Author Archives: jmundell

    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!

    Good Friday Stations in McLean

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    As I bask in the light of Easter joy, I remember what made this possible. I recall the sacrifice Jesus made on Good Friday for each and every one of us. On this most recent Good Friday morning I looked out the window of our Youth Apostles house in McLean and saw a long procession of minivans and cars. Our circle was so full that many of them had to park on the street. Moms and dads, children young and old emerged from their vehicles. They were all coming to the Stations of the Cross at the Youth Apostles house.


    Fr. Ramon Dominguez, YA has done a Holy Half Hour on the first Friday of each month for a number of years now. Children of all ages come with their moms and dads to a special half hour of adoration in our chapel and then snacks and playtime downstairs. There have been a few years where Good Friday falls on the first Friday of the month. It is on those years that instead of adoration, Fr. Ramon has done the Stations of the Cross.


    IMG_5261When it is a nice day they will use the outdoor Stations of the Cross on the path between the Youth Apostles house and St. John the Beloved Catholic Church. However, on this particular Good Friday it was raining, which, while somewhat unfortunate, seemed very fitting. Fr. Ramon was already prepared for Plan B which was doing the Stations of the Cross in our chapel. There I was, watching about 60 parents and children file into the chapel. Fr. Ramon was amazingly calm with all the noise and activity around him. He had one child volunteer to hold the cross at each station. As they went from one station to the next I could tell that the children were anxiously awaiting their turn to hold the cross.


    What a beautiful sight this was! So many families were able to pray and participate in the Stations of the Cross. All the children were certainly making a joyful noise to the Lord but at Youth Apostles they were in good company. I couldn’t help but think back to the actual Stations of the Cross over 2,000 years ago. I am sure there must have been an enormous amount of noise and bustling around. Yet there were many people like Simon of Cyrene and the weeping women who were touched by seeing Jesus as He carried His cross. I am grateful Fr. Ramon provided this opportunity for families to gather and be touched by these same events!


    Jonathan Mundell is a lifetime Consecrated Full Member in Youth Apostles. He recently made his lifetime consecration on December 13, 2014. He is currently serving as the Vocations Promoter for Youth Apostles.

    Youth Apostles goes to Vocations Fair at Franciscan University of Steubenville

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    Our community of Youth Apostles was blessed to participate in the annual Religious Vocations Awareness Day at Franciscan University of Steubenville which took place on October 18, 2013. Around 75 religious communities and dioceses from around the United States were represented. It was a great blessing to seeDSCN7083 crop so many religious priests, brothers, and sisters, diocesan priests and seminarians, and students full of love for Christ. We learned about many communities and they were able to learn about our community of Youth Apostles. It was a special blessing to see and talk to Fr. Jaffe, the director of vocations for the Diocese of Arlington.

    We also had the opportunity to talk to many students who stopped by our display. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to talk about our community, who we are, and what we do. Overall the day was full of faith, fun, and fellowship. When there are that many communities and dioceses represented in one place you get a better picture of how big the Church is. What a blessing it is to see this  representation of the universal Church!

    Don Bosco Center Celebrates “Mega Week”

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    Copy IMG_2602At one of our recent staff meetings the Don Bosco Center staff dubbed the week of January 20 “Mega Week”.  Why?  I am  so glad you asked!  On Monday, January 21 we did not have regular Don Bosco Center (DBC).  Instead, since they were off school, we took our group to ice skate at the Fairfax Ice Arena.  Most of our group of thirty-four donned skates while a couple decided they would watch from the sidelines.  Some skated for a bit and decided they had enough while others skated to the very end.  Most had a good time even if some falling was involved.  Afterwards we took a trip to CiCi’s Pizza and almost put them out of business.  A couple kids even used some of their own money to order wings…I guess the all you can eat pizza buffet wasn’t enough!


    On Wednesday, January 23 we had DBC at regular time which is 3pm to 6pm.  However, there was a special celebration that day.  It would have been the eighteenth birthday of Miguel Hernandez.  He was a regular at the DBC but is not with us now because he was killed while walking home from school two and a half years ago.  His mom wanted to celebrate with us at the Center so she came at 5pm and brought food and drinks for the celebration.  Fr. Ramon led a prayer service for Miguel in front of his memorial.  At the end of the service Miguel’s sister gave out birthday balloons.  We sang “Happy Birthday” to Miguel, let the balloons go, and watched them rise into the sky.  Then we went inside and enjoyed the food and drinks.Copy IMG_3133c

    On Friday, January 25 we took a group to the March for Life.  We had some who had come before and were excited to go again and some who were going for the first time.  This was a great opportunity to talk about why we believe that all life is sacred and also led them to ask other questions about what we believe as Catholics.  We even were able to do part of a novena to St. John Bosco in the van on the way and listen to some Matt Maher music.

    Then on Saturday, January 26 Fr. Ramon, Matt, and Mike took a group to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.  They toured the classrooms, talked to them about what it was like to be in the Academy, encouraged them to pursue their goals, and played soccer!  I heard that a fun time was had by all.  This past week one of the guys who went asked me when we were going again!Copy 2 IMG_3770c

    All in all it was a fun-filled week for the Don Bosco Center…and I didn’t even mention that on that Wednesday Matt and I moved a bed and dresser into a family’s house and on Thursday Fr. Ramon took four seniors and two recent graduates to a leading restaurant in Maryland where they met the staff, talked with the owner, learned about culinary arts, and then went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC for the Pro-Life Vigil Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, from the Archdiocese of Boston (whom they met afterwards).  It was definitely a “Mega Week”!

    Holy Half Hour in McLean

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    Every month for the last eight years the Holy Half Hour has brought joy to the Youth Apostles house in McLean. Father Ramon Dominguez, YA, leads the ministry, which usually takes place on the morning of the first Friday.  Moms, and sometimes dads, arrive with babies, toddlers and older children shortly after 10. The children have fun playing in our lobby and Fr. Ramon chooses one to be the altar server.

    At 10:30 the families enter the chapel and  Fr. Ramon begins with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. He talks to the children and asks them questions. This month, the Holy Half Hour moved to the second Friday to accommodate our community retreat. Since it was still the Christmas season, he talked about Christmas, the nativity and the decorations in the chapel.  One girl asked, “Why do you have grapes on there?” referring to Fr. Ramon’s vestment.  He explained that the wine we use for Church is made from grapes and that there is usually wheat on the vestment too because bread is made from wheat. 


    After they talk Fr. Ramon asks everyone to pray for others. They pray one decade of the rosary together and Fr. Ramon reposes the Blessed Sacrament. Then the group leaves the chapel to go downstairs. The kids enjoy snacks and juice and play on the Foosball table, pillows and anything else they can get their hands on. Even when you are upstairs in the office you know that  many children are having fun and making a joyful noise to the Lord.

    — Jonathan Mundell, YA

    Youth from the Don Bosco Center Receive Sacraments

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    Two teens who have been involved at the Don Bosco Center (DBC) received sacraments at All Saints Catholic Church in July.

    Ronnie, who graduated from Osbourn High School in the spring, received the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. He is very outgoing and is always the first one to welcome new people to the DBC. He has been coming to the Center for a number of years now and it is a joy to see how much he has grown in his faith.   His questions about the faith are deep and lead to great conversation.

    Yasmin, who is now a senior at Osbourn High School, received the sacrament of Confirmation. She has been participating in the Don Bosco Center regularly since the beginning of the summer. It is very inspiring to see these two young people receive sacraments and continue their journey of faith!

    1st Five Year Commitments for Women Youth Apostles

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    On June 23, 2012, six of our sisters (bottom row from left to right: Lauren Traskey, Irene Viorritto, Kathy Sullivan, Kelly Power, Laura Schaefer, and Jessica Kresge) in the Women Youth Apostles renewed their full-member commitments for five years. This is an exciting step for their community because it is the first time that the full members have made five year commitments.

    Women Youth Apostles is a sister community to Youth Apostles. They are a lay community of the Christian faithful with a similar focus on relational ministry with young people in the spirit of St. John Bosco.

    May God continue to bless the Women Youth Apostles community and their ministry.

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