Tag Archives: Youth Ministry

    Beauty and the Beast helps teens and young adults “break the spell of self-interest”

    John Lilly No Comments

    Photos by Tom Kise

    Upper Room Theatre Ministry, directed by Full Member Rob Tessier, finished it’s 16th performance this summer with the production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The core mission of URTM is to use the arts to reach out to a wider community – both on stage, back stage, and to the audience – beyond just those who are Catholic. Through live, uplifting, performances, they bring God to others. The annual show the ministry puts on helps support the youth ministry program at All Saints. The funds raised from the show allow over 60 teens to attend mission trips next year to care for the poorest of the poor.

    Bishop Burbidge event stopped by to show his support for the cast and crew during Friday night’s performance! He prayed with the entire cast before they took to the stage.

    Rob said it best in the Director’s Note in the show program:

    All humans are created good at our very core. The invisible reality of our soul is the greatest and purest BEAUTY that exists. However, our own busyness, attraction to things, and desire for comfort can cloud that beauty with a BEAST-like selfishness.

    In this production, we see individuals with a greater external status treating those who are different or carry less status in a manner that rejects their human dignity. For the young prince and his staff, this results in an “imprisonment” for a period that allows them to see their error. Meanwhile, those in Belle’s village who originally reject her come to discover a woman with tremendous courage, compassion, and love.

    When we greet others with a smile, express our concern for those around us, and adopt an attitude of gratitude, we help break the spell of self-interest that so often plagues us.

    It’s been a gift to work on this production. I believe there are many lessons here, but most importantly is that we should treat every individual with deep respect recognizing the true beauty of the human soul present, no matter how cluttered it might appear on the outside.


    Bishop Burbidge Visits Youth Apostles

    John Lilly No Comments

    For pictures from the evening, click here.

    Bishop Michael Burbidge, the newly installed Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, visited Youth Apostles on Tuesday, March 21. He celebrated Mass and had dinner with our community.

    After dinner, he joined us for a brief presentation by Mike Paquette, Fr. Tom, and Rob Tessier on the history, mission, and vision of Youth Apostles. Mike talked about our extensive candidate formation program and the thrust of our community to do youth ministry. As a priest in the Diocese, Fr. Tom told the Bishop how important it is to have consecrated clerics in community with single and married men. Rob spoke on his long career in youth ministry.

    To conclude the evening, Bishop Burbidge asked the men present what the greatest needs of the youth are today and how we can meet those needs. The overall consensus was the plethora of distractions and options, and how it’s hard to compete for attention in the Northern Virginia area. Bishop commended us on our missionary zeal and apostolic thrust to serve the young people in the Diocese.

    We were blessed to have the Bishop join us and be an active member of our special meeting with him that night. We continue to keep him in prayer as he begins his new ministry in our Diocese!

    Gluttony, Addiction, and Intent

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    This article is by Josh Schubert, a Substance Abuse Counselor for Fairfax County Youth and Family Services. He is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He recently addressed the Youth Apostles Full Members in July on Drugs and Addiction as part of our monthly formation.


    John 10:10 “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.”


                    The problem with drugs is not that they feel good, it is the opposite. The more you use drugs the more you feel less pleasure to the point that only intoxication feels good or normal. Feeling less pleasure, leads to craving what will give you the most pleasure, the intoxication. As the addiction progresses the individual’s value system changes and the focus of life becomes the intoxication. The individual becomes not addicted to any one type of drug, but to the intoxication. Almost all drugs of addiction look the same in the brain’s pleasure response, the part that becomes addicted.

    God intended for us to have each emotion for a reason, pleasure is no different. Pleasure is supposed to move us to do more of something, like eat yummy apples. The problem with drugs is that they are so pleasurable that the brain becomes overstimulated. The brain then adapts to overstimulation (Tolerance) and the result is a brain that is numb to pleasure. Like all sin, such as gluttony, it is a distortion of the good and natural. Thomas Aquinas said of gluttony: “Gluttony denotes not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate (excessive) desire.”

    It is more likely today that a teenager will smoke marijuana, than drink alcohol or smoke a cigarette. Marijuana is the most widely abused drug by teens and a common rebuttal from teens about smoking and legalizing marijuana is that alcohol is legal, more dangerous, and just as intoxicating. As the culture begins to legalize marijuana (19 states and counting) the Church will need to come up with a definitive answer about the differences of alcohol vs. marijuana and other drugs.

    I believe it boils down to intention. Matthew 15:11 “It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” People can morally drink alcohol for social enjoyment and health benefits (Yes, there are health benefits). If the intention of drinking alcohol is intoxication then the action becomes immoral; in addition, while intoxicated they lose ability to reason and harm their body’s health. The only reason people use marijuana, beside legitimate medical use, is to become intoxicated. Addiction can become immoral when the values change, placing intoxication before God, health, and others.

    G.K. Chesterton from his book Orthodoxy: “We should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”


    • YouCat: 352,  1st Commandment
    • YouCat: 389, Drugs are a sin due to the self-destructive nature…
    • CCC: 1731-1738, Freedom and Responsibility
    • CCC: 2288-2291, Respect for health


    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.

    + + +

    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

    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

    2012 Youth Apostles Awards

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    This year Youth Apostles will honor three individuals for their commitment and excellence in youth ministry programs. We will honor both a male and female teen with the Saint Dominic Savio and Saint Maria Goretti awards and a youth volunteer with the Saint John Bosco award.

    Please take the time to review the nomination forms and consider nominating someone involved at your parish or place of ministry. YA Full Member Jim Albanese, the awards coordinator, would like to receive the nominations no later than November 9. Please email him at jim.albanese@gmail.com with any questions and share this link with others who may want to nominate someone for the awards.

    Click here for the 2012 YM Awards letter and nomination forms.

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