Thursday, June 2, 2011

I See the Bottom of His Feet

Ascension by Salvador Dali
Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  It is the day the Church celebrates Christ's ascension to sit by his Father's side.  The mental image we have is that Christ simply "floated" into heaven.  In a homily during last night's vigil, the priest spoke of a child's interpretation of the ascension.  For when preaching to group of very young children on this Solemnity several years ago, he asked the children what they thought the disciples saw when he ascended.  

One little boy answered innocently, "I see the bottom of Jesus' feet!"  Apparently, Salvador Dali felt the same way.  

But today's Solemnity is about more than the ascension itself.  We can find Jesus' command to all of us in the Gospel reading.  

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)  

Make disciples of all nations.  Wow!  What an undertaking.  Yet, as baptized Christians, that is what Jesus commands of us.  Are we expected to travel to the far corners of the earth and share the Good News with all God's people.  No, but there are many who do so through their missionary calling.  All we have to do is begin right in our homes.  If we share the passion we have for our faith with our families and then our friends, then they will go forward and share with additional friends and family.  

Jesus started with 12 disciples, then he commissioned the 72 (Luke 10) and so on and so forth.  We need to share our faith with others, that is the key - and unfortunately something that many Catholics are not comfortable doing.  But our love of Christ and our faith shouldn't leave us standing there looking up at the sky and searching for the bottoms of his feet.  But we are to shout from the mountain tops with passion and love.  Let's plant those seeds in the hearts of our young people so that they may be like the 72 and go out and share their faith.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scripture Study/Sharing for March 31st

We will continue our online Scripture Study/Sharing with Fr. David.  Visit to register for FREE.

This week's passages:  Matthew 5:1-7:29.

The Reflection Questions...

1.)  What is the importance of both the location of Jesus' sermon and his posture in delivering it (5:1)?  (See Exodus 18:13, 19:3, 16-20)

2.)  Which of the beatitudes seems most important to you?

3.)  Why might Jesus' attitude toward the Mosaic Law be of special importance to Matthew's community (5:17-20)?

4.)  If we're not to take literally this teaching about dismembering parts of our body that we think are leading us into sin, how are we supposed to understand it (5:29-30)?

5.)  When we ask God for "our daily bread," what are we asking for (6:11) (See Proverbs 30:8; Acts 2:46)

6.)  How would the lifestyle of early Christian communities as described by Luke in Acts 2:44-45 have contributed to their ability to live without worry for the needs of tomorrow (6:25-32)?

7.)  How does admitting and attending to one's own spiritual shortcomings make someone more fit to address the faults of others (7:5)?

8.)  What concern might there be today for 'false prophets' and what 'fruit' might you recognize them by (7:15-20)?  (See Deuteronomy 13:2-5; Jeremiah 23:16-17, 25-28)

(Questions from The Gospel According to Matthew Study Guide, Little Rock Scripture Study, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2005.)

We will be meeting online this Thursday, March 31st from 7:30-8:30PM to share what we have read.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Online Scripture Study/Sharing for March, 24th

As mentioned last week, Fr. David Frederici is facilitating a Lenten online Scripture Study/Sharing on Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 PM on the Gospel of Matthew.  Even if you can't make the live online session, we will post the passages to be read that week (it is impossible to cover the entire Gospel in five weeks) along with the questions.  You can post your reflections for discussion as comments to this blog.

Passages for 3/24/11 - Matthew 1:1-2:23 (The Infancy Narrative)

Reflection Questions: 

1:16 - Who is the person to whom Mary gave birth?  What do you know about Joseph and Mary?

1:17 - What is unusual about this part of the story?  What might be the reason why Matthew mentions these    people in this particular verse?

1:21 - What did the messenger tell Joseph?  Why should Joseph call the baby 'Jesus'?  What does the name 'Jesus' mean?

What do you learn about where Jesus was born?  Who was the king?  What do you learn about the wise men?

2:7 - What did Herod do?  What might be the reason why kept it as a secret?  What was important about the time when the star appeared?

2:15 - How long did Joseph and his family stay in Egypt?  Why was that?

When have you said "yes," allowing God to be present in a very real way in your life or in that of another?

Why does the presentation of the Holy Family as an "ordinary" family give us a sense of encouragement?
The above questions were taken from The Word Into Life:  Cycle A, Liguori Publications (c) 1995

We hope to see you online this Thursday.  You can register (for FREE) by visiting and clicking on Scripture Study.
Until Next Time...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Studying and Sharing Scripture Online...

I last blogged about how we can use technology to help spread the Good News of Christ's message.  Well, last night I had the privilege of joining Fr. David Frederici, Parochial Vicar at St. Elizabeth Seton (N. Falmouth) and St. John the Evangelist (Pocasset) and Chaplain for Cape Cod Community College & Catholic Scouting for the Diocese (he's not busy or anything!) as he tried something new this Lenten season.  Usually, Fr. David holds a Scripture Study/Sharing each week during Lent but he discovered last year that it is very difficult to gather people, especially busy young adults, to come out for an evening.  So instead he's trying something new this year.

Last night, we gathered online for the first of several Lenten webinar sessions to study and share on The Gospel of Matthew.  Each week, we will be given chapters from Matthew's Gospel to read and reflect upon and then gather online from 7:30-8:30PM to share what we discovered in the Scripture that week.  Fr. David also provides us with reflection questions to consider.  

If you would like to join us online next Thursday, we will be reading the Infancy Narrative in Matthew.  You can register for the webinar by visiting and clicking on Scripture Study.  We will also be posting the reflection questions here on the blog each week so if you can't join us "live" online, you can read and reflect on the Scripture passage and then respond right here.  All you will need for the webinar is your computer with speakers and a microphone (usually built in on most laptops or you can purchase a headset with a microphone).  If you don't have these, then all you will need is your computer and a phone line.

I will be posting the actual chapters and verses we will be reading for next Thursday later this weekend as well as the questions for reflection.  Why not consider joining us this Lent as we journey through some key passages in Matthew and share with each other in this online community.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keeping Up with the Bloggers...

Mea Culpa!  Mea Culpa!  Mea Culpa!

I have committed the most cardinal of sins when it comes to blogging...I've neglected the blog and haven't written in a couple of months.  I think I echo the sentiments of many who say, "Life just gets in the way."  So, with Lent in full swing, I am using this time to discipline myself a little more as I jump into the world of blogging with both feet.

Actually, it was a little more than just a Lenten discipline but rather I read the Holy Father's Address to Social Council.  You can find the article here (Benedict XVI's Address to Social Council) I found the lead-in quote to be a challenge to any of us who minister to anyone under the age of 35.  "It is urgent to reflect on the languages developed by new technologies."  If you follow the pope's annual communications day messages, he has spent the last couple of years recognizing the importance technological communications and social networking plays in the life of our young people.

Tools like blogs and social networks are the "printing press" of this generation.  Much the way the printing press changed how information, including the Good News, was spread, so too is the internet.  Most of recognize the need to be involved in and learn these new technologies well enough (I still can't figure out my twitter account!) to spread His message to our young people.  Old.......errr....traditional forms of communication are not being used by today's generation so if we want to reach out to them, to minister to them where they are at, then we must become comfortable with this technological realm they find themselves.  Even Pope Benedict XVI agrees with how technology is changing the culture.  Here is what he says:

"[I]mportant is the work carried out by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications to deepen the "digital culture," stimulating and supporting reflection for a greater awareness of the challenges that await the ecclesial and civil community. It is not just about expressing the evangelical message in today's language, but of having the courage to think in a more profound way, as happened in other times, the relationship between faith, the life of the Church and the changes man is experiencing. It is a commitment to help those who have the responsibility in the Church to be able to understand, interpret and speak the "new language" of the media in their pastoral endeavor (cf. "Aetatis Novae," No. 2), in dialogue with the contemporary world, asking oneself: what challenges does so-called "digital thought" pose to faith and theology? What are the questions and requirements?"

So what may you ask can you do to help spread the Good News?  How about post a status update or post a tweet (does one post a tweet or does one simply tweet???) with a Scripture quote or post a question that one of the Sunday readings raised for you.  There are endless possibilities.

I can't promise that I will update this blog every day, although I'm sure going to try.  But I can promise that like the Vatican, the Office of Faith Formation and its additional blogs will journey along side our youth and adults as we navigate cyberspace and how to use it to spread His Word!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a Difficult Job But...

Every two years (odd numbered calendar years) the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) hosts the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM).  Yes, my friends, there are A LOT of acronyms in Ministry...alphabet soup anyone?

But putting the spoon aside, this conference offers anyone who ministers to youth and young adults the opportunity to grown in their knowledge of the ministry.  Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to this year's conference in New Orleans and I hear I missed quite the conference.  There were a couple of people present at the conference from our diocese and I hope they will share their experiences with you on this blog.  However, until that occurs, I'd like to share an article with you that was posted on the U.S. Catholic website just yesterday by Christine Bordelon of the Catholic News Service.

You can read the full article here Youth Ministers Told They Have a Difficult Job...

After reading her article, I'd like to invite you to post your comments and/or reactions.  Let's open it up for discussion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Welcome to the official blog for Youth & Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Fall River.  It is with great pleasure and a little trepidation that the Office of Faith Formation step "out of the box" known as our emails and mailings and step into the realm of a growing cyberworld.  As the Assistant Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry, it is my hope that this blog will become a useful tool in keeping people informed of the latest news, trends and resources available to help people (particularly adolescents and young adults) grow in their Catholic Faith.  I would also like this blog to a be a place where an exchange of ideas and fruitful discussion can take place.

So let's jump right in shall we?

It is hard to imagine that Christmas is only ten days away.  Yet plans for 2011 are already underway and not just within the walls of our office either.  Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI issued his Message for the 26th World Youth Day.  In actuality, his message is for the Celebration of the 2011 World Youth Day, "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (cf. Col 2:7).  This will be the theme used for the International Celebration of World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain this coming in August.  But is also the theme that the Office of Faith Formation will use as the theme for the Annual Diocesan Youth Convention and Middle School Rally to be held this coming October.

After reading Pope Benedict's message, I was struck by the imagery he used.  It was this imagery that became the inspiration for our Diocesan Logo for the 2011 Convention.  Our Holy Father writes:

"We can distinguish three images:  "planted" calls to mind a tree and the roots that feed it; "built up" refers to the construction of a house; "firm" indicates growth in physical or moral strength.  These images are very eloquent.  Before commenting on them, I would like to point out that grammatically all three terms in the original text are in the passive voice.  This means that it is Christ himself who takes the initiative to plant, build up and confirm the faithful."   

Although a physical structure of the house is absent from this year's logo, I focused on what makes a house a home and it is the family!  Through continuing formation of the entire family, not just youth or young adults, Christ's Gospel message will continue to take root, grow and flourish in the hearts, heads and hands of all the faithful.

(NOTE:  The official World Youth Day logo for Madrid is vastly different.  You can visit the official World Youth Day website at

There are so many more things to include in this blog, but that will be food for additional posts.  In the meantime, have a blessed advent and check back soon!