ministry at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, since July 2007, has been named the new director of campus ministry for Virginia Tech’s Newman Community.

Chris Hitzelberger, a Full Member in Youth Apostles who has coordinated the parish youth ministry programs at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia, since June 2004, joins Father Sharland as the assistant director of campus ministry.

“It is with great joy and gratitude to God, that we announce this appointment,” said Rev. John P. Peterson, YA, the general director of the Youth Apostles Institute. “We are honored by the invitation to take on this important ministry that serves the large Catholic student population of such an outstanding university and we look forward to the opportunity to assist the Church in bringing Christ to the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech.

“We are also most grateful to Father John Grace for the years of generous and dedicated service to the Catholic community at Virginia Tech.”

The McLean, Virginia-based Youth Apostles Institute is a mixed association of the Christian faithful whose 80 Full Members and Candidates are committed to evangelize, teach, advise, challenge, console and love young people with the ultimate purpose of inspiring them to live Christ-like lives centered on prayer and the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Youth Apostles Full Members lead the diocesan youth ministry offices in Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses. Others are responsible for youth ministry programs at six parishes in Virginia and the campus ministry programs at Marymount University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University and Christopher Newport University.

Marymount University – Alternative Spring Break Trips

Chris Johnson No Comments

Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. [Matthew 14:28-29]

This March, Marymount University’s Campus Ministry took three different alternative spring break trips, all united by one theme: Step out of the boat. Two trips offered were a-days-trip away; Cranks, KY, for hands on demo and construction service and Stamford, CT, to volunteer for the Sister’s of Life and join alongside the Sister’s ministry of life. The last option was to travel abroad to experience the culture of the Dominican Republic, continuing to build the mission diocese of the Arlington.

42 students made their unique response to Jesus’s call, giving up their week long spring break to devote themselves to serving others. With limited, or no, cell phone use, humble living spaces and the eye opening realities of poverty, every student experienced a beautiful self-examining transformation. All returned to campus with a greater joy for their current situation and appreciation for what they have. Many seeds of God’s love were planted daily on each trip through the graces of Mass, opportunity for Confession, communal prayer, themed talks given by students and evening small group discussion. With plenty of stories and pictures, the first ever ASB reunion was organized last week, reaffirming God’s continual movement through every students experience. Thanks be to God!

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