Vocations Awareness Day

    John Lilly No Comments

    Jonathan Mundell and two Women’s Youth Apostles, Tiffany Lambert and Krysti Patient, represented the Youth Apostles community and the Women Youth Apostles community at Vocations Awareness Day this past Friday. The Religious Vocations Awareness Day Fair held in Finnegan Fieldhouse at Franciscan University of Steubenville welcomed and brought together representatives from nearly 100 different religious orders and dioceses from around the country (and world!)! Students of Franciscan University, and anyone else who was wondering if God could be calling him or her to religious life or the priesthood, were invited to come and learn more.

    Tiffany Lambert Makes One Year Consecrated Commitment in Women Youth Apostles

    John Lilly No Comments

    On Monday, August 16 at the Sacred Heart Chapel on Marymount’s campus, Tiffany Lambert made a One Year Consecrated Commitment in Women Youth Apostles. We are thankful for her yes to community and to the youth. Please continue to keep her in your prayers!

    Catholic Campus Ministry Summit 2016

    jmundell No Comments

    ARISEThe Catholic Campus Ministry Summit (for college students) and the Diocesan Youth Conference (for high school students) took place concurrently in Richmond this past weekend.  The CCM Summit was Friday night to Saturday night and the Diocesan Youth Conference was Friday to Sunday.  Over 1800 youth and young adults came together to celebrate their faith.  Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT was the keynote speaker for the CCM Summit. She was an incredible speaker and used her personal stories to powerfully deliver the Gospel message.  The high school and college students came together for the evening program on Friday night which featured the Catholic entertainer Danny Ray.  He is a magician and did marvelous tricks which confounded and impressed the crowd.  Everyone was also together for daily Mass with Bishop DiLorenzo on Saturday morning.  The high school and college students had separate CCM Summitsessions for the rest of the weekend.  Two of our Youth Apostle brothers gave concurrent sessions for the college students.  Fr. Jack Peterson, YA gave one entitled What do I do today? Discernment in your daily life.  Chris Hitzelberger gave another entitled WWJD: Why wait? Just date!  In all there were 15 Youth Apostles and 3 Women Youth Apostles present for the event.  Some Youth Apostles came with Virginia Tech, some came with Old Dominion University, and some were assisting behind the scenes.  There was a booth manned by Jonathan Mundell, Tiffany Lambert, Clarissa Maciel, and Krysti Patient who spread the word about Youth Apostles and Women Youth Apostles.  Ben Jacobeen and many other Youth Apostles joined at the booth different times throughout the day.  Mike School and Andrew Waring did a great job helping to lead the whole event.  All in all, a wonderful event!

    Recapping Pope Francis’ Trip to Cuba and the United States

    Peter Clem No Comments
    Pope Francis kissing Kolbe Francis Power during the Papal Parade.

    Pope Francis kissing Kolbe Francis Power during the Papal Parade.

    Last week, Pope Francis visited Cuba and the United States for the first time. The trip was packed with many public appearances, private meetings with heads of state, and opportunities for the pope to interact with those who are in most need of God’s mercy. Pope Francis spoke to Cuba and America on many subjects, primarily focusing on the family for a majority of his pilgrimage, ending with the World Meeting for Families.

    Many Youth Apostles partook in opportunities to see the Holy Father. Eduardo Azcarate, along with his wife and daughter, and Fr. Ramon Dominguez joined a group who went to Cuba to greet Pope Francis. Some brothers traveled early in the morning to line the streets for the Papal parade on the National Mall. During the parade, Pope Francis kissed Kolbe Francis Power, son of Full Member Mike and Directress of Women Youth Apostles Kelly Power. Check out the video below! A few brothers received tickets to attend the Canonization Mass for Saint Junipero Serra, including 4 of our priests who concelebrated the Mass. Youth Apostles was given 30 tickets from a couple generous donors to attend Pope Francis’ address to Congress on the West Lawn.

    The culmination of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage was this past weekend in Philadelphia. Saturday night was the Festival of Families with 6 families invited to tell the Holy Father their story and throughout the night, many world class celebrities performed and spoke to a crowd of thousands. Sunday was the closing Mass in which over a million attended. Many of our brothers attended these two events along with teens from our ministries. Virginia Tech was able to bring 150 students and the Diocese of Arlington managed to bring a group of 700 to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.

    Personally, I had an amazing experience. It was my first time see a pope in person and although I didn’t receive a personal encounter, I was deeply moved by the number of people gathered, the joy of all around me, the hearts of the young people I went with, and how the Lord spoke to me personally about the peace He has to offer. One particularly touching story was how we waited for over 4 hours to attend the Mass, forgoing lunch and knowing that we would not have dinner for many hours. We packed many snacks anticipating this and some of our teens decided to give their snacks to the homeless they encountered. This was truly answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries and touch the suffering flesh of Christ. I was being taught this by the youth I am called to serve.

    Below are links to some of the stories that came from this incredible time for our nation.

    Link to story about Kolbe Francis receiving a kiss and blessing from Pope Francis: http://wjla.com/features/pope-in-america/baby-boy-kissed-by-pope-francis-moves-crowd-to-tears

    Link to Kevin Bohli, Director of the Office of Youth Ministry, blogging about Arlington’s Papal Pilgrimage to Philadelphia: https://encourageandteach.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/700-youth-and-adults-see-popeinphilly-return-contemplating-joy/

    Link to all of the speeches and homilies Pope Francis gave during his Papal visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/2015-papal-visit-speeches-homilies.cfm

    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!

    WoYA’s Fatima Estorninos interviewed by Franciscan Media

    John Lilly No Comments

    This week, WoYA full member and Assistant Director Fatima Estorninos, was interviewed by Franciscan Media Productions. She talked about her ministry at St. Agnes and the work of the Women Youth Apostles thus far.

    She talked about how the community is supported by the Youth Apostles community, and how her and her sisters live out their commitments in their daily lives. Relational ministry is essential to both YA’s and WoYA’s, and Fatima sees her involvement with community vital to doing ministry.

    You can listen to the full talk here .

    [Copyright by Franciscan Media Productions]

    Visit the WoYA’s website to learn more about them!

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