Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Way Sunday
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forty winks does not a night make
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Forty-four 16 & 17 year olds - male and female - all gathered together, from 7 of the 8 different high schools in the county and representing 2 of the 3 parishes. It was only 7:45am, and many of them had been up much of the night, I suspect. From the groggy eyes and the yawns and the 'blankies' and even a few pillows, I was judging it was going to be a little harder than normal to get and keep their attention. They were, after all, on Confirmation Retreat - many, if not most, there by parental edict.

It was time for breakfast - 30 minutes to eat donuts or fruit and drink fruit juice or milk. Maybe that would be enough time to wake-up. After breakfast was morning prayer, Liturgy of the Hours - a brief 15 minutes to recollect one's self and try to bring some sense of spirituality into the awakening herd [it seemed like a herd - they moved about in groups seemingly without direction, just kind of foraging].

They gathered for the opening talk of the day. The speaker was me. I had them get up on their feet and I played cheerleader. We shouted some cheers and stomped our feet and tried to get our blood flowing and eyes and ears opened. Seemed to work - at least good enough to start.

I used questions to them as a group to draw out some helpful definitions for the scripture verses I would use. Words like deception, and mockery, and reaping, and sowing, and others were defined. During the presentation I would send them off to small groups for discussion [5 minutes] of something I assigned. Each of the 6 groups would then report back to all their response or the understanding gained in the small group. We did this twice

F
irst part was about not getting deceived by the world around us - Galatians 6:7 was scripture I used along with examples of such deception.

Part two was based on Galatians 6:8 - what goes around comes around ... we reap what we sow.

The third part was meant to illuminate the behavior we exhibit when sowing to feed our sinful nature - Galatians 5:19-21 provided the basis for that.

Fourthly, we talked a bit about the story of the blind-man in John's gospel, chapter nine. Our spiritual blindness was the point addressed here.

Key to all of this, point #5, was the realization that they were being assigned to be defenders of the Catholic faith - they are part of the 'church militant'. We talked about how to share their faith in school and other environments, and how to diffuse emotional confrontations. We talked about our need for mutual support in these efforts.

And I tried to affirm them as worthwhile and important members of the Body of Christ. Their 'mantra' was to be, "I AM THE BEST ! I reap my best because I sow my best - even when it is hard."

They stayed awake - they participated - they didn't stone me. I think they will remember some of it.
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6 comments:

justin said...

What a task, Jim! Thank God you were there.

adoro said...

Wow, what a weekend. I'm a confirmation coordinator, but not a Youth Minister...she usually does this stuff, and she CAN! I can't.

How cool you had them praying LOH.

Yeah, they'll remember it. My Confirmation retreat was completely inane and without inspiration, although I still remember the sweet couple that spoke to us about chastity. They were really nice, just adorable.

My Mom actually came to get me at the end of the reatreat...we were all supposed to go to Mass as a group, but they had no cantor so, knowing I was downstairs, they called my Mom and she brought me clothing more appropriate for Mass (otherwise I'd have been wearing jeans and yesterday's shirt.)

And you know...she done good that day. Holy Spirit indeed!

uncle jim said...

Justin,
thx for the affirmation - your day will come, you know

Adoro,
it really was quite a weekend, i'm sure. my part was small time wise - saturday morning for an hour. my job was to charge them up ... get them ready for the rest of the day.

immediately after me was mass - con-celebrated by the two pastors of the two parishes represented [neither parish has any associate or assistant pastors]. but one picked up the other and they road up to the retreat center together- probably a 40 minute drive - a chance to spend some time together.

unfortunately, because of the other commitments, they didn't get to stay after and talk to the kids.

i do think they'll remember some things from the talk, too. sadly enough, we often times leave sunday mass and have a hard time remembering what the homily was about - my primary goal was to be sure they heard a message in a way they would remember something of it.

my take is that happened.

our dre is off on mondays, so i expect i'll hear from her tomorrow.

Dennis said...

Very good! Now there's 44 more kids ready to give their lives as witness for the gospel!

Adrienne said...

You're a brave man...

uncle jim said...

dennis,
you are certainly optimistic ... my view is more of 'hopefulness' - i hope some of them give their lives as witness for the gospel.

saw katie this weekend - she is certainly getting excited about the future. says she won't make it to your ordination, though. she will be at the seminary for graduations though.
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adrienne,
not so brave - i really do love these kids and working with them ... but they can wear me down at times. i used to do high-school youth ministry in our parish program as a semi-permanent regular member of the volunteer cadre in our religious ed program [probably 12 yrs in sr hi and 3 in jr hi / middle school].
now i do special assignments, like help with the confirmation retreat, and i substitute for other regulars when asked if i'm available.