Sunday, December 8, 2013



It’s like shark week.  But better.  The brainchild of the amazing Katie Prejean, this year anyone can join in on this social-media meets spirituality challenge to reflect on what it means to be a sheep.  

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.” 
-Psalm 23:1
Here’s how it works:
  1. Personalize your sheep (print out the graphic above and give it your own flair:  bedazzle, duct tape, a stache…  whatever works for you).  Carry your sheep with you for the week!
  2.  Follow the hashtag #SheepWeek13 on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and share photos of you doing the challenges with your sheep.  
  3. Take the following challenges for each day of the week and share a picture of you doing them (with your sheep):
    • Tuesday, December 10:  Spend some time with Jesus (adoration if you can)
    • Wednesday, December 11:  Give something away to someone in need.
    • Thursday, December 12:  Do something something nice for your parents (but don't tell them what it is ;-)
    • Friday, December 13:  Pray for our shepherds.  The Pope, our Priests, Bishops, Deacons and Seminarians.  Write a note to your pastor (or another shepherd in your life) to say "thank you" for their leadership.
    • Saturday, December 14:  Go to confession!
    • Sunday, December 15:  Wear pink to mass and take a #SelfieSunday with you and your sheep swag!  Share a moment of joy from the week.
    • Monday, December 15:  Be a shepherd for others and pray with someone.

Learn from teens (and adults) across the country on how they share what it means to follow Christ, our Shepherd.

Don't Forget to use the hashtag #SheepWeek13 & #SheepWeek2013.

Follow @KatiePrejean, @alisongriz, @cribbs, @perpetualmin, @OLQHTeens, @StCelesTEENS to see what others are doing!  Feel free to share your twitter handle in the comments so others can find you!

Monday, July 8, 2013

figuring out how to be...

Tonight was one of those nights with middle schoolers that I actually brought on myself because I served them soda someone had donated (if only they would donate caffeine free organic chamomile tea, right?) and allowed them to eat the oreos they found at the end of the scavenger hunt.  Then, inspired by the family dinners at Covecrest, I put out some big paper for them to doodle on during dinner.  In hindsight, the combination of caffeine + frosting + magic markers was a bit much.

This resulted in no “discussion” time where deep thoughts were shared and insights into the Christian life were gained.  No, this was a night where I had to actually say, “there is nothing funny about Hitler jokes” and assure a seventh grader that Mark Hart—the guy on the video leading bible study-- was not one of the guys in “Hangover 2”.   One of those nights when lots of words were being said but very little conversation actually occurring. 

It was during one of those monologues that a newer student said quietly, “I’m just still trying to figure out how I’m supposed to be here” and I snapped back, “a good way to do that is talk less and listen more”.  Then I tried to, again, reign the conversation back around to the point about keeping holy the Sabbath that I was trying to make.

It was only an hour later, when they had gone home and I was scraping oreo frosting and frayed nerves off the floor that I realized I had totally failed.

See, middle school youth ministry will make you mental, but it’s also truly a gifted moment to be present in these kid’s lives.  They ARE figuring out how they’re supposed to be.  Not just at youth group but everywhere.  Church, school, family, volleyball…  You name it, in every area they are in a state of becoming.   Tonight, I missed my opportunity and focused too much on trying to control the chaos and too little on the doors the kiddos were opening with their questions. 

Should middle schoolers be allowed to interrupt or make Hitler jokes?  No.  But do they know that yet?  Maybe not.  I forget that for some kiddos, this is the first time they’ve sat at a table of peers and adults and been invited to simply share what’s on their mind and heart.  It’s going to take them some time to learn what’s appropriate and not appropriate to say and do. 

Meanwhile, I need to be patient while they figure out how they’re supposed to be—correcting when necessary but encouraging in excess, realizing that these small moments are a small part of the foundation of who they will be as mature Catholics. 

I also need to portion those oreos.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Thoughts from the Gym: Divestment

Just listened to another podcast that mentioned "divestment".  Why is this not something that the pro life and human trafficking movement look at?  It was divestment that ended apartheid.  Has this been discussed?  It seems that this idea of touring college campuses and getting them to divest of industries that fund planned parenthood could be an pro-life strategy that could lead to real change.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts from the gym: Are we serving needs?

A woman I had chatted with last week called today.  I had mentioned I was looking for chia seeds...  We all complained how hard it was to find certain products in this area, where Trader Joes and Whole Foods was hours away.  She called because she had seen them & found them for me yesterday.  Amazing that someone would remember my request and look out.  Do we do that with more dire issues?  In ministry, are we just trying to do stuff, or actually address people's needs?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thoughts from the gym: Saying No.

I'm at the gym by 5:15 today, which is pretty great for a Friday.  I wouldn't have gotten here if I hadn't said no to something, though.  Saying "no" is something I'm not good at, but it's truly a survival skill of those who work in ministry.  It's the hardest thing to do but the reality is, there will always be more awesome things that need your help...  But taking care of your soul...  And body... And sanity...  Are what will keep you in for the long run. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Recent articles...

a few recent contributions I've made to the blogging and printed world:

The Crying Chair, a blog on healthy friendships for

Add Spiritual Regimens to your list of Resolutions in the Catholic Miscellany

Prepare your future college student...  in The Island Packet

Prom Tips for Parents,  Prom Tips for Teens at

Mentors: thoughts from the gym

After reading Start by John Acuff, I'm inspired to try to post more thoughts on being Catholic, especially as a youth minister, here.  I'm also trying to find more hours in the day by being productive with the ones I have.  In an effort to combine those two things, here are some thoughts I had after reading Sheryl Sandberg's chapter on Mentors from Lean In:

Currently reading "lean in" by Sheryl Sandberg and just finished her chapter on mentors.  Great advice about not awkwardly asking for someone to mentor you, but asking pointed questions to those you respect.  I think, in youth ministry, we need more of this happening.  I've been blessed to have people that have been tremendous help to me- especially those who are not close friends who I'd regularly have coffee with but those who are more my senior in experience who have given me necessary- and difficult- advice in a single call, e-mail or conversation.  I think I thought a mentor was supposed to turn into a "BFF", and maybe I was doing it wrong, but Sandberg clarifies that not all relationships need to involve hours of sharing.  Valuable perspective.

Sandberg suggests in the next chapter that showing emotion in the work place is authenticity.  Not sure ill ever be down with crying in the work place.