Youth Apostles 18th Annual Golf Tournament

    John Lilly No Comments

    golfYouth Apostles is proud to announce its 18th Annual Golf Tournament!

    This fundraiser is important for the ministry we do. The money that we raise goes to supporting our work with young people, which is vital to what we do as Youth Apostles.

    Therefore, your help is greatly needed! Please consider supporting our work through this fundraiser. It’s for the youth!

    You can find our sponsorship form and information about how to sign up here.

    The Golf Tournament will be held atRaspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, VA. Register before April 17 and receive 10% off a sponsorship and registration!

    For more information call Kelli Horton, Director of Development at 703-556-0914 or

    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!

    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!

    15th Annual Pro-Life Poster Contest

    John Lilly No Comments

            The Youth Apostles Institute Announces its…

    15th Annual Pro-life Poster Contest


    Theme: Life – The Best Choice


    Two divisions:

    1. Junior (grades 7 & 8)
    2. Senior (grades 9-12)


    1. First Place ($100)
    2. Second Place ($75)
    3. Third Place ($50)
    4. Honorable Mention certificates


    AND! First Place posters will be made available for use in the  March for Life!


    • Use 8.5”x11” or larger size paper, or posterboard
    • Electronic submissions also fine!
    • Entries must be participants’ original work
    • Info to include if participating through a school: include name, grade level, school, and school address
    • If participating through a parish or youth group: include name, grade, parish/group, home address
    • Address the theme! Entries must address the theme and express respect for unborn human life
    • Where they go: Entries must be mailed or delivered by Monday, November 18, 2013 to:
      • John Iekel, Youth Apostles Institute, 1600 Carlin Lane, McLean, VA 22101
      • Entries sent via e-mail go to:


    Entries become property of the Youth Apostles Institute and will not be returned.

    Questions? Leave a message at (703) 556-0914 

    Youth Apostles in Rome!

    John Lilly No Comments

    Dear Community Members and friends,


    I was extremely surprised to receive Fr. Jack’s invitation to join him and Meg Dalmut, the Directress of the Women’s Youth Apostles, on a Pilgrimage to Rome over Pentecost weekend.  He explained that Pope Francis had extended a worldwide invitation to members of Movements and Lay Associations within the Church to gather in Rome to celebrate the Year of Faith with him, and Fr. Jack thought it important to have a layman on the trip.  OK, I stoically said.  If I must represent the lay membership of Youth Apostles on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City, I will.  Anything for the needs of my community!

    ya story pic first page

    The trip, however, wasn’t exclusively focused on the weekend events with the Holy Father.  The Youth Apostles Council has been considering the possibility of changing our Canonical status in the Church.  What we have as a Mixed Public Association (Priests, Consecrated and Lay members all in one community) works well and fits perfectly with our charism as Youth Apostles, but others have been suggesting we explore other possible structures within the Church to aid future expansion.  So, after debating the issue, our Directors decided it was time to visit Rome and get some expert advice.  And, at the same time, Youth Apostles would have the opportunity to connect with other communities like our own, to both learn from and share with others what we are and how we live our vocations.

    YA story pic #3

    Thursday, May 16

    After a long but largely uneventful flight from the States we arrived in Rome tired, but excited about the days ahead.  After quickly settling into our hotel in the Trastevere section of Rome (about 15 minutes by foot south of St. Peter’s Basilica), run by a group of Sacred Heart Sisters, we set off to make our appointments at the Pontifical Council of the Laity.  Canon Lawyer Dr. Philip Milligan  graciously welcomed us to his office, and he gave us some sound advice about how to help Youth Apostles grow.  In short, he encouraged us to keep living our charism as Youth Apostles and not to worry too much about our canonical status.  The good work we do, he noted, will go on and will thrive regardless of how we organize ourselves within the Church, since the Holy Spirit is in charge – an appropriate comment, I thought, for Pentecost weekend.

    ya story pic #4

    We then met with Fr. Eric Jacquinet, Head of the Youth Section of the Council.  Fr. Eric was very interested in learning about Youth Apostles and he was very pleased to hear about our apostolate to youth.  He was especially happy to hear that we both educate and support our membership.  He lamented that today so many young youth ministers are not properly trained for their positions, and may leave all too quickly.  I was very proud at that moment to think about the many Youth Apostles I know who have been so active in ministry for so long.  Before we left, Fr. Jack and Fr. Eric discussed possible future collaborations.

    ya story pic #5


    Later that evening, Fr. Jack celebrated a Mass in the chapel at our hotel.  It may sound strange to say, but Rome is simply littered with beautiful churches.  In our journeys around the city, we were often surprised by beautiful churches just popping up in front of us.  Such an experience was just one of the reasons why I love Rome.  But unfortunately many tourists, even those who look most diligently, will miss many of the city’s beautiful churches, like the one at the hotel, because they are private chapels.  Regardless of where we found ourselves we prayed for Youth Apostles at every holy spot. After Mass we went out to enjoy some of the great food Rome had to offer. When in Rome…

    Friday, May 17

    After a wonderful breakfast of bread and cheese we walked to Sacred Heart Church, built by St. Don Bosco.  The church is near the Termini, the main rail station of Rome.  Along the way we saw the city’s residents commuting to work, which, given the traffic and driving habits of the Romans, I think is a very dangerous thing to do.  I was glad to be on foot!

    ya story pic #9

    Sacred Heart is beautiful, and I absolutely enjoyed being at a church so associated with Don Bosco, the wonderful Silesian priest who is our model for effective youth ministry.  After Fr. Jack celebrated Mass at the main altar (in English, although about a dozen Italian tourists joined the Mass), a wonderful priest from the Church gave us a private tour of Don Bosco’s room and the museum.  Surrounded by Don Bosco’s things, it was easy to feel his spirit.  Also, hearing familiar stories of Don Bosco’s life in our host’s broken English reminded me once again how the life of one person can transform many throughout the world. The remarkable witness of the same crazy priest from Turin clearly inspired both us and our host – regardless of where we live or minister.  Saint Don Bosco, pray for us and the youth we serve!

    ya story pic #8After a bus ride back to the Vatican, we picked up our tickets for the Year of Faith events.  We were told that they expected over 120,000 participants at each event.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  Nor could I believe my eyes, when we entered St. Peter’s Square or the Basilica for the first time.  I last visited Rome in 1987 and I toured St. Peter’s extensively.  I was not mentally prepared, however, to see the Square or the Basilica again.  Over the years my memory of the Basilica and its surrounding areas had faded and I simply didn’t remember the massive scale of it all.  Like most of the tourists, I found myself walking around with my jaw open while snapping pictures that could not capture the Basilica’s beauty or significance.  But, as a Catholic kid from Maryland, I couldn’t be happier.

    ya story pic #11Following a quick stop at a sidewalk café across the river, we set off to find St. Augustino and to pray at the tomb of St. Monica, St. Augustine’s mother.  I love St. Augustine and I enjoy teaching his Confessions, a remarkable story of conversion and the role of God’s grace.  As all who know Augustine’s story, St. Monica played a significant role in her son’s conversion and commitment to the faith.  The two great saints actually shared a momentary vision of heaven, just days before Monica died.  I have long marveled at St. Monica’s dedication to the Faith and to her son, but I was completely overwhelmed when praying at her tomb.  As a husband and parent I prayed for her intercession, so I, like St. Monica, may help my spouse and children grow in their faith and ultimately reach heaven.

    ya story pic #13

    After leaving St. Augustino’s we stumbled into the Piazza Navona, which, in addition to its three beautiful fountains, was filled with artists, entertainers and tourists.  We couldn’t stay long, but we did stop in to pray at another stunning church, St. Agnes.  After a long wandering walk across the river we made it back to our hotel and enjoyed dinner at an outside table, followed by gelato.  A perfect end to a wonderful day.

    Saturday May 19

    We were up early and at St. Peter’s when they opened their doors at 7:00 A.M..  As part of the Year of Faith event we were scheduled to visit the tomb of St. Peter.  After several conversations with a very friendly usher at St. Peter’s we learned that the tour was actually just a self-directed tour of the Basilica.  So, rather than wait in a line to re-enter the Basilica as part of a tour, we took our new friend’s invitation to visit the tomb ourselves.  With a quick word to another usher we were brought immediately down to the crypt, where we had 10 minutes by ourselves praying at St. Peter’s tomb.  Fr. Jack recommended a few scenes from the Gospel for our reflection, and we enjoyed some time with the First Vicar of Christ.  We then looked around the crypt, looking at the tombs of other Popes and dignitaries.  Our Church is old, and it has deep roots back to Christ.

    ya story pic #14We then found our usher friend, who brought us all back to the sacristy where Fr. Jack vested for Mass.  A nine-year-old altar boy soon brought us to the Altar of Saints Processo and Martiniano, St. Peter’s guards in Rome who converted to the faith.  The first reading at Mass was from Acts 28, which discusses St. Paul’s imprisonment and how he found his way to Rome for his trial, and ultimately death. Saints Peter and Paul in one day, and we haven’t even had breakfast yet!

    After a brief siesta at the hotel, we explored nearby St. John the Baptist Church before walking back to St. Peter’s.  Fr. Jack had made plans to meet a dear friend and priest who works at the Vatican for lunch, and Meg and I waited in line to enter the Square for the evening prayer service.  The crowd swelled dramatically as the afternoon went on, and it rained for a few minutes.  Meg and I had general admission tickets, whereas Fr. Jack had a reserved seat near the platform where Pope Francis would address the crowd.  We found great seats in the back of the closest section, near where we expected the Pope to drive by in the pope mobile.  The sun came out as the Square and the neighboring streets started to fill (to a reported 250,000 people!), and musicians and singers entertained us all.  I enjoyed watching the Swiss Guard in their festive costumes, and the Vatican ushers in tuxedos.

    ya story pic #15

    All of the participants in this event were members of various communities and movements.  It was certainly exciting to be a part of a pilgrimage with the universal Church.  Even though I don’t speak any Italian and I didn’t know a soul in the huge crowd, I actually felt at home.  This is Church and I understood the people around me.  That is, we have all been touched by the Spirit, and we’re living our Catholic faith in the Church though the calls of our communities.  And although we were only three members of a relatively small community (at least from the perspective of St. Peter’s in the Vatican), the Spirit within us all made us one.

    ya story pic #16The crowd welcomed Pope Francis enthusiastically.  Soon after entering he drove quickly by our spot, and then he spent maybe 15 minutes driving through the rest of the Square and the Via della Conciliazione.  When the Holy Father finally drove past our section on the way to the platform the most remarkable thing happened –  the Pope’s face light up when he saw Meg, as if he had seen an old friend.  That is, while smiling and blessing the large crowd he suddenly changed his expression and granted Meg a special smile, which I believe counts as a special blessing.  Perhaps it was her holiness, or maybe just her wonderful smile, but the Holy Father was clearly glad that Meg came to Rome for a visit!ya story pic #17

    The prayer service was very inspiring.  Pope Francis talked for about 40 minutes.  I didn’t understand a word of what he said, but it was very clear to me that he loves his faith and that he takes his role as the Pastor of Rome very seriously.  The largely Italian crowd was very respectful, and the Pope got everyone to chuckle and smile almost as many times as he got them to applaud.  He charmed everyone, even those of us who couldn’t understand what he said.  Love and holiness simply do not need words to be expressed.

    After a late dinner, so late we opted to forgo our usual gelato, we made it back just before the hotel closed its gates for the night.  What a day with the Universal Church!

    Pentecost Sunday, May 20

    Mass at St. Peter’s with Pope Francis was fantastic.  Fr. Jack concelebrated with the Holy Father, along with 250+ other priests and bishops.  Meg and I had fantastic seats very near the altar, about 30 yards from the Pope.  I didn’t have the right ticket to get such a great seat, but Fr. Jack convinced the guards to let me in.  Thanks, Fr. Jack!

    ya story pic #20

    The Mass was largely in Italian, although many prayers were in Latin.  I was shocked how reverent 200,000 plus people can be.  Everyone was prayerfully participating, and I was once again overwhelmed with the experience of belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I knew my family would be celebrating the same Mass a few hours later, and we would be united in our common prayer.  I knew too that we three members of Youth Apostles were the only ones from our community present, but I understood everyone in Youth Apostles was there in spirit with us.ya story pic #21

    There were many highlights I will long remember about the Mass.  Everyone enjoyed seeing a seagull fly around the altar during the opening readings and land on a speaker.  A sign of the Holy Spirit, perhaps?  I especially enjoyed seeing the Holy Father’s joy in receiving the gifts from a lovely Italian family with three young kids, and the pleasure he had in greeting select dignitaries after the Mass.  Fr. Jack was asked to distribute Holy Communion in the Square.  And when the Pope left on the pope mobile after the final blessing and the closing of the Mass, Fr. Jack, Meg and I had the chance to snap some pictures near the Chair of St. Peter.  Meg and I later saw Pope Francis in the pope mobile, where the Roman wind tried to blow his hat off.

    ya story pic #22

    Following Mass we grabbed a quick lunch, did some souvenir shopping, and took a bus back to the train station so we could visit St. Mary Major, one of the four major churches in Rome.  I imagine if you spend enough time in Rome you might take some of the beautiful churches for granted, but I still think it would be hard not to appreciate St. Mary Major.  One Mass was finishing when we arrived, and another started immediately following.  The Faith is certainly alive in Rome.  A kind Dominican stationed at the Church recommended a nearby restaurant (how surprising?), and I celebrated my last night in Rome with more delicious pasta.ya story pic #23

    Monday, May 21

    We started the day with a brisk walk to St. Peter’s and a Mass at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, located immediately next to Michelangelo’s Pieta in the Basilica.  What a treat that was, praying near the earthly remains of the Pope who inspired so many young people, including Meg, Fr. Jack and myself, to love Jesus and our faith more and more.  Although I had to leave immediately after Mass to catch a bus to the airport to return home to my family, Meg and Fr. Jack spent another day in Rome.  The next day they left for Poland, where they joined Fr. David Sharland and students from Marymount University for another pilgrimage.

    ya story pic #25I remain especially honored to be representing Youth Apostles to the broader Church.  I hope Jesus will grant my prayers, made with great faith at some of the holiest spots in Rome.  May God bless our community, and may we all live with great conviction the charism we have been given!



    Mike Miller

    Full Member

    Youth Apostles Institute to lead campus ministry efforts at Virginia Tech

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    YAman_newThe Youth Apostles Institute has accepted an invitation from the Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, the bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, to lead the Catholic campus ministry at Virginia Tech. The appointment will go into effect June 1, 2013.

    Rev. David M. Sharland, YA, who has served as the chaplain and director of the campus ministry at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, since July 2007, has been named the new director of campus ministry for Virginia Tech’s Newman Community.

    Chris Hitzelberger, a Full Member in Youth Apostles who has coordinated the parish youth ministry programs at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia, since June 2004, joins Father Sharland as the assistant director of campus ministry.

    “It is with great joy and gratitude to God, that we announce this appointment,” said Rev. John P. Peterson, YA, the general director of the Youth Apostles Institute. “We are honored by the invitation to take on this important ministry that serves the large Catholic student population of such an outstanding university and we look forward to the opportunity to assist the Church in bringing Christ to the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech.

    “We are also most grateful to Father John Grace for the years of generous and dedicated service to the Catholic community at Virginia Tech.”

    The McLean, Virginia-based Youth Apostles Institute is a mixed association of the Christian faithful whose 80 Full Members and Candidates are committed to evangelize, teach, advise, challenge, console and love young people with the ultimate purpose of inspiring them to live Christ-like lives centered on prayer and the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Youth Apostles Full Members lead the diocesan youth ministry offices in Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses. Others are responsible for youth ministry programs at six parishes in Virginia and the campus ministry programs at Marymount University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University and Christopher Newport University.

    The Norfolk Blog: Full House

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Father Mike Kuhn, YA, and I arrived in Norfolk about 19 months ago, on the first day of June 2011, and the Norfolk community of Youth Apostles was born. The following Tuesday night we held our first community meeting. I knew we were starting a community from scratch in Hampton Roads, but had no idea what to expect or how long it would take. Six men attended that first meeting; three full members (Father Mike, me and Joe Clem – a lifetime full-member who has lived in nearby Newport News for many years), two candidates who were home on college break, and a guest (one of their high school friends).

    The Norfolk Youth Apostles at Christmas: Father Mike Kuhn, Chip Snyder, Ben Fleser and Andrew DeCelle.

    The Norfolk Youth Apostles at Christmas: Father Mike Kuhn, Chip Snyder, Ben Fleser and Andrew DeCelle.

    A quick scan of the room during our most recent community meeting last Tuesday night gave me a bit of a thrill to see how much we’ve grown. You need to understand, our meetings over college breaks are always a hodgepodge. We have several college guys from Hampton Roads who attend year round, including the four men who made candidate commitments in Norfolk over the past year. However, several of our “regulars” during the school year travel back home over break and are out of range. But some guys who are home from college — mostly George Mason University — drop in, and invite their friends to join us. We really never know who will show up!

    We also had a few special guests last Tuesday. Chris Maimone, a lifetime full member from Fairfax, paid us a visit after delivering his daughter to Christopher Newport University for her spring semester. Three of our members from GMU were home, and they invited two other Mason students from Virginia Beach to stop by. We also had a guest priest — a friend of Youth Apostles who is the pastor of a local parish — covering for Father Mike while he attended a campus ministry conference in Florida. In total, we had 15 men attending at least part of the meeting. It was a full house!

    And that’s when it occurred to me: This is what we envisioned two years ago when we decided to move to Norfolk to begin the ministry at Old Dominion University. We have a great mix of men participating, whether you look at it by vocation ( the group includes priests, consecrated men and lay men) or commitment (full members, candidates, guests). We have members dropping in when they are in the area, we have guests who are interested in learning more about Youth Apostles, and we have developed friendly relationships with local clergy and other youth workers. We are firing on all cylinders!

    Not to imply that our work here is now done. We’re only getting started! Our mission is to lead young people to Christ and help them fall in love with the Church. But as a satellite community it’s impossible not to compare ourselves with our main community house in McLean. By several measures we already compare well to the “home office” (as we like to call it down here!).

    This Tuesday night (1/15) will mark the first meeting of the Spring semester, and we’ll be getting back to “normal.” The quotes are appropriate: college students are a busy bunch, and we’ve never had the same group of men two weeks in a row! I’ve enjoyed seeing our guests over break, but look forward to catching up with the students who have been away for the past month.

    God continues to bless us abundantly in Norfolk. The group of young men we spend time with every Tuesday night is a constant reminder of that.

    — Chip Snyder, YA

    Winning Pro-Life Posters Announced

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Winning entries in the 14th annual Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster Contest have been selected.

    This year 433 students participated in the contest, the most ever submitted in one year. Judges noted a marked improvement in the overall quality of the entries. The theme was “I Formed You in the Womb.”

    The Youth Apostles poster contest provides young artists an opportunity to use their creative gifts to express their pro-life values and apply what they have learned at home, at school and through their parishes and youth ministry programs.

    Gracie Tecala, OLGC, 1st place, junior division

    Gracie Tecala, OLGC, 1st place, junior division

    The winners in this year’s contest are as follows:


    First Place — Gracie Tecala, 7th grade, Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Vienna, Va.
    Second Place — Kelsie Loesch, 8th grade, Our Lady of Good Counsel School
    Third Place — Katie O’Brien, 8th grade, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Honorable Mention:
    Kristen Jones, 7th grade, Our Lady of Good Counsel School
    John McClorey, 8th grade, Our Lady of Good Counsel School
    Isabella Miranda, Our Lady of Good Counsel School
    Helen Wingate, 7th grade, Sacred Heart Academy, Winchester, Va.


    First Place — Brooke Sullivan, 12th grade, Paul VI High School, Fairfax, Va.
    Second Place — Haley Munn, 10th grade, Paul VI High School
    Third Place — Katie Eastman, 11th grade, Paul VI High School

    Brooke Sullivan, Paul VI, 1st place, senior division

    Brooke Sullivan, Paul VI, 1st place, senior division

    Honorable Mention:
    Gaby Coan, 9th grade, Paul VI High School
    Becca Kim Hyunjoo, 9th grade, Paul VI High School
    Danielle Issing, 12th grade, Paul VI High School
    Jessica Sydow, 9th grade, John Paul the Great High School
    Christine VandeHouten, 10th grade, Paul VI High School grade
    Christine VanTorsch, 10th grade, John Paul the Great High School
    Tiffany Vo, 11th grade, Paul VI High School
    Abigail Williams, 11th grade, John Paul the Great High School

    YA Retreat 2013 – Increase Our Faith

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Youth Apostles gather in the Roslyn Retreat Center chapel.

    Youth Apostles gather in the Roslyn Retreat Center chapel.

    Some 80 Youth Apostles returned home Sunday (1/6) from the community’s annual retreat, a four-day dive into the silence and prayerful rigors of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

    This year the retreat took place at the Roslyn Retreat Center near Richmond, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The theme, taken from the Apostles’ petition to Jesus Christ in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith,” was selected to coincide with the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI launched last October.

    The Exercises are structured on a four-week cycle of  meditations and reflections the Spanish founder of the Jesuits developed in the 16th century. One week each is dedicated to probing sinfulness, forging resolutions for a life of cooperation with grace and reflecting both on the events of Christ’s passion and death and his resurrection. St. Ignatius is one of Youth Apostles’ three patrons, along with St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Bosco.

    The weekend is designed to help retreatants grow in their capacity to live their respective vocations as priests or as consecrated, married or single laymen, and to reinvigorate their commitment to bring young people to Christ in the Catholic Church.

    At the last of four Masses celebrated during the retreat 14 Youth Apostles renewed their Candidate or Full Member commitments. Candidates Nick Basinger, Ben Fleser, Jose Gil-Figueroa, Andrew Heller, Jonathan Kohn, Peter Maurer, Sean Mazary and Joey McDermott renewed their promises for one year. Full Members Paul Bevins, Anthony Foster Michael Galdo, Andrew Hadinger, Byron Wiedeman and Jacob Znachko each renewed their promises for five years.

    In the days ahead, we will post excerpts from talks and reflections the brothers prepared for their collective praying of the Liturgy of the Hours and a special meditation on the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross.

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