Virginia Tech Joins Thousands of Catholic College Students at SEEK 2015

    adecelle No Comments

    My wife Carmen, Father David and I began our year by attending SEEK Conference 2015, an event put on by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). SEEK is an opportunity for college students from across the nation to deepen their relationship with Christ through frequenting the sacraments (daily Mass and adoration with the 9500 conference goers and over 5500 confessions heard throughout the week!), talks given by nationally renowned speakers (Matt Fradd, Chris Stefanik, and Helen Alvaré to name a few), and have fellowship with one another. We were also treated to a Matt Maher concert and a performance by the hot pocket loving Jim Gaffigan.

    Virginia Tech students and campus ministry staff enjoying a meal together at SEEK 2015.

    We brought a small group of students who were interested in attending the conference with us, and were able to have dinner with one another the last night of the event to catch up and see how everyone’s experience went. This was the first year that staff and students attended SEEK from Virginia Tech’s campus ministry, and based on our experience, we intend to bring a large group to San Antonio when SEEK 2017 rolls around!

    It was great to see Youth Apostles represented at SEEK by our lay consecrated brothers Peter Clem and Jonathan Mundell. In addition to joining us for the various talks, Masses and events, they manned a sponsor booth at which they spoke to dozens of students about the mission of Youth Apostles. It was also great to see our brother Youth Apostles from George Mason University (and their students!) at SEEK. The conference was a wonderful glimpse into the strength of the young Church on so many of our college campuses and gave me much hope for the good God is doing through young people each and every day.


    If you would like read more about SEEK 2015, click here

    About the author:

    Andrew DeCelle is a Youth Apostle Campus Missionary at Virginia Tech. Along with his wife, Carmen, he leads Bible studies, mentors students in their relationship with Christ one on one, and finds ways to bring the joy of the Gospel to students through participating through various activities on campus. You can find out more about Andrew and Carmen’s missionary work here.

    Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster Contest Winners Named!

    Peter Clem No Comments
    Senior Division First Place Entry

    Senior Division First Place: Jisoo Shin, Paul VI High School

    Junior Division First Place: Sarah Przybysz, St. Joseph's School (Herndon)

    Junior Division First Place: Sarah Przybysz, St. Joseph’s School (Herndon)

    With the March for Life being one week away, Youth Apostles is happy to announce the winners in the 16th annual Youth Apostles Prolife Poster Contest. The theme was “Welcome Unborn Life.”

    There were 494 entries. Participants came from the following schools: John Paul the Great High School, Paul VI High School, Angelus Academy, Holy Family School, Holy Spirit School, Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Heart Academy, St. James School, St. John Academy, St. John the Evangelist School, St. Joseph’s School, St. Michael’s School and St. Theresa School.

    The entries were beautiful artistic expressions of support for the sanctity of unborn human life and understanding of what a gift it is. Not only that, it is inspiring that so many youth used their God-given talent to convey their beliefs and principles.

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

    The winners are as follows:


    First Place: Jisoo Shin, Paul VI High School

    Second Place: Kim Rieder, Paul VI High School

    Third Place: Lucas Jung, Paul VI High School

    Third Place: Katie Hogge, Paul VI High School

    Honorable Mention:

    Rachel Burkhardt, Paul VI High School

    Hyunjoo Kim, Paul VI High School

    Monica Lawrence, Paul VI High School

    Rachel Burkhardt, Paul VI High School

    Katherine Manalo, Paul VI High School

    Jennifer Preston, Paul VI High School


    First Place: Sarah Przybysz, St. Joseph’s School (Herndon)

    Second Place: Schuyler Workmaster, St. John Academy

    Third Place: Annie Hansen, Angelus Academy

    Third Place: Aurora Slovensky, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Honorable Mention: 

    Grace DiLuigi, St. Theresa School

    Grace Dwinnell, St. Theresa School

    Sophia Fayer, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Michelle Hadad, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Chloe Martin, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Caitlin Nalda, Angelus Academy

    Mary Stratton, St. Theresa School

    Lily Tran, Angelus Academy

    Bridget Vaughey, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Regan Willis, St. Theresa School

    Congress in Rome

    Peter Clem No Comments

    Fr. Jack and Ric Cadenas were quite lifted up in Spirit as they returned from the worldwide Congress in Rome for new movements and ecclesial communities.  They gathered at one of the pontifical colleges for talks, panel discussions and meals with leaders of 100 new communities from all over the world.  The 3rd Worldwide Congress was organized by Cardinal Rylko and the staff at the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The focus was on discerning how to implement Pope Francis’ Apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Highlights included meeting the founders and directors of many communities, an audience with Pope Francis, and a casual dinner on the last night with Dr. Phillip Milligan one of the officials from the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    You can find more pictures of the conference and a copy of Pope Francis’s message at the congress here.

    Year of Consecrated Life Begins!

    Peter Clem No Comments

    YCL logoyear-of-consecrated-life-prayer-english-backToday, Advent and the new Church year begin. In 2013, Pope Francis declared that this year would be a year focused on Consecrated Life, specifically for celebrating the gift of the vocation and a call to “wake up the world.” Last week, he released a letter to all consecrated people addressing his wishes for the upcoming year. You can find the letter here. The USCCB has also released their plans for the year with three particular events and a prayer for the year.

    As Youth Apostles, we hope to take part in this wonderful opportunity. Our consecrated gathered last month to discuss it further in ways that we as consecrated can be renewed in our own commitments and ways in which we can tell others the good news of our vocation. Our hope is that young people will be open to the Lord’s call, “Come, follow me.” Please pray with us this year for the consecrated in our community, our brothers and sisters around the world, and all those discerning consecrated life. Keep posted for various events we will be planning for later this year!

    YA Dinner and Auction 2014!

    Peter Clem No Comments

    This past Saturday we had our YA Dinner and Auction, which is one of our biggest events of the year, to help raise funds for our budget. Over 160 people attended the event, not including the 30+ volunteers who made the night possible. Spearheaded by our new Development Director, Gerry Hartigan, we had over 200 items in the Silent Auction and over 20 items in the Live Auction. Fr. Peter Nassetta was our auctioneer once again and did a fantastic job despite some technical difficulties with the microphone. We are still awaiting estimates of how much we raised, however we are positive the night was successful. More importantly the friendships and relationships of those who participated in the event were also strengthened. We want to thank all those who attended the night, those who donated items, and those who volunteered their time and talents to make this event truly blessed for all.

    Fall Consecrated Gathering

    Peter Clem No Comments

    By Fr. Jack Peterson, YA


    YCL logo

    The eight Consecrated men of Youth Apostles broke away from their routines for an overnight gathering to a house at Lake Anna on Monday and Tuesday this week. Fr. Peter and Jonathan coordinated this blessed opportunity to build community. Creating occasions for formation and fellowship among the Consecrated is even harder now with two of our Consecrated clerics spread out around the state.

    FGGIt was a brief but enjoyable gathering. We prayed together, enjoyed the peace and calm of the lake, spent some of our time conversing around an outdoor fire pit, went for an after-dinner stroll, and watched “For Greater Glory” later in the evening.

    For me, the highlight of our time together was the afternoon when we discussed four questions and the conversations that they yielded which were uplifting, enjoyable, and fruitful.:

    1. How shall we celebrate the upcoming Year for the Consecrated?Pope Francis YCL

    2. Shall we establish a habit for the lay Consecrated?

    3. What do we want future assignments for our priests to look like?

    4. How can we better live our promise of poverty as Consecrated men?

    Another highlight was the blessing of having Peter Clem join us for the first time. We are thrilled to have him spend this year further discerning God’s call in his life.

    May God bless our Consecrated men with the grace to grow in holiness and to live out their commitment with fervor and joy. May He bless our community with more men who discern the call to dedicate their lives to building God’s kingdom among young people alongside us. Click here for more information on vocations within Youth Apostles!

    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.


    Be Not Afraid: ODU Beach Retreat 2014

    John Lilly No Comments

    50 students from ODU went on Beach Retreat from September 19th to 21st.

    “Be Not Afraid!”

    These famous words by St. Pope John Paul II was the theme of Beach Retreat this past weekend. Fifty ODU students who participated traveled to Sandbridge, VA for a weekend of prayer and fellowship. Full Members Fr. Mike Kuhn, Jimmy Noone, and John Lilly helped make the weekend a success. New Director Julie LaBelle and student Samantha Glascock also greatly helped organizing the retreat.


    From left: Samantha Glascock, Fr. Mike, and Jimmy Noone

    There were numerous talks given by students and staff, time for adoration and confession on Saturday night, and a good amount of small group time.

    The students exhibited a strong desire to grow in their faith throughout the weekend. The excitement and passion the students had for each other and for the Lord was tremendous.

    Many students lives were touched on the retreat. Candidate Sean Mazary gave a talk on how we encounter God in our lives. Fr. Mike also gave a great homily at Mass on Saturday night. He talked about how students need to persevere in prayer and never give up! Christ compels us to go deeper with him.

    Josh Goodman also led the group of students in Praise and Worship throughout the weekend. Here’s a video of one of the songs!

    Overall, the weekend was a huge success. Many students said the retreat was the best they have been on since Youth Apostles came to ODU. They had a great sense of community throughout the weekend. The students continue to inspire the revamped staff, and the year promises to be exciting!

    2014 Pro-Life Essay Contest Winners

    John Lilly No Comments

    Junior Division First Place

    Arianna Z. Tilley

    Angelus Academy

    In Matthew 5:13, the Gospel explains that we should be “salt of the earth” but not live in the world. In other words, we must not get trapped in the world’s troubles, but rather work to draw the world to God. One of the many troubles that the world has today that prevents us from fulfilling this mission is the lack of protection for life. To help make out world a universal “culture of life,” we must reach one heart at a time through prayer and action.

    Prayer is the most important means to build a “culture of life.” During prayer, we lift our hearts and minds to God. Thus, praying for those who abuse the gift of life is a good way to reach their hearts. This will allow God’s love to penetrate their hearts.

    After all, Pope John Paul II did say that the prayers of children are very powerful. Although our prayers as the children of God are powerful, they are often not answered right away. Thus, we must pray with perseverance (always). Prayer is an indirect and powerful way of reaching many hearts; however, the right actions are also important to fulfill our mission to build a “culture of life.”

    It is often said that actions speak louder than words. We must live out our faith as Catholics, showing what it truly means to be pro-life and treasure the gift of life from God. Some ways that we can show our commitment to the culture of life include voting for pro-life candidates, having rallies, and participating in programs such as 40 days for life. Many politicians have great influential speeches, but they only go so far. For example, the candidates may have the passion, but they don’t have the strong deep conviction that we need to have in debates on the pro-life issues.

    The deep conviction that we have as Catholics has the ability to carry a far deeper meaning and it sends it into the hearts and minds of others. We can also use our powerful speech and our actions to create a culture of life in our daily lives. This can also play a great effect on our culture of life, because we are setting a good example for others who may not be pro-life and may gain interest in doing so.

    Creating a culture that is full of life and happiness, through prayer and action, will bring peace to us and everyone around us who sees and is drawn to it. Using prayer and action, along with our gifts and talents, and doing it patiently, and with loving kindness, we can ultimately build a culture of life that will endure and spread for generations to come.


    Senior Division First Place

    Courtney Check

    Paul VI High School

    A culture of life can be built in many ways because each individual and every family in the world is completely unique and, so, their pro-life views may be used much like paintbrushes in the hands of an artist to paint a beautiful picture reflecting God’s love and truth. Some families may welcome many children into the world, while others may adopt one or two or not have any children at all. It is not the size of one’s family that makes it pro-life, but rather its mentality.

    To be pro-life means to love life! A pro-life person sees God’s goodness in every single human being. It does not matter how young, old, sickly, or disabled one is. Indeed, these are the most vulnerable groups in society. Pro-life people see the beauty and goodness in these frailties and in all God’s children who they know have value and worth. They fully recognize that every human being born into this world is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. It is this behavior, loving all God’s children, that embodies and radiates God and His affection to the world. This is the only thing that will ever build up the culture of life.

    Many artists can paint different landscapes, but the one thing that they all have in common is light. For, in the dark, nothing can be seen. It is black. Likewise, in building a culture of life, each person and family must have the light of God with them. For, if they do not, it is impossible to see, to love, as one should.

    This should not cause fear. God is never far away. He said, “Knock and the door shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7). He resides in every human heart and all one needs to do is seek the Lord and He will reveal Himself, give light, so that one will understand, know, and adore Him more. Additionally, reading and studying the Bible can help one intellectually comprehend God at a deeper level – for ignorance is not a virtue. It is important to desire spiritual growth as one progresses through life.

    Yet, it is more important to “do” than to “know.” If we, Catholics, wish to build up a culture of life, it will only be done by “behaving our way to success” or loving others because of our personal love for and devotion to God. Actions speak so much louder than words. This, in turn, will open the hearts of those who disagree with us so that maybe a little seed will get in — and seeking truth themselves, they will find God who sends light and grace for them to blossom and grow.

    Swinging into Summer: 18th Annual Golf Tournament

    John Lilly No Comments

    Fr. Tom Yehl with Nicki Bennett

    This past Monday, May 12th, Youth Apostles hosted it’s 18th Annual Golf Tournament at Raspberry Falls in Leesburg, VA. The event was well attended by golfers, sponsors, Youth Apostle brothers, and volunteers.


    Golfers enjoy a great shot

    There was a total of 96 golfers, who thoroughly enjoyed their day. The weather was perfect for golfing. The rain held off just long enough for all the golfers to get in a good round! The shotgun start sounded at 1pm, and golfers raced to get to a good hole. After the initial rush, foursomes started at the front and back nine’s to get a good day of golfing in.

    Father’s Jack, David, Peter, and Tom were all in attendance to the delight of many.

    Youth Apostles grossed $106,531 total dollars. There were a total of 14 volunteers, who all had a splendid time taking pictures, checking golfers in, and helping with setup.

    Check out more pictures from the day on our Facebook page.

    It was a gorgeous day for golf, and we hope people will join us next year, May 11 at Raspberry Falls again!

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