Winners Named in 17th Annual Youth Apostles Prolife Poster Contest

    Peter Clem No Comments
    First Place Junior Division YA Prolife Poster Contest

    First Place Junior Division YA Prolife Poster Contest By Nicholas Villazon, St. Francis of Assisi School

    First Place Senior Division YA Prolife Poster Contest

    First Place Senior Division YA Prolife Poster Contest By Rachel Burkhardt, Paul VI High School











    The winners in the 17th annual Youth Apostles Prolife Poster Contest have been selected! The theme was “Precious in God’s Eyes.”

    There were 386 entries. Participants came from the following schools: Paul VI High School, Oakcrest School, Angelus Academy, Holy Spirit School, Sacred Heart Academy, St. Agnes School, St. Francis School, St. James School, St. Michael’s School and St. Timothy School.

    The entries evinced not only creativity and artistic talent, but also understanding and appreciation of prolife values.

    The first place winners are included so they are available for printing and use during the March for Life.

    The winners are as follows:


    First Place: Rachel Burkhardt, Paul VI High School

    Second Place: Eliana Uriana, Paul VI High School

    Third Place: Chris Susco, Paul VI High School

    Honorable Mention:

    Katie Hogge, Paul VI High School

    Natalie McCarthy, Paul VI High School

    Lisa Nguyen, Paul VI High School

    Isabella Whitfield, Paul VI High School




    First Place: Nicholas Villazon, St. Francis of Assisi School

    Second Place: Mai Anh Nguyen, St. Michaels’ School

    Third Place: Katherine Pham, St. Michaels’ School

    Honorable Mention: 

    Athena Aruizu, Holy Spirit School

    Hannah Goff, St. Agnes School

    Abigail Parker, Holy Spirit School

    Katie Payne, Sacred Heart Academy

    YA Full Member Mike Filamor in the National Catholic Register, to appear on EWTN’s Life on the Rock Friday August 14th

    Peter Clem No Comments


    Here is the interview!

    mikeMike Filamor has been a Full Member of Youth Apostles since 1994.  He is currently the coordinator for Full Member Formation.  Since the summer of 2010, on a volunteer basis, he has served as coordinator of St. Veronica Young Adults, which is comprised of members in their 20s and 30s, singles and married people alike.  He just stepped down at the end of May this year after five years of service.  During Mie’s tenure, St. Veronica Young Adults has grown from a small handful of members to one of the fastest-growing youth adult groups in the Diocese of Arlington, drawing hundreds of young adults from all over the DC area to their big events and dozens to their high quality, thought-provoking studies.  Most of all, at the heart of it all is their welcoming, caring charism that has created a loving and thriving community of true brothers and sisters in Christ.

    St. Veronica Young Adults’ reputation has grown to the point of garnering regional and national media attention:

    Gathering as brothers and sisters in Christ (Arlington Catholic Herald, November 19, 2013),24641

    ‘Extravaganza’ for young adults: More than 250 young adults savor barbecue, games, music and dancing Aug. 9. (Arlington Catholic Herald, August 13, 2014),26819

    Mike Filamor was interviewed by a fellow young adult and freelance writer in the National Catholic Register on January 4, 2015.  Mike relates the origins and tremendous growth of St. Veronica Young Adults the past 4 and a half years:

    Millennials’ Ministry Makes an Impact in D.C.

    Young-Adult Group Flourishes as Part of the New Evangelization 

    For a PDF scan of the full printed edition:

    For the full article online:

    Finally, EWTN heard about St. Veronica Young Adults because they own the National Catholic Register.  EWTN reached out to Mike Filamor in June and invited him to be interviewed on their 45-minute show Life on the Rock on August 14, 2015 at 8 pm. They asked that he bring another member of St. Veronica Young Adults to the interview.  The taping was on July 23, at EWTN headquarters in Alabama.

    According to EWTN, the topic will be “Michael Filamor and Linda Grijalba demonstrate how St. Veronica Young Adults has become one of the fastest-growing and most active young adult parish groups in the Diocese of Arlington.”

    Mike credits the Youth Apostles and his countless mentor brothers in community for getting him into ministry and inspiring and guiding him through the years.

    Youth Apostles Pro-life Essay Contest Winners Named!

    Peter Clem No Comments
    Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster winner this past winter.

    Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster winner this past winter.

    The winners have been selected in the 21st annual Youth Apostles Institute Pro-life Essay Contest. The theme was “Be Pro-life Because…”

    There were 253 entries; they came from 10 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Arlington as well as Regina Angelorum Academy Academy in Ardmore,

    Through the contest, we hope to provide a way for young people to express their pro-life beliefs and principles, as well as to provide teachers, youth ministers, and parents with an activity they can use as a complement to instruction and ministry.

    The winners are as follows:


    First Place: Maria Burgess, Grade 11, Paul VI High School

    Second Place: Frank Lucchetti, Grade 9, Bishop D.J. O’Connell High School

    Third Place: Brook Stanley, Grade 11, Paul VI High School

    Honorable Mention

    David Anand, Grade 11, Paul VI High School

    Mary Camarca, Grade 11, Seton School

    Molly Cox, Grace 10, Paul VI High School

    Kat Peete, Grade 11, Paul VI High School

    Joseph Rogowski, Grade 11, Paul VI High School

    Katherine Zain, Grade 9, Bishop D.J. O’Connell High School


    First Place: Daniella Negrete, Grade 8, St. Francis of Assisi School

    Second Place: Lauren Dietrich, Grade 8, St. Timothy School

    Third Place: Madeline Ryan, Grade 8, St. Ann School

    Honorable Mention

    Kate Gonzales, Grade 7, Holy Family School

    Jack Harter, Grade 7, Holy Cross Academy

    Jordyn Hurley, Grace 8, Angelus Academy

    Nicholas Hurley, Grade 7, Angelus Academy

    Chloe Martin, Grade 8, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Michael McCarthy, Grade 7, Regina Angelorum Academy

    Abby Snarzk, Grade 7, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Full Member Workshop 2015 (VIDEO!)

    Peter Clem No Comments

    This past weekend, our Full Members gathered for our annual Full Member Workshop at our Main House in McLean, VA. We began the day with an hour of adoration during which Fr. Jack gave us his Director’s Charge (video below!). He encouraged the brothers to “focus” and to “fight”. The day was primarily centered on making amendments to our Statutes but the busy work did not take away from a wonderful day to gather as brothers and cherish each other’s company. The day ended as we began it, in the chapel. However instead of adoration, we celebrated Mass, which was the culmination of our gathering.

    First Annual Norfolk Golf Tournament

    John Lilly No Comments


    The needs of our Norfolk Community have been growing ever since Chip, Andrew, and Fr. Mike first ventured down to Old Dominion four years ago. Now, with the presence of Youth Apostles growing in the Hampton Roads area, there existed a need to increase revenue.

    The answer was found in hosting our first annual golf tournament at Sewells Point in Norfolk, VA. Local members of the Norfolk community made up our golf committee, including two from Colley Ave Copies. They gave us valuable feedback throughout the past few months in regards to prices, sponsorship information, prizes, and much more. We are extremely grateful for their help!

    IMG_5720A beautiful, picture-perfect day kicked off the tournament. As they arrived for check in, they were warmly greeted by staff and volunteers. Each golfer received a goody bag and a boxed lunch. Many decided to practice their swing at the driving range, while others opted for the putting green. After warming up and grabbing a bite, golfers teed off promptly at noon.

    There were numerous highlights throughout the day. Though there were only 13 foursomes (52 golfers total), all of them had a great time on the course. The surprisingly open course allowed the golfers to finish in about four hours! This is typically unheard of for tournaments. They were delighted to get done early, and begin eating as quickly as possible.

    A handful of ODU students were also present as volunteers throughout different parts of the day. They welcomed the golfers, handed out lunches, and took pictures.

    IMG_5768Raffle prizes and awards were handed out during dinner. Darrell Larch, Bart Barton, John Swingle and Matt Daugherty won first place and Mike Bennett, Nikki Bennett, Fr. Jack, and Jim Mueller won second place. Other prizes given out included gift cards, Bridgestone golf balls, and a golf-tune up with a local golf pro.

    The day yielded between $3,000 and $4,000 in profits. We are extremely grateful for God blessing us on this adventure, and we hope to see everyone again next year!

    A big thank you goes to our committee members and Colley Ave Copies. Their help ensured we had a successful and enjoyable golf tournament in 2015.

    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!

    Palms, Self-Awareness, and Lord of the Rings: Reflections from the WOYA Silent Retreat

    Peter Clem No Comments

    By Claire Morrison


    The Woman’s Youth Apostle’s were joined by some of the wives of Youth Apostle’s brothers for the retreat.


    To say that I was excited to take part in this year’s annual Women Youth Apostles Retreat would be a great understatement. As I drove past farms and fields on the way to the San Damiano retreat center, I reflected back on my hectic week (and year), praying that this partially silent retreat would offer some literal and spiritual peace. I wish now that I had the ability and means to convey all of the ways in which the Lord blessed me and transformed me throughout this retreat. For now, I will limit myself to highlight three themes that the Lord wove into my retreat experience:

    “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.”


                When searching for a way to frame my retreat experience, I couldn’t find words more fitting than the opening lines to Our Lady’s canticle. For quite some time now, I have struggled with spiritual dryness, leading to feelings of lowliness and, often times, subsequent loneliness. Needless to say, when faced with a lack of spiritual consolation, the prospect of spending the majority of each day in silence for prayer and reflection becomes daunting. But His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). During the first full day of retreat, I was praying in one of the center’s sitting rooms. Once again becoming frustrated at my lack of consolation, my eyes fell on a picture of an autumn tree. As my eyes alternated between the picture and the gorgeous scenery outside the window beside me, the image of myself waiting, underneath a similar tree, beside a dirt road that winds into the distance began to form. Jumping at the chance for an Ignatian-like meditation, I tried to center myself in prayer and will the Lord to appear to me on that road. But he didn’t. So I opened my eyes, once again frustrated, and sketched, with minimal skill, that mental image onto a page of my journal. While doing so, the Palm Sunday Gospel passage popped into my mind. Quickly, I returned to my room and read the passage (Mt: 21: 1-11). I felt that my tree and palmsundayearnest waiting in the meditation had purpose; it was as though I was waiting for Christ to appear on that road on His way to Jerusalem. In that thought came consolation. My experience with spiritual dryness is just that: I am attempting to patiently wait and maintain hope that the Lord will once again bestow upon me the blessing of an intimate experience in prayer.

    Self-awareness vs. Too self-aware

                The first talk on retreat was given by one of my sisters in community, and one particular element remained with me throughout retreat: self-awareness is good, but especially as women much of our sin and brokenness comes from being more aware of yourself than the God who loves you intends. How true is this?! Like many others, I struggle with the sin of forgiveness of self, a sin equal to failing to forgive our neighbor. In praying with this, the Lord gave me the image of a microscope. A microscope, when used with the wrong lens or focused too finely, magnifies not the biology and matter of the slide’s intended subject, but instead focuses on the nothingness between and around cells. Overwhelming and unnecessary self-awareness, particularly in regards to our faults, failings, and sins, causes us to loose sight of the inherent beauty that God designed in us, and His perfect love for us. 


    Lord of the Rings Metaphors Can Be Used to Explain Everything

    Anduril1            When the before mentioned first talk of retreat centered on using hobbits to explain the concept of Pelagianism, the Catholic nerd in me rejoiced but did not expect others in the group to turn to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings lexicon to describe other aspects of our retreat and faith; when they did, my heart soared even higher. A rival only to Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Tolkien’s works and the resulting films served me as a source of wonder and point of study—even with uses in ministry! It was not so much of a leap then, to find a connection to more deeply change my perspective on my spiritual dryness. For those unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings, one of the main characters, Aragorn, in a moment of desperate need and hope, is given the sword Narsil, reforged from the shards it was broken into after being used to defeat the realm’s most gruesome enemy, Sauron, centuries before. The films take a moment to highlight how Narsil is remade: each segment is heated, molded to the corresponding piece, hammered into place, then quickly cooled by being forced into cold water. The Lord has taken great care to warm and mold my heart to Him with moments of great consolation and spiritual adventures including retreats like this one, World Youth Day 2011, service and leadership opportunities, joining a community…and His great love and generosity has helped me to withstand the many losses and struggles that we all face in life. My lack of consolation should not be synonymous with loneliness, but my faith may be akin to a reforged sword being first molded by an exhilarating flame, and then tempered with the necessarily taciturn water that is spiritual dryness, all under the dutiful care of the most talented craftsmen, God.

    I cannot emphasis how impossible these insights would have been to conceive without the silence, time for prayer, and words of wisdom from our speakers throughout retreat. And now, having been granted a formal opportunity to reflect on my experience, I can truly appreciate the spiritual progress the Lord fostered within me.

    woya 2

    (Left to Right) Fatima Esterninos, Tiffany Lambert, and Claire Morrison made a 5 year commitment within Women Youth Apostles.

    To close, I go back to where I began: excitement. I am excited for the year ahead, for its spiritual possibilities and time with the Youth Apostles and Women Youth Apostles communities. I am excited at the prospect of this reflection reaching someone who likewise is, has, or may come to know any degree of spiritual dryness. To those readers, and to anyone who took the time to read these insufficient musings on the amazing work of our great and loving God, thank you for your time, witness, and prayers! And lastly, I am excited to shamelessly plug next year’s men and women’s retreats—it could change your life, I promise! If you feel the Lord calling, please join us to learn more about the Youth Apostles and Women Youth Apostles communities and other opportunities like this retreat; we would love to meet you!

    World Day for Consecrated Life 2015

    Peter Clem No Comments

    By Jonathan Mundell

    bishThis past Saturday Bishop Loverde celebrated a Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in celebration of consecrated life. Four of our consecrated men in Youth Apostles (Fr. Ramon Dominguez, Fr. Tom Yehl, Peter Clem, and Jonathan Mundell) were honored to join for this celebration. As we sang the entrance hymn, our two priests were among the thirty priests (religious and diocesan) processing toward the altar. Peter and I were seated with consecrated men and women from about twenty different communities. Also in the congregation were parishioners of St. Thomas More and lay faithful from other parishes in the diocese.

    Rev. Mark Mealey, O.S.F.S., a religious priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, was the homilist. His homily, of course, focused on consecrated life. He spoke about how the consecrated are called to live a more intensified Christian life and how we must go out into the streets. He focused on three points from Pope Francis about ministering to others: the art of accompaniment, the virtue of tenderness, and being a person for others. He spoke of how the art of accompaniment is the gift of our presence to those most in need and is connected to the art of listening. This true listening is the openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which spiritual encounter cannot occur. The two questions he asked as he spoke about the virtue of tenderness were: “How do we welcome the tenderness of God?” and “Do I allow God to love me?” He pointed out how much the world needs the virtue of tenderness today. And lastly, he spoke of how being a person for others means that we are called to sacrifice, to live and serve the other. He encouraged us to invest ourselves in fulfilling the needs of others.

    As the prayers of the faithful began, Peter Clem and I went to the back of the church with Carmen groupBriceño (All Saints), Sr. Irene Cody, R.S.H.M. (Marymount University) and two other religious sisters. The six of us were chosen to present the gifts. What an amazing experience it was to process with my brother and these consecrated women and present to the bishop these gifts of bread and wine which would become the Body and Blood of Christ! I reflected on what gifts God is calling me to present to Him, little though they are, so that He can transform them and use them to bring others closer to Himself.

    After communion, Bishop Loverde expressed words of gratitude. He spoke of being grateful to the consecrated men and women in the diocese and those who have gone before. He asked the Lord for many new members to these communities and encouraged the laity to be open to this vocation. He quoted Pope Francis in saying that this Year of Consecrated Life is to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope. To cap off the night, there was a reception following the Mass. The bishop was kind enough to take a picture with the four of us which was a great blessing! How wonderful it is to be part of the Catholic Church and to be consecrated to the Lord in Youth Apostles!


    Fr. Jack Celebrating 200th Anniversary of St. John Bosco

    Peter Clem No Comments

    DBC-161351-26617115Last Friday, Fr. Jack was invited to the Don Bosco Christo Del Rey High School in Takoma Park, Maryland to celebrate Mass and be the main celebrant. This was a particularly special day because it was to remember the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco. During his homily, Fr. Jack talked about how St. John Bosco meant a great deal to him personally. He shared this story from his visit to Turin where the great saint is from:DBC-161351-26617134

    “We made our way up to the main altar, and then I turned to the right and there was Don Bosco’s tomb. I was drawn to the kneelers in front of his remains. I put my head down to pray and I found myself weeping for about 15 minutes. My love for him and the connection that I felt with Him overwhelmed me like a title wave. I was so close to him, his beloved oratory, where he labored so hard for so many years, in the Church that he build in honor of the Blessed Mother…It was a profound experience of a saint who had truly become my spiritual companion.”

    He went on to encourage the youth that “When we have a mom, dad, uncle, aunt, teacher, youth worker, priest or coach that cares for us, spends time with us, advocates for us, encourages us, spend lots of time thanking God for them.” Fr. Jack spoke of the many great qualities of St. John Bosco and why the boys were willing to listen to him, particularly the great care he showed. It was in loving that they listened to him. He spoke about how St. John Bosco often taught the boys that being a good Christian meant being a good citizen. He went on to clarify that a faith-filled Christian:

    • Is responsible for their daily duties, persevering in the face of obstacles;
    • Is generous with others, especially those in need;
    • Is committed to living high moral standards even when others around them are not;
    • Is quick to address an important need even at personal expense.

    Finally, he concluded his homily talking about a modern day mentor in his own life, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who led Fr. Jack during his formative years in seminary and continues to stay in touch when he is in the DC area.

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