Campus Ministry

    Food for the Soul: Life is a Pilgrimage

    Peter Clem No Comments


    Fr. Jack shares stories from his recent pilgrimage to Italy with Marymount!


    Catholic Campus Ministry Summit 2016

    jmundell No Comments

    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!

    Recapping Pope Francis’ Trip to Cuba and the United States

    Peter Clem No Comments
    Pope Francis kissing Kolbe Francis Power during the Papal Parade.

    Pope Francis kissing Kolbe Francis Power during the Papal Parade.

    Last week, Pope Francis visited Cuba and the United States for the first time. The trip was packed with many public appearances, private meetings with heads of state, and opportunities for the pope to interact with those who are in most need of God’s mercy. Pope Francis spoke to Cuba and America on many subjects, primarily focusing on the family for a majority of his pilgrimage, ending with the World Meeting for Families.

    Many Youth Apostles partook in opportunities to see the Holy Father. Eduardo Azcarate, along with his wife and daughter, and Fr. Ramon Dominguez joined a group who went to Cuba to greet Pope Francis. Some brothers traveled early in the morning to line the streets for the Papal parade on the National Mall. During the parade, Pope Francis kissed Kolbe Francis Power, son of Full Member Mike and Directress of Women Youth Apostles Kelly Power. Check out the video below! A few brothers received tickets to attend the Canonization Mass for Saint Junipero Serra, including 4 of our priests who concelebrated the Mass. Youth Apostles was given 30 tickets from a couple generous donors to attend Pope Francis’ address to Congress on the West Lawn.

    The culmination of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage was this past weekend in Philadelphia. Saturday night was the Festival of Families with 6 families invited to tell the Holy Father their story and throughout the night, many world class celebrities performed and spoke to a crowd of thousands. Sunday was the closing Mass in which over a million attended. Many of our brothers attended these two events along with teens from our ministries. Virginia Tech was able to bring 150 students and the Diocese of Arlington managed to bring a group of 700 to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.

    Personally, I had an amazing experience. It was my first time see a pope in person and although I didn’t receive a personal encounter, I was deeply moved by the number of people gathered, the joy of all around me, the hearts of the young people I went with, and how the Lord spoke to me personally about the peace He has to offer. One particularly touching story was how we waited for over 4 hours to attend the Mass, forgoing lunch and knowing that we would not have dinner for many hours. We packed many snacks anticipating this and some of our teens decided to give their snacks to the homeless they encountered. This was truly answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries and touch the suffering flesh of Christ. I was being taught this by the youth I am called to serve.

    Below are links to some of the stories that came from this incredible time for our nation.

    Link to story about Kolbe Francis receiving a kiss and blessing from Pope Francis:

    Link to Kevin Bohli, Director of the Office of Youth Ministry, blogging about Arlington’s Papal Pilgrimage to Philadelphia:

    Link to all of the speeches and homilies Pope Francis gave during his Papal visit:

    Fr Jack’s Thoughts on Youth Apostle’s Ministry

    Peter Clem No Comments


    Fr. Jack shares some of his thoughts on Youth Apostle’s ministry after returning from his Marymount Student Leader Workshop in preparation for this upcoming school year.

    EWC #178

    John Lilly No Comments

    Written by: Robert Yorks, Junior at Old Dominion University

    Over the weekend of March 20th to March 22nd, I had the pleasure of attending the Encounter with Christ Retreat #178. Reflecting on it now, I don’t think they could have named the retreat anything better because for me it was truly an encounter. When you look up the definition of the word “encounter,” it is described as an unexpected meeting (but an experience nonetheless). Leading up to EWC, I felt that the retreat had become overhyped and there was no way it could live up to the grand expectations I had developed for it. That’s when I had the most unexpected meeting of my life.

    When we finally arrived at Goshen, VA after about a four hour car ride through all sorts of weather, landscapes, and cows, I saw one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. There was a gorgeous mountain range with clouds wrapping around it making my first sights Grace Bible Camp one of the most photogenic things I had ever seen in my life. However, despite all of its beauty, none of it could really compare to the beauty of God’s love shown to all the participants on this retreat.

    11173601_826909157345443_514091510_nWhile on this retreat, I experienced talks that impacted me in ways I could have never imagined. Ranging from personal spiritual endeavors to serving the community, each talk had a profound effect that I had not expected. But it wasn’t just the talks that impacted me. Tt was the entire atmosphere of people who went. Whether it was in small groups or exploring “Narnia” with fellow participants, this atmosphere never changed. Throughout the entire weekend there was a feeling of kindness and genuine appreciation for one another from everyone who was on the retreat. This was something truly unexpected. Going in, I expected good talks, but heard some of most well-written and perfected talks I have ever heard. I expected to meet cool people, but I got to meet people that I cannot wait to see again. The whole weekend blindsided me, but it was in a phenomenal and profound way since I had not been expecting it at all.

    The theme for the entire weekend was “…like clay in the hands of the potter, so you are in my hand, O house of Israel,” (Jeremiah 18:6) and this was always applicable at EWC. While I experienced the unexpected in so many ways, I was always open to it because of advice from friends who had been on the retreat before. Allowing God to mold my weekend in whatever way He saw fit was what made this truly a spectacular event. Whether this was from a talk, praying Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, or even from just hanging out with people, this retreat showed me how to let God in. Not only that, it showed me how to share God’s love with others.

    One quote that was brought up over and over again on this retreat was “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words,” by St. Francis of Assisi. Whether or not the leaders tried to this, they captured this idea perfectly. Words, while they helped, weren’t necessary because everyone’s actions reflected God’s love and created an environment and a family like no other. Encounter with Christ #178 was truly an amazing retreat that not only opened me up to God’s love, but now allows me to share it with others which is, quite honestly, an even better feeling.


    Marymount’s Alternative Spring Break Trip to Kentucky 2015

    Peter Clem No Comments

    MU ASBA couple weeks ago, Fr. Jack led an Alternative Spring Break trip to Kentucky with students from Marymount University. Check out the video below to here some stories from their trip. Be sure to also check out the ODU trip to Kentucky, the ODU trip to Peru, and the Virginia Tech trip to Michigan!





    ODU ASB Trip to Peru 2015

    Peter Clem No Comments
    Jimmy Noone, Omar Diaz (junior), Jacquelin Portillo (freshman), Joseph Kingett (sophomore), Emi Hernandez (freshman), Daniel McLaughlin (sophomore) and four kids from the Hogar.

    Jimmy Noone, Omar Diaz (junior), Jacquelin Portillo (freshman), Joseph Kingett (sophomore), Emi Hernandez (freshman), Daniel McLaughlin (sophomore) and four kids from the Hogar.

    By Emi Hernandez

    A week ago I was very fortunate to go on the ASB trip to Peru with the Catholic Campus Ministry. To say this trip was good would be an understatement; it was an amazing, eye- opening trip that I would love doing again. We volunteered at El Hogar San Francisco de Asis, which is a house where they care for sick and destitute children. The theme of the trip was “Come follow me” Luke 18:18-30 and throughout the trip we did live by this passage. During the week, most of us would either go with some of the kids to a hospital in Lima or stay at the house and help. Those who stayed at the house would interact with the babies when it was baby hour and spend some time with some of the older kids before they went to school. Once the younger kids got back from school and did their homework, they would take them to the park that was near El Hogar. For those of us who went to Lima, we would go to different hospitals for the children to either receive therapy, x-rays or just a consult with the doctor. Once we all returned we would go for coffee with Dr. Tony and he would tell us about some of the kid’s condition. After the coffee, we would return to the house, and the children would sit at the table for dinner; once they had finished we would help clean and then go to daily mass with the doctor. When we got back to the house after mass, some of the older kids that had been at school were eating dinner or helping the other volunteers set the table for our dinner. All the volunteers and Dr. Tony would eat dinner together; once dinner was over we would all clean up and then just spend some time with the kids that were still awake before we left. Our evening consisted of us telling each other about our day. One of us would read a part of the passage then discuss how we were living by that during the week or how we could live by it throughout not only that week but our entire lives.

    Students Daniel McLaughlin, Joseph Kingett, and Jacquelin Portillo play at the park with some of the kids.

    Students Daniel McLaughlin, Joseph Kingett, and Jacquelin Portillo play at the park with some of the kids.

    My favorite part of the day, while I was in Peru, was just being with the kids. We would spend a lot of time with the kids just talking to them or playing with them whether it was at the house or in Lima at the hospital. I also enjoyed talking to the older kids because they would tell me about themselves, ask me about myself, and want help learning/practicing their English. All the kids there were very smart and although some of them were a little bad all they wanted was to just be with you and talk to you. I can say I encountered Christ through the kids; I remember Maya saying in her talk how God is love not just for ourselves and our families but the love we give to one another; those kids were a great example of God’s love. All the kids there gave you their love and although only a few were related you could tell how much they loved each other. You can tell how the older kids would care for the younger ones whether reprimanding them or just consoling them if they were upset. Or how if you gave one of them water they would share that water with the rest.

    Although we were just there a week, I felt and still feel immense love for all those children. Just like the rest of the kids do, you look past all their disabilities and scars and just see them for their true beauty and innocence. Spending time with the kids you see how they are smart, kind, caring, and funny just like any other child. I will always remember Piero, a little toddler who would announce himself every time he came down the stairs, Eriberto (Segundo) who loved shouting random English words and bothering Omar and Maya. Alfredo, who would get so happy to see us and picked flowers for all the girls, and Luz Melita the cutest, happiest little girl who although couldn’t quite walk or talk was always smiling. I could go on and on about every single one of the kids at El Hogar, but I’ll just save it for myself. Going to Peru I thought we would just be helping kids, I never actually thought I would learn so much from them. I hope that one day I have the opportunity to return but for now I will cherish the memories and the love I received from the Children at El Hogar.

    ODU ASB: Come Follow Me

    John Lilly No Comments
    10989151_10205261590451774_4275395873085883893_n (1)

    We had a rootin’, tootin’ good time in McKee, to say the least!

    If you had told me that this Alternative Spring Break trip would include a hospital visit, climbing inside a cave, killing a wasp nest, and incredible moments inspired by the Holy Spirit, I wouldn’t have believed you.

    We were going to McKee, KY, a small, rural town in Jackson County situated in the mountains about an hour from Lexington. Rebecca Koury, the Pastoral Associate at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, would be organizing the service projects for us. She hosts many groups like ours throughout the year.

    The trip started out early. We all arrived at the CCM house at 6:00am and departed a little before 7. We had nine students in total going, including Fr. Mike, Julie, and myself. The first leg of the trip saw us cruze down I-64 East and I-81 south. We stopped for lunch around 12:30, and then proceeded to drive deeper into Virginia. We passed UVA-Wise and then crossed the border into Kentucky!

    Fr. Mike was praying hard all week!

    However, as we started to drive on the windy country roads of Kentucky, one of our students, Thea, started to get sick and threw up. We stopped at a Rite-Aid to get her some medicine, which put us an hour behind the rest of the group. We waited for the medicine to take effect, and after about an hour we departed. However, instead of going north on route 80, we went south. This put us even further behind schedule, and we didn’t arrive to McKee until about 10pm. We spent around 15 hours in the car that day. The craziness only continued!

    The next day we spent time with the parishioners after Mass. After every Sunday Mass, they gather together for a potluck. Many of the families come together to share a meal and quality time with one another. Many of the students played kick-ball with the children, and later in the evening we gathered for our first talk. The evening ended with some discussion about what we hoped to get out of the trip spiritually.


    Freshman Margaret Rhodes doesn’t mess around with Uno.

    However, later that night on Sunday I also got sick. I spent most of the night tossing and turning, and eventually vomited as well. Another one down for the count!

    Monday was our first day on the job, and it included an array of activities. One group visited a family and fixed their wheelchair ramp. Another group visited one of the local schools nearby and spent time with the kids, while others paid a visit to an assisted living center in town.

    However, later that day, another student, Pat, (who was also in the car with Thea and myself), experienced the same symptoms that I had the previous night. He began to throw up profusely around 2am, and he quickly became dehydrated. We took him to the hospital as a precaution, and he also made a full recovery in 24 hours.

    Junior Thea Shaver gives a talk to fellow students.

    At this point in the trip, we had three people get sick in a matter of four days. I was worried that the sickness would demoralize the students, but it did far from that. They persevered in serving the community of McKee the rest of the week. Many of them gave great talks during our reflection time, including candidate Sean Mazary. They saw what it meant to serve the poor and to see Jesus in them. One of the residents we visited, Elmer & Ferry, lived near a cave that had an underground spring! Elmer had set up a chair and had a small pot from which he could draw water. On top of this, Elmer carved magnificent walking canes, chairs, and gun barrels using only his pocket knife. We had found our Kentucky version of Michelangelo in this small cave!

    Thea, who had gotten sick earlier in the week, had a neat reflection on the sickness that had befallen us. She said, “We came here expecting to serve others, but we ended up serving each other.” That summed up our trip in a nutshell. The maturity and leadership of the group amazed me, and I was thanking God the rest of the way home. Praise God for the many ways he worked in the hearts of these nine college students in McKee, KY!


    George Mason’s Encounter with Christ #1

    Peter Clem No Comments

    By Matthew Clem, YA Candidateencounter gmu group

    Last weekend, February 27-March 1, George Mason University held its first Encounter With Christ retreat (EWC). I was blessed to be a part of the team that went on the retreat, which was made up of students. Some adult leaders included YA candidate Tyler Fabian, WoYA directress Kelly Powers, and other Catholic Campus Ministry staff, like that Fr. Peter guy.

    Mason has always wanted to hold these retreats and finally we had a team to get the ball rolling. The retreat brought together people from all backgrounds, Catholic, non-Catholic, non-religious, uber religious, the whole sha-bang! This set us up nicely for the theme, “Come and See.” We emphasized to the retreatants that Jesus loves you and from that flows all else in life. He is waiting for you to accept that love, through a direct encounter with Him, whether it was prayer or dancing to Uptown Funk, or facing off in rap battles (Catholic ones of course!), or even sitting with a brand new person and learning their stories. It was a retreat filled with the love of Christ and community.

    Now the Lord also had to work a special miracle for the 1st EWC. As you all know this winter we have fallen victim to the sheer havoc of the snow miser and the Lord recruited him to send ice and snow on Sunday. We were told the bus could not make it out to West Virginia, where we were, so we were receiving an extra day for the retreat. After several tears, some my own, the chaos died down and we had a night of community. So many blessings were placed on us in our extra night, solidifying the love of Christ in our retreatants. We made it home safe on Monday morning and since then, I have seen them all living the 4th day (which is everyday after the retreat, living out resolutions).

    God Bless and thank you all for your love and prayers!

    Give thanks because he lives!

    John Lilly No Comments

    This season of Lent is a great opportunity for spiritual growth. It can be, though, a drag at times due to the cold weather, failing in our resolutions, etc. Lent always seems to come at the toughest time of the year. I wish it came during the summer; it would be much easier to not eat meat on a nice, sunny day in July. But alas, this is not the case!


    Youth Apostles Ash Wed selife with Fr. Mike and Jimmy.

    However, it’s still vitally important to be thankful during this time. Our culture often prioritizes the negative, from the weather to the Redskins game. This lack of joy is contagious. When one person complains, it’s easy to jump in and complain as well. The spirits of bitterness, moodiness, and grumbling can easily take hold of us. Often it’s good to remind ourselves of the good things God has placed in our lives. Specific things, not just general things like “the air I breathe” or “I had a nice dinner.” Concrete things! Be thankful for good memories, time spent with loved ones, a laugh shared with a brother, or a Chipotle burrito.

    One of the things that I’ve been thankful for is this song by Matt Maher. It’s powerful not only because of the music, but the words behind it. At the Life Is Very Good Rally in January at the Patriot Center, Matt shared a powerful testimony. He had a disease that he thought was going to take his life. He struggled with this for the majority of his life. Just last year, a new drug came out that provided a cure for him. As a result, he wrote this song. Even though he felt dead and abandoned by God, Jesus lived in him. When he was too weak to stand, Jesus took the stand for him. This is something that has resonated in my own prayer life. Christ is greater than any struggle, any sin, or any hardship that I will bear in this life. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”


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