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.


    First Week Consecrated

    Peter Clem No Comments

    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!


    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 For more information and an AWESOME video on vocations within Youth Apostles check out  //

    Happy Birthday Youth Apostles!

    Peter Clem No Comments

    Today is our 35th Anniversary! We celebrated this past weekend with a wonderful Mass at St. John the Beloved and then a picnic lunch at McLean center.  At the Mass, Peter Clem made his initial one year consecrated commitment to the community.  He will be writing a blog about his experience in the next few days.


    Our Lifetime members also renewed their commitments.  When asked what it meant to him, Eduardo Azcarate, the founder of Youth Apostles said, “It is most inspiring to have 20 lifetime members in our community. Our commitment brings stability to the community and assurance of steady growth and continuity in our mission to bring youth to Christ.”


    Over 50 full members along with their families were present and numerous candidates and lots of friends of the community joined in the celebration.  We pray to God for 35 more years of brotherhood, ministry, and service to the Church and God’s young people.

    Youth Apostles Pro-Life Poster Contest is On!

    Peter Clem No Comments

    The Youth Apostles Institute is holding its 16th annual pro-life poster contest!

    The theme for the contest:

    “Welcome Unborn Life!” 

    Through the contest, we hope to provide a means by which young people may express their pro-life beliefs and the values they have been taught at school, in ministry and at home. We also hope to provide an activity that teachers may find to be a useful supplement or complement to classroom instruction.

    unborn baby

    There will be two divisions: Junior (grades 7 and 8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Prizes include first place ($100), second place ($75), third place ($50) and honorable mention certificates.


    • Entries may be on 8.5″x11″ or larger size paper, or on posterboard.

    • Electronic entries also accepted!

    • Entries must address the topic and express a view supporting the sanctity of unborn human life

    • Entries must be a participant’s original work.

    • Entries must include:

    School or parish
    Grade level
    School address or home address

    Entries must be mailed or delivered by Monday, November 17, 2014 to: John Iekel, Youth Apostles Institute, 1600 Carlin Lane, McLean, VA 22101. Entries sent via email go to

    If you would like a poster you may click on the following link: YA Poster Contest Flyer

    If entries are to be delivered, call (703) 556-0914 to notify.

    Entries become the property of the Youth Apostles Institute and will not be returned. Questions? Call (703) 556-0914.

    Kindle the Fire

    John Lilly No Comments

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    Youth Apostles’ has a new Annual Appeal: Kindle the Fire. It should have arrived in your mailboxes already. Pease read it over!  It’s about our college campus ministries and how much they’ve grown over the past few years. We have expanded our reach to Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech University.

     Please prayerfully consider a heartfelt gift to help support our mission and ministry at the colleges. You’ll be able to watch the flame grow on our website as we receive donations from generous supporters such as yourself!

    For more information click here.  

    Come Celebrate 25 Years of Ordination!

    John Lilly No Comments

    Jack and PeterIt is with great joy that we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood of Fr. Jack Peterson, YA and Fr. Peter Nassetta, YA!

    All are welcome to attend and join us in thanking and celebrating two great men in our community.

    The Mass and reception will be held on May 3 at St. Mark Catholic Church. Mass will be at 1:30pm, and the reception will follow at 2:30pm in the Activities Center.

    Check out the Facebook event and our flier for more details.

    Please RSVP to Brian Abrams if you are able to attend!

    Blog Post: Our First Trip to Hokie Town

    John Lilly No Comments

    By Full Member George Brunner

    When Brittany and I decided to take the leap of faith and move to Greensboro, NC, we knew there would be sacrifices we would have to make. Unfortunately, one of those sacrifices was not being able to participate in community in the same way as before. This was a decision we came to because we felt the Lord was calling us move to NC. This would allow me to do campus ministry and give Brittany the chance to find a teaching job. This was a sacrifice that we had–but certainly– didn’t want to make.  Little did I know, I wouldn’t have to completely sacrifice community. In a little town in southwest Virginia sits one of the largest technical schools on the east coast. Many of you are familiar with this institute; and no, I’m not talking about the University of VA. I’m talking about Virginia Tech.

    When I first learned that Youth Apostles was endeavoring to lead the campus ministry at Virginia Tech, I was thrilled. However, at the same time I thought, “This has nothing to do with me (other than I am a Youth Apostle).” My thought couldn’t have been further from the truth. The distance between Virginia Tech and Greensboro, NC is just over a 2 hours drive. I thought to myself, “Many of our brothers travel that far in the state of Virginia to participate in community, so there should be no reason that I should not make the trip to participate with the bothers in the Virginia Tech community.” The reason for our visit was two-fold. First and foremost, I came to gain knowledge from a great sage: the one and only Fr. David Sharland. Secondly, I came to participate in community with our brothers currently living there, including Chris Hitzelberger and his family, as well as Mark Embree and his family (who will join him shortly), and a few other brothers.

    Brittany and I left Greensboro on Friday evening after dinner to travel to the Hitzelberger home to spend time with Chris and his kids. We arrived just in time for bedtime stories (his wife Joanna was unfortunately not with us this weekend.) After the kids went to sleep, Chris, Brittany, and I stayed up for some time reminiscing about past events and how those events led to our current positions. My wife being the lovely old woman she is, decided to partake in her ZZZZZ’s around 10PM, while Chris and I stayed up for another hour chatting about our ministries.

    The next morning we woke up bright and early to the sounds of little voices and tiny feet scampering around the house. I was the first to get up and go into the family room to find all 4 children sitting on the couches watching TV. Since Brittany and I do not have children yet, I was interested to find out what youngsters these days find attractive on TV. Little did I know, the events that were to take place would change my life forever. I received my first taste of Ninjago. The Legos of my childhood pastime had come to life in animation on the television screen. The next forty-five minutes of my life were spent learning as much as I could about these four little Ninjas, their special powers, courageous hearts, and ridiculously amusing attire. As Chris arrived on the scene, it was just about time for Brittany and I to get ready for Mass which was to take place at 9AM at the Neumann Center at Virginia Tech.

    As he normally does on Saturday mornings, Fr. David led us in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. It was a small Mass with a few brothers, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was no different than having Mass at the McLean House on all those Tuesday nights. This was no doubt a Youth Apostle community. After Mass we took a short time to catch up with some brothers. Brittany and Andrew DeCelle grabbed some food, and I met with Fr. David. After our meeting, the real party began.

    Many students from the school were busy working around the house taking down Christmas decorations and placing them in a neat, organized, and labeled fashion which would bring a proud smile to Father David’s face. After we had helped move some boxes, it was time for the little work we had done to be over, and a small celebration to begin. Fr. David had ordered pizzas, the Hitzelberger family had arrived, Mak Embree had finished his work on the stairwell railing, and it was time to eat. During lunch, I got to spend some time getting to know some of the students, discussing who we thought would win the Super Bowl, and most concluding that Denver would have it in the bag. I could already feel the great sense of community with these students, and I know that the community at Virginia Tech will continue to grow. And knowing that Andrew Hadinger would be jealous that I was there and he was not, I could not help but send him a picture of how much fun we were having. He responded, “Not fair!” Unfortunately, our stay could not last as long as we would have liked, but nevertheless we could not leave until after the game of Hide-and-Seek. Everyone was found but Peter Maurer, who claimed, “Well, I guess that means I won.” We said good-bye to our new friends, good-bye to our old friends, and we’ll see you next month.

    Virginia Catholic Campus Ministry Summit 2014

    John Lilly No Comments
    The Virginia Catholic Campus Ministry Summit, hosted by the Diocese of Richmond, is 24 hours of worship, teaching, and fellowship for Catholic college students from all over the state, hosted at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. It is coming up in less than two weeks on January 31 – February 1, 2014.

    Chris Stefanick will be the keynote speaker this year and Jackie Francois will be the doing the music, as well as speaking at the women’s session. The weekend will include workshops on tons of relevant Catholic topics, Mass, Adoration, Confession, and plenty of time for getting to know other awesome Catholic students.

    The cost for the event is only $10 per student, which covers the program, lodging, meals, and bus transportation from schools within the Richmond Diocese (though the conference is open to students from any school within the state).

    All youth ministers and CLC leaders can help out by passing along this info to their kids who have moved on to college, campus ministers and chaplains can help by spreading the word to their students at their various schools, and college men can help by joining us and bringing a couple friends!

    Check out the Facebook event for more info!

    In digest form, here is all the key information:

    Virginia Catholic Campus Ministry Summit 2014

    Date:           January 31 – February 1, 2014

    Location:     St. Thomas Aquinas Church / The John Paul Jones Arena

    University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA


    Any questions contact John Hopke.

    Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

    John Lilly No Comments

    Happy Birthday to Our Holy Father, Pope Francis!

    Today he celebrated his 77th birthday by saying Mass and having breakfast with four homeless people who live on the streets in the Vatican. A small dog even joined in!

    This holy man continues to inspire the lives of those he touches every day. As Youth Apostles, we are committed to evangelize, teach, advise, challenge, console, and love youth with the ultimate purpose of inspiring them to live a Christ-like life. Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has done just this: inspire the youth to lead Christ-like lives! We take great joy in His call to go to the outskirts and bring the youth to Jesus.

    Here are some quotes that the Holy Father has said to encourage young people in their walk of faith.


    “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.”

    “Dear young friends, it is worth wagering one’s life on Christ and on the Gospel, risking everything for great ideals!” (Given at World Youth Day in Rio)

    “Dear young friends, learn to pray every day; this is the way to know Jesus and invite him into your lives.”  Given at World Youth Day in Rio)

    May God continue to bless our Holy Father during his pontificate, that he may be the hands and feet of Christ to all he meets.




    Snippets from St. Mary’s CLC

    John Lilly No Comments

    By Rocco Repetski:


    Bobby Celio, Andrew Hadinger, and myself are moderators at Saint Mary of Sorrows Boys’ CLC in Fairfax, which is a pretty young group right now after graduating two strong senior leaders (Stephen Paquette and Pablo Barrios) from this past year. The group consists of mostly sophomores and younger and we only have two upperclassmen, so the CLC has a much different feel than a couple years ago. The parish just had its confirmation retreat in September and we invited 8th graders to come to CLC afterwards.


    Several young men make commitments at St. Mary of Sorrows CLC Commitment Liturgy on 11/13/13

    We’ve had five 8th graders from the confirmation retreat at our meetings, and they seem to really enjoy the community. Together with our older members we have about 8-10 guys at a typical meeting.

    The CLC Board is:

    President: Henry Urban (junior at Woodson HS)

    Vice President / Secretary: Chris Saenz (sophomore at Robinson HS)

    Treasurer: Zach Paquette (sophomore at John Paul the Great HS)

    In the past month we’ve been talking introducing the CLC concepts of living Truth, Freedom, and Care to the younger members. Furthermore, we had a commitment liturgy last week on November 13th, which we did jointly with St. Leo the Great Boys’ CLC. We had a good group of guys on a summer trip in August where we stayed overnight at the Youth Apostle house in Norfolk and then had Mass and went to Busch Gardens the next day. We’re excited to go on the All-CLC Retreat at the end of the month!

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