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Every Spring I get several calls with the same question: “I don’t know what is happening but our numbers are dropping. We are planning great Life Nights, but the teens aren’t coming.” I then ask three very important questions: How often and in what ways is your Core Team praying together? What type of relational […]

I have learned the hard way that being a youth minister involves ministering to teens and the parish as a whole. After returning to the parish sleep deprived because I lead a Confirmation Retreat for over one hundred teens, a parishioner approached me. She wanted to inform me that a cupcake she purchased at our […]

As youth ministers, we love serving teens — even when we don’t know them. But in a small, rural community, you know everyone — every family member, problem, and heartbreak. A rural community is my ministry reality. In the darkest times, I witness the most amazing blessings. This past year one of my favorite teens, […]

I’ve never been good at the whole “showing emotion” thing.

Even at my own wedding, all I could really muster was some goofy expression halfway between a smile and a bout of painful gas. I’d love to blame it on a face-muscle issue or a bad burrito, but to tell the truth… I just don’t get it. I’ve always been uncomfortable with big emotional expression, and more comfortable with words as opposed to the wibbly-wobbly world of emotional display. To be honest it makes me love my poor wife more given the robot to whom she’s sacramentally bound.

The east coast of the United States was getting a healthy dose of fluffy white snow when their latest Life Support shipment arrived with the perfect Life Support toy: A snowman kit. I’m sure many of you (especially parents) had flashbacks of a certain hit song from a certain animated film as soon as you […]

Our Vice President pulled out all of his best facial expressions to convey to you just how awesome this year is going to be. This year Life Teen turns the big three-zero. (That’s 30 for those of us who don’t want to do the math.) We thank God for these past 30 years and are […]

I began to think that maybe I’d keep quiet about the March for Life and be pro-life on a smaller scale. Have a holy hour to pray for an end to abortion. Show “October Baby.” Keep it simple and — most importantly — indoors. Then Blair joined our parish. A sophomore who had attended the March for Life with her Catholic school the year before she moved to Florida, she was glad to hear I had also attended.

You are invaluable to youth ministry. You are an example to the young women of the parish of what it is to be a catholic woman, wife, and perhaps mother. You are the strong heart to hold up your husband when he is troubled with the sad stories of his teens. You are the cheerleader encouraging him on when he wants to give up. You are the warm welcome at the end of a long night or weekend away.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve reflected on my day in ministry and felt that I had wasted it to some extent. Not that I was displeased with curriculum writing, retreat planning, safe environment paperwork, or social media outreach – those things are all significant, they just aren’t always life-giving. At the […]

For seven years, our parish would gather together in celebration at the 5:00 pm Mass and the teens would retreat to the gym from 6 – 8:00 pm for our Life Night. It had been working, and it was familiar. Early last summer, I began praying through our fall schedule and I was immediately drawn […]

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