You Are Not Alone

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    On February 1st and 2nd close to four hundred students from across the state of Virginia gathered in Charlottesville for the 2nd annual Virginia Catholic Campus Ministry Summit.  This weekend was headlined by the Ike Ndolo Band and Paul George.  Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo was present, celebrated Mass and heard the confessions of many college students.  Also in attendance though were 9 Youth Apostles, and a couple of Youth Apostle wives as well.  The message that the Bishop left those gathered with was “You are not alone”.  Twice he mentioned this in regards to the challenges of living out a life of faith, a life of integrity.  What a comfort that as he preached to our students, the Youth Apostles gathered together in ministry could look to each other and know that we are not alone.  Ministering with our brothers is one of the greatest joys and a source of great support for us as ministers.  It was also a great gift to see our brothers in action, as Youth Apostles helped by coordinating the event, hearing Confessions and serving at Mass, and by teaching students about Apologetics and prayer.  The 2013 Summit was a great event and students are continually approaching our staff and sharing how it has helped them to grow in their faith and to learn more about how to live out that faith as a college student.  What a blessing to be able to serve the youth of Virginia, and what a blessing to be able to do it with brothers.

    –Andrew Waring

    A Retreat Reflection — Mary’s joyful “Yes!”

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    Mary's "Yes!"

    Mary’s “Yes!”

    One of my reflection’s  from this past January’s silent retreat:

    Mary, how great it was you said “Let it be done unto me!” Your fiat opened the gate to so many good blessings and to Jesus Himself. Your simplicity when asked by the Holy Spirit “How can this be since I have no relations with a man?” reflected your pure heart and your direct approach. You were probably overlooked in many circles, seen as the “goody-two-shoes.” You were not particularly noteworthy of anything up to this point in your life, except your faith which was extraordinary. You were not afraid of anything; your core was 100% made of God’s love! My fear of criticism is nothing when compared with what you faced bearing a child out of wedlock. Yet you responded in love despite what others might think of you. You didn’t live in their minds; you were concerned with only one mind, namely, the mind of God. Ultimately, that’s the only one that really matters. I pray that I may reflect your great faith by only being concerned with what God thinks of me.

    “Of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:33). God triumphs in the end; Mary knew this, and we need to as well! We cannot serve both God and man; either to God or away from Him. Seek perfection, not mediocrity.

    “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Amen.

    The Norfolk Blog: The March … with a little perspective

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Sometimes you don’t know how good you have it until . . . well . . . until you don’t have it any more. This was one of the conclusions I drew from this year’s March for Life, once I had recovered from it and was thinking clearly again.

    There was a great turnout for the March For Life events from the Richmond Diocese. The Office for Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults coordinated buses, tickets (to the morning and evening Rallies for Life), dinner, and a prayer service for several hundred college, high school and middle school students. An energetic and enthusiastic crowd gathered at the PatriotCenter in Fairfax for the morning Rally and Mass. It was exciting to hear a great roar rise from our section of the stands when Bishop DiLorenzo was introduced!

    Thanks to the wise planning on the part of the diocesan youth office – and some good luck – all three of our current Youth Apostles ministries in the Hampton Roads area (campus ministries from CNU and ODU and the high school youth group from Blessed Sacrament) shared a bus to and from the March for Life events. Six Youth Apostles on one bus from the Richmond Diocese: that has to be a first! More on the bus ride in a moment.

    Bishops celebrate the Mass for Life at the Patriot Center on Jan. 25.

    Bishops celebrate the Mass for Life at the Patriot Center on Jan. 25.

    The March for Life is always filled with inspiring moments, and this year didn’t disappoint. I am always touched by the opening procession for the Mass at the morning Rally; the seminarians, the priests, the bishops – so many bishops! It’s amazing to see so many people at the March. Every year I make it a point to turn around and look over my shoulder when I get the top of Capitol Hill. After walking behind that huge crowd to reach that point I’m always convinced we must be at the rear of the group, but every year I’m amazed to see the crowd still stretches all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue and bends back out of sight towards the Mall.

    This is all in the midst of predictable weather – predictable in that you know it will be bad! This year we had frigid temperatures and snow (I think last year was cold and rainy? – it all starts to run together). Our intern at ODU, Julie, is from Florida and had never been in falling snow before. We made sure she caught a snowflake on her tongue and we got plenty of pictures of Snowy Julie for facebook – if you’re going to be outside for several hours in winter weather in a slow moving crowd you might as well have some fun.

    When I lived in Northern Virginia there were several years when I was not attached to a youth group and I was able to slip down to the March on my own. I remember at least one occasion when I woke up at the regular time, went to work for a few hours, then slipped out and drove to the Metro to catch a train to the Mall for the afternoon. Ah, those were the days.

    Which brings me back to our bus. Things require a little more planning when you live several hours from D.C. In order to arrive in Fairfax in time for the morning Rally, our bus left Blessed Sacrament in Norfolk at 4:45 a.m. In order to get 17 sleepy college students there on time we met them at the CCM house on campus at 4:00 a.m. Don’t doubt there were some serious discussions the night before about the merits of staying up all night versus getting what amounted to a nap.  Fortunately it was a wonderful double-decker bus. The ride up was rather quiet (as you might expect), but on the ride back we all watched October Baby on the video screens. We arrived back in Norfolk at 2 a.m. to find two inches of snow on the ground — more than they got in D.C.!  And with that our 22-hour March for Life marathon came to an end.

    The March was a great event for our students. They were inspired by the events of the day and returned with renewed resolve to stand up for life. But only after getting some well-deserved rest.

    Chip Snyder, YA, is the director of the Youth Apostles community in Norfolk, Virginia.

    Full Member Formation – The Spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Cover & Introduction

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    End Notes


    2012 Youth Apostles Awards

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    This year Youth Apostles will honor three individuals for their commitment and excellence in youth ministry programs. We will honor both a male and female teen with the Saint Dominic Savio and Saint Maria Goretti awards and a youth volunteer with the Saint John Bosco award.

    Please take the time to review the nomination forms and consider nominating someone involved at your parish or place of ministry. YA Full Member Jim Albanese, the awards coordinator, would like to receive the nominations no later than November 9. Please email him at with any questions and share this link with others who may want to nominate someone for the awards.

    Click here for the 2012 YM Awards letter and nomination forms.

    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.

    La Mancha Soars As Both Theater And Ministry

    Chris Johnson No Comments


    It takes dozens of people working toward a common purpose to put on a big musical like The Man of La Mancha.

    Maybe that’s what gives a theatrical production so much potential as a ministry. It inspires people, draws them outside of themselves and brings them together in a kind of communion.

    It helps, of course, when the story is about seeing the beauty in the essence of the other, as Don Quixote does with his lady. She may be the lowly Aldonza to everyone else, including herself, but to her knight she is the peerless Dulcinea. Nothing shakes his way of seeing her. And that is the essence of Christian seeing — how Christ sees each one of us and how we are called to see one another.

    Several Youth Apostles played their parts — Joey Clem as Don Quixote himself and Father Peter Nassetta, YA, (above, at left) as The Padre. Rob Tessier, coordinator of youth ministry at All Saints parish in Manassas, Va., directed the show, which ran July 18-22.

    Norfolk Community Moves to a New House

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    The Youth Apostles community in Norfolk moved to a new location in late April. We were in the original house for less than a year but it had already become too cramped: on meeting nights the members were spread out across all the rooms on the first floor during dinner, and during Mass men were lined up in the dining room and kitchen!

    Early on the morning of moving day, nearly a dozen college students active in the Old Dominion University Catholic Campus Ministry arrived at the old house a little groggy but eager to help out. After waking them up with coffee and donuts the students were ready to go and the truck was loaded up in record time.

    By noon the furniture was unloaded at the new house and Fr. Mike set up the chapel. The students joined the members of Youth Apostles for our first Mass in the new house! After that it was time to relax over lunch of pizza and soda.

    The new house is larger than the first house and provides plenty of room for the weekly Youth Apostles meeting. The best feature: the new chapel comfortably seats a dozen men for Mass! Another exciting feature: a large recreation room on the second floor that is perfect for hosting visiting CLCs and youth groups visiting Norfolk for weekend retreats!

    We are overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve received in our first year in Norfolk and from the great men the Lord has sent us! We give thanks to God for His generosity and the graces He has showered on us! We hope the new house will serve us for many years as community grows and we continue to minister to the youth people of ODU and Norfolk!

    For Directions Click Here

    Thanks to Chip Snyder for Photo’s and Article Content

    Full Member Formation, Bosco Study Groups

    Chris Johnson No Comments
    A reminder that we will continue our FM Formation book study of The Educational Philosophy of St. John Bosco this Tuesday, May 8.  For this Tuesday, please read:

    Ch. 6 – Kindness (pp. 123-138, 16 total pages)

    Led by Mike Power (Basement Group).  Sean McCartney (Community Room Group)

    Rest of Schedule:

    Tue, June 12:   Ch. 7 – Sources of His Thought (pp. 139-188, 50 total pages)
    Brian Abrams has volunteered to lead one group.

    I still need 1 more volunteer to summarize Chapter 7 on June 12 and lead the other group.  Please let me know if you are interested.  – Mike Filamor

    Youth Apostles Weekly Update vol. 9, no. 15

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    In this issue (4/19/12):
    1) Priorities: A few well-earned comforts
    2) Events: Show us what you got
    3) Coming up at 1600 Carlin: Next month, alchemy
    4) Birthdays Sharland.
    5) Prayer intentions
    6) News: Home stretch
    7) Retreat notebook
    8 ) The Fine Print: Heads of state

    1) Priorities:

    Long time comin’: Father Jack signed and returned to the bishop this week the agreement between Youth Apostles and the Arlington Diocese regarding YA seminarians and priests. Key elements include:

    1. Tom Yehl and future priests will spend an initial three year assignment in a parish and then be assigned indefinitely to Youth Apostles.
    2. YA seminarians will have a six-year formation program at Theological College with studies at Catholic University. They will have two out of five summer assignments with Youth Apostles
    3. We will pay for half of the cost for seminary formation plus additional personal expenses.

    More for the awesome file: Three women made one-year Candidate commitments at a commitment Mass at our center last Saturday. Kathryn Cross, Tiffany Lambert, and Erika Laos will all be moving into the new Women Youth Apostles house, which will open in May.

    House work day: Spare us an hour from 10 to 5 this Saturday and there’s no telling but you’ll be able to install all-new copper plumbing throughout the McLean House or muralize the Last Supper on the walls of the chapel. Let’s build something together.

    Hooray, hooray, the month of May: Two weddings to celebrate in Mary’s month. 1) Anthony Foster and Christine Brindza will wed at St. Leo on the 12th and Rocco Repetski and Valerie Nelson at St. Mark on the 19th.

    Summer, Autumn, Winter, Golf Tournament: Please help us find golfers and sponsors for our 16th Annual Tournament on May 21 at 1757 in Ashburn. Eric McDade and the Golf Committee have set an ambitious goal of raising net income from $50K to $75K and your help is needed. Pray about how you can help, from soliciting sponsorships to volunteering on T-day.

    The Match: We have met the threshold at which the donations members make will receive the 100% match offered by an anonymous brother. The community may receive up to $15K in matching funds for donations made from now until June 30.

    Photos wanted: People want to know more about our ministry. Pictures are better than balloons (though maybe not as good as dolphin shows) for making people feel informed and happy.

    What’s going on in your life? Getting married? Making a documentary? Driven the Paris to Dakar Rally? Performed for the Landgrave of Hessen? Your brothers should know:

    2) Events:
    April 21                                   House Work Day (10:00 – 5:00)
    April 28                                  Full Member workshop (8:30 – 5:00)
    May 12                                    Anthony Foster-Christine Brindza wedding @ St. Leo
    May 19                                    Rocco Repetski-Valerie Nelson wedding @ St. Mark
    May 21                                    Golf Tournament at 1757 in Ashburn, Va.
    June 4                                     Fundraising dinner and wine pairing at Creighton Farms
    June 9                                     Priestly Ordination of Deacon Tom Yehl
    July 28-August 4                  Beach Week, Duck, N.C.

    3) Coming up at 1600 Carlin Lane
    Note on coming to dinner: Please remember you are all welcome to join us for dinner on Tuesday nights, just make sure to call us (703-556-0914) to let us know you’re coming. Please try to call before 3 p.m.

    April 24
    St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
    Mass and small groups. Groups that end early may engage in a quixotic attempt to re-animate Eduardo’s entire butterfly collection.

    4) Birthdays
    April 23                       Father David

    5) Prayer Intentions:

    • For Tom Duesterhaus and the Duesterhaus family
    • For vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, particularly within Youth Apostles
    • For the ongoing renewal of the consecrated life in Youth Apostles
    • For the victims of war and an end to war; and for our soldiers and their families
    • For all pregnant mothers and the babies they carry

    6) Youth, Youth Ministry and Catholic News

    N.b., news gathered from third-party sources is intended to meet the broad interests of Youth Apostles and other men interested in Catholic youth ministry. The factual content, analysis, and opinions contained therein do not represent the views of the Youth Apostles Institute or any of its members or employees.

    “After pope’s trip, Catholic bishops seek end to Cuba embargo,” Religion News Service, April 19, 2012
    “Following Pope Benedict XVI’s recent trip to Cuba, U.S. Catholic bishops are pushing the State Department to lift the 50-year Cuban embargo in order to improve religious liberty and human rights for the Cuban people.”

    “Catholic nuns group ‘stunned’ by Vatican slap,” Reuters, April 19, 2012
    “A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns’ group said on Thursday it was ‘stunned’ that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.”

    “YOUCAT Becomes World’s Best-Selling Catholic Book,” Zenit, April 17, 2012
    “The young people’s catechism of the Catholic Church, titled YOUCAT, has reached the rank of the best-selling Catholic book in the world.”

    “Resources for the New Evangelization,” Zenit, April 17, 2012
    “The U.S. bishops have published a document outlining a series of resources for the New Evangelization.”

    7) Retreat Notebook
    “He loves you. He has a plan for you. This plan is for your joy. He wants you to be fully alive. He wants you to be a gift for others.”           — Mike Paquette

    8 ) The Fine Print:
    Member addresses and the Youth Apostles online calendar (// are up-to-date. Please let us know if you have corrections or new events to post; contact me if you can’t access the calendar.

    2010 – 2013 Council
    Director:  Fr. Jack Peterson
    Assistant Directors
    Laity:   Jim Garster
    Consecrated:  Fr. Peter Nassetta
    At-large Council:  Mike Power
    At-large Council:  Chip Snyder
    Formation Director:  Fr. Jack Peterson
    Treasurer:  Chip Snyder
    Secretary:  Bobby Welsh
    Interim House Director:  Erik Teter
    Apostolic Coordinator:  Mike Paquette

    Administrator:  Brian Abrams
    Development Director:  Eric McDade
    Prime Minister of Canada:   John “Trudeau” Nagy

    Youth Apostles Institute    1600 Carlin Lane, McLean, VA  22101          //

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