Tag Archives: Youth Apostles

    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.

    YA Retreat 2013 – The Most Urgent Challenge

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Pope Benedict XVI has told the U.S. bishops that the faith formation of the next generation of American Catholics must be their highest priority – not just passing on knowledge but shaping hearts. Speaking during this year’s retreat about “The Call to Youth Apostles,” Father Jack Peterson, YA, recalled the Holy Father’s message to the bishops who visited him last year in Rome.

    The text below first appeared as a Director’s Corner in the May 2012 issue of Youth Apostles’ newsletter, The Apostle.

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    The bishops of the United States have been traveling to Rome for their “ad limina” visits.

    Youth Apostles General Director Father Jack Peterson, YA, addresses the brothers on retreat.

    Youth Apostles General Director Father Jack Peterson, YA, addresses the brothers on retreat.

    These visits, which take place every five years, serve a variety of purposes. The bishops make a pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul, express their respect for and solidarity with the Holy Father, render an accounting of the state of their diocese to the Bishop of Rome, visit with the heads of various Congregations and Dicasteries and receive counsel from the pope.

    During a visit on May 5, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the faith formation of the next generation of Catholics in the United States. Pope Benedict raised the matter to the highest level of priority when he stated: “It is no exaggeration to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country.”

    I read this and understood it as a loud call to Youth Apostles to step up our game as we strive to live out our mission to “evangelize, teach, advise, challenge, console and love youth with the ultimate purpose of inspiring them to live Christ-like lives centered on prayer and the sacraments in the Catholic Church.”

    Now, forming young people in the faith has always been a major priority for the Church. As the Holy Father went on to say: “The deposit of faith is a priceless treasure which each generation must pass on to the next by winning hearts to Jesus Christ and shaping minds in the knowledge, understanding and love of his Church.”

    Yet, as the Chief Shepherd of the Universal Church further explained, “the essential task of authentic education at every level is not simply that of passing on knowledge, essential as this is, but also of shaping hearts. There is a constant need to balance intellectual rigor in communicating effectively, attractively and integrally, the richness of the Church’s faith with forming the young in the love of God, the praxis of Christian moral and sacramental life and, not least, the cultivation of personal and liturgical prayer.”

    Youth Apostles was founded with the purpose of addressing this aspect of faith formation. We desire to shape the hearts of young people by building healthy, appropriate relationships with them, journeying with them through the turbulent years of adolescence and inviting them to come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ with all of their hearts.

    It is so much easier for young people to hear and respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ when their faith is shared by adults who live it authentically, take the time to get to know them, show genuine interest in their lives and patiently encourage perseverance as they grow closer to the Lord. In this setting, young people begin to desire to pray on their own, to root their lives in the Scriptures, to study the teachings of the Church, to attend the Sacraments regularly, to live the high moral standards of the Gospels and to serve their neighbor with generosity.

    How do we as Youth Apostles step up our game to better address “the most urgent internal challenge” of the American Church?

    First, we need to make sure that Jesus is truly the center of our lives. We need to become men of deep faith, truly transformed by the love of Christ. We need to live Christ-like lives of profound charity, strong conviction and extraordinary patience. We need to be men who are willing to sacrifice many aspects of our own lives in order to live generously for our brothers in community, our family members and the young people whom we serve.

    Next, we must be strongly committed to the great project of our relational ministry so that we can fight through the many challenges of our culture and assist God in opening the hearts of young people to the joy and strength that comes from following Christ.

    This commitment demands time, energy and prayer. It requires more than just showing up for a youth group meeting and preparing a talk. It entails coming early, staying late and engaging in meaningful conversations about things that matter to young people. It includes remembering your last conversation with them and following up on it at the next meeting. It demands going to an occasional game, concert or play, or at least asking about them afterwards if you can’t.

    Such genuine interest paves the way for being able to share with the students the blessing of knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ. They are willing to listen because they know you care and you are genuine. This is often the way Jesus Himself served the people He encountered.

    Please pray for us in Youth Apostles. Pray that each member of our community will renew his commitment to grow in holiness, engage in intentional, relational ministry, and open young hearts to the pearl of great price, life lived in union with Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. Pray that God sends more men to join us in our mission.

    Father Jack Peterson, YA

    Holy Half Hour in McLean

    jmundell No Comments

    Every month for the last eight years the Holy Half Hour has brought joy to the Youth Apostles house in McLean. Father Ramon Dominguez, YA, leads the ministry, which usually takes place on the morning of the first Friday.  Moms, and sometimes dads, arrive with babies, toddlers and older children shortly after 10. The children have fun playing in our lobby and Fr. Ramon chooses one to be the altar server.

    At 10:30 the families enter the chapel and  Fr. Ramon begins with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. He talks to the children and asks them questions. This month, the Holy Half Hour moved to the second Friday to accommodate our community retreat. Since it was still the Christmas season, he talked about Christmas, the nativity and the decorations in the chapel.  One girl asked, “Why do you have grapes on there?” referring to Fr. Ramon’s vestment.  He explained that the wine we use for Church is made from grapes and that there is usually wheat on the vestment too because bread is made from wheat. 


    After they talk Fr. Ramon asks everyone to pray for others. They pray one decade of the rosary together and Fr. Ramon reposes the Blessed Sacrament. Then the group leaves the chapel to go downstairs. The kids enjoy snacks and juice and play on the Foosball table, pillows and anything else they can get their hands on. Even when you are upstairs in the office you know that  many children are having fun and making a joyful noise to the Lord.

    — Jonathan Mundell, 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.

    YA Announces Pro-Life Poster Contest

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    The Youth Apostles Institute is holding its 14th annual pro-life poster contest!

    The theme for the contest is “I Formed You in the Womb.”

    Through the contest, we hope to provide a means by which young people may express their pro-life beliefs and the values they have been taught at school, in ministry,and at home. We also hope to provide an activity that teachers may find to be a useful supplement or complement to classroom instruction.

    There will be two divisions: Junior (grades 7 and 8) and Senior (grades 9-12).

    Prizes include first place ($100 U.S. Savings Bond), second place ($75 U.S. Savings Bond), and third place ($50 U.S. Savings Bond). Honorable mention certificates also will be awarded.

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


    • Entries may be on 8.5″x11″ or larger size paper, or on posterboard.
    • Entries also may be electronic!
    • Entries must address the topic and express a view supporting the sanctity of unborn human life.
    • Entries must be a participant’s original work.
    • Entries must include name; grade level; school OR youth group/youth community OR parish if home schooled; school address OR parish address OR home address if home schooled

    Entries must be mailed or delivered by Tuesday, November 27, 2012 to:

    John Iekel
    Youth Apostles Institute
    1600 Carlin Lane
    McLean, Virginia 22101

    If entries are to be delivered, please call (703) 556-0914 to notify.

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

    If you have any questions, please leave a message at (703) 556-0914.

    Full Member Mark Embree wins the George R. Brown Teaching Award

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Full member Mark Embree, a professor of computational and applied mathematics, has received the highest honor for undergraduate teaching at Rice University.

    The George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded after a vote taken among recent alumni.

    Behind Embree’s success reaching students in the classroom lies a deep enthusiasm for his discipline. I really relish the challenge of sharing my love for mathematics, he told the student newspaper, The Rice Thresher. “When I give a bad lecture, I feel like I’ve done a real disservice to beauty, and that bothers me to no end.”

    Embree, who studied computer science and mathematics at Virginia Tech and pursued doctoral studies in numerical analysis at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, has developed a reputation at Rice for designing projects and problem-solving exercises as an alternative to the textbook-and-blackboard style of math coursework.

    One recent project prompted students to determine how to optimally distribute medical backpacks in Malawi. “I find it a real challenge for me,” he said, “to take students who have come to math through experiences in high school that are very rote and convince them mathematics is far more creative and beautiful than that.”

    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

    Junior High BASH 2012 – Your Place in God’s Plan

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Sunday, April 29th saw hundreds of junior high school teens descend on PVI high school for BASH, an annual event sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Office of Youth Ministry. The teens had tons of fun with the rides and inflatables, as well as watching the performance by APEX ministry; which included jokes, juggling, and more. Teens also had an opportunity for confession, participated in Mass with Bishop Loverde and ate a ton of pizza and snow cones.Junior High Bash 5

    Many Youth Apostle brothers were in attendance. Fr. Ramon, Y.A. and Jonathan Mundell brought a group from the Don Bosco Center. Erik Teter and Chris Maimone were there with teens from St. Leo’s. Chris Hitzelberger also brought teens from Blessed Sacrament. Deacon Tom Yehl, Y.A.  proclaimed the Gospel at Mass, with Mike Power (among others) providing music. Sean McCartney was even on hand to help dish out pizza as well as other behind the scene duties. We also saw Joey Clem give some great advice to the teens at a panel discussion on vocations. And of course, Kevin Bohli MC’d the event (and even enjoyed a snow cone).

    BASH is our largest gathering of Catholic junior high students (6th-8th graders) every year! This event is a celebration of our Catholic faith and love of the Lord.

    Special thanks to Chris Hitzelberger and Chris Maimone for contributing photographs and a summary for this article.

    Blessed Sacrament CLC Update: Commitment Mass and Workshop

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    On March 28th, the Blessed Sacrament Boys CLC held a commitment ceremony during the parish weekly 7 pm mass.  During this ceremony three guys made Member commitments, one made a Candidate commitment, and one became the first Full Member ever in this CLC community.  The Pastor, Fr Cregan, celebrated the Mass.

    On April 20th, 11 teens from the blessed sacrament boys clc gathered for their first election workshop. The weekend included adoration, talks, and of course plenty food. The community elected three of its members to the newly formed executive board. Andy Santalla, Jake DiGeronimo, and Joey Ledonio all agreed to serve their community for the next year as leaders of the blessed sacrament clc. One of the highlights of the workshop was the “gladiator combat” which challenged each member of the community to strap on a lacrosse helmet, pick up an axe, sword, or warhammer, and face off against one of the moderators in the ring. The night ended with a bonfire and some community time.

    The next morning the community went to mass and then were treated to an awesome breakfast by Tim Eagle, including Tim’s Bacon Surprise – which basically looked like a large meatloaf made from bacon and sausage. Amazing.

    The teens had a great time and the moderators were exhausted. All in all, a successful workshop.

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