Sunday, December 21, 2008


So, last night I went to our 5pm Mass. I walked, with my snow pants on through the mounds of snow just as the day was beginning to turn to night. For the first time in four months I was just going to Mass. I didn't have to anything, greet people, make announcements, nothing. I was just another member of the parish (well I guess that's not entirely true). The warmth of the sanctuary welcomed me and I felt truly happy. The Gospel reading was that of the Annunciation. Father spoke about Mary's call to be the mother of Jesus and how we all have a call in life. When the angel said, "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you." It's important to remember that even when our call is challenging "the Lord is with us." I began thinking about my own call to ministry. About the times I struggled and doubted but knew that God was with me. I felt like I had truly accepted this call and felt good about where I was.
After the Mass was over I was chatting with out music minister. Father called all those remaining in the church to help him with something. A man from our parish was recently diagnosed with cancer of the spinal cord. I do not know this man very well. I know that he is young, has a wife and two young sons. Father asked us if we would be part of this man's anointing as he was going to have surgery on Tuesday. As I stood with the other parish members around this man and listened to Father pray as his wife stood behind him with tears in her eyes. I realized, I am called to this too. I am called to be a part of the joys, sorrows, challenges and victories that the members of this parish experience. And this, is a very wonderful thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

Last night was our last night of Youth Ministry for 2008. The past two years I have had the young people sign up for Salvation Army Bell ringing. I like to have at least two young people and one adult at three different stores in our town. I drive around to say hello and make sure everyone is doing ok. Last year I was unable to do this as I was attending a funeral (it actually worked out pretty good). This year, for the first time, I had some shifts with three young people. Usually once a shift is filled no one else volunteers. Most of the kids had smiles on their faces, accepted a Christmas cookies from me, and wished me a Merry Christmas. A parent even thanked me for all the work I do (always nice to hear). It was a great night! I felt truly blessed. I feel that the longer I stay here the more I get to know the people I am ministering to. These are great kids. I can honestly say I look forward to watching them grow up.
And now I am truly free of most responsibility for two whole weeks. It just feel so good! Oh the ebbs and flows of Ministry. Last week on Wednesday I was so busy I didn't eat lunch (I NEVER skip a meal). Then on Thursday I was at church from 9am-11pm almost straight through. It was crazy! I don't know if I ever pictured what my life would be like after college. I don't think it was this, but for the first time in a long time I can say I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winding Down

Well, today is December 17th. I remember about 4 months ago I looked ahead to this date in my calender and thought, "Wow! By December 17th it will all be over." In a way it seemed kind of like a far off date. And here it is. I remember back in August the look my my calender filling up made my stomach turn but I sucked it up, put my best foot forward and here we are. It went so fast! I seem to recall in the past years second semester went fast I can only imagine. I have one more youth ministry event tonight and then it's free and easy for two weeks. In fact I'm already starting to get bored at the office.
I don't have anything real insightful to contemplate. Just the fact that attitude has a lot to do with how life goes. I didn't come home crying once this semester (my first year I cried about once a month, last year about once every two months). Could I have really changed my attitude that much?
On another topic, I honestly thought that I'd be sprouting a baby belly right about now. I had hoped to be three or four months pregnant but I'm not. I don't know how I feel about this. It is a little frustrating. Things won't time out "perfectly" in my mind. I just keep telling myself this too is God's plan, not mine.
So yeah, that's all I've got today!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Whew! Things have somewhat slowed down around here. The biggest challenge I have with my dual position in Youth and Campus Ministry is that I always feel that I could give more to one or the other. Also, just when one slows down the other one amps up or I feel like I can give more time and energy to one of my ministries. I just don't think churches should have "part time" positions. What a joke! We all know that it is more than "part time."
This however is not what I wanted to reflect on. I read my friend Kim's blog the other day. I long to have that type of experience with my youth. I just wish they would be excited about coming to church or at least want to come rather than being forced to come by their parents. Don't get me wrong, I'm very appreciative that their parents are supporting me in this ministry but I would love it if it would come from the young people. The very day I read that post I had a high school student visit my office. In the two and a half years I have been here a high school student has never just dropped in! They had a snow day here and he came to noon Mass. This student in particular always gives me hope. He is very mature and intelligent for his age. He also has a great interest in all things Catholic. I sometimes feel sorry for him when we meet as a group since he is far above the other young people in his understanding and knowledge of the Catholic Faith, he must get bored.
On our regular Wednesday gathering I decided that since our parish was offering a communal Penance Service that our activity for the evening would be to attend as a group. The week prior we had discussed the sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of God's forgiveness of our sins through this sacrament. I know that for many Catholic this is often a touchy subject. I would say the majority of Catholics do not receive this Sacrament on a regular basis. Yours truly hadn't received it in about 2 1/2 years. I was prepared to be let down. I had reminded the parents that this would be our activity for the evening and invited them to join their son or daughter at the service. I truly expected that either a very small amount of young people would attend or that they would come (because mom and dad made them) and sit their sulking. Well, about 13 of my regular 16 showed up. About 1/4 came with their families and all but one chose to receive the sacrament. It was a really beautiful celebration. I asked myself why I didn't receive this sacrament more often. I found it renewing that my young people were open to this event. In face afterwards a group of girls gathered in my office just to talk about some stuff (again a first).
As with most things in my life I must learn to have patience and to trust that things will happen in God's time. All I can do is keep offering, trying, praying, and ministering to all I meet.