You're Invited! Renewal // December 19

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As most of us know, there exists a certain tension between parish life and high schools across the Archdiocese. This is not the place to get into all of the reasons for this, but simply to state it as a well-known fact and one that is frequently discussed.

That said, I’ve recently been very encouraged by conversations and collaborative efforts that are taking place between high school campus ministers and parish youth ministers. I believe the Lord is moving to build bridges and to bolster ministry opportunities. Last year, I had a conversation with Steve J. at Moeller High School about all of this and we began brainstorming some ideas on how to foster more collaboration between youth and campus ministers. As fruitful as it was, after that meeting, I found myself reflecting upon the experience of the disciples in the Upper Room at the time of Pentecost and I recalled this quote I once read:

“After the end of the apostolic age the early Church had as yet developed only relatively little in the way of a direct missionary activity as a Church, that it did not have any particular strategy for proclaiming the faith to the heathen, and that nevertheless this became the age of the greatest missionary success. The conversion of the ancient world to Christianity was not the result of any planned activity on the part of the Church but the fruit of the proof of the faith as it became visible in the life of Christians and of the community of the Church...The new evangelization we need so urgently today is not to be attained with cleverly thought out ideas, however cunningly these are elaborated…It is only the interaction of a truth conclusive in itself with its proof in the life of this truth that can enable that particular evidence of the faith to be illuminated that the human heart awaits: it is only through this door that the Holy Spirit enters the world.” – Ratzinger

Rather than trying to problem-solve with our own ideas, I would first like to simply gather all of the Youth and Campus Ministers from across the Archdiocese for a retreat…our own upper room experience. The Holy Spirit can lead this and build the bridges, if only we open ourselves, collectively, to Him and His inspiration. So, rather than trying to solve problems, let’s just pray and see what happens. I’m convinced that this has to be the starting point at this crucial time for the Church and for our collective evangelization efforts for the youth of this Archdiocese.

I’m grateful to Steve for helping me navigate the calendar to try to make this work for everyone. I’ve decided upon December 19, 2018 for this semester’s Renewal retreat. Most youth ministry at parishes has wrapped up by then, and high schools have fewer ministry opportunities as students are generally in the midst of final exams. I’ve been able to book Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, an international speaker and the host of the Wild Goose series, to offer us an Advent-themed retreat focusing on John the Baptist, the call to repentance, and baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire (cf. Mt. 3:11). Archbishop Schnurr has also graciously agreed to be present for this day, and will say Mass for all of us.

The details can be found here. It is my sincere hope that everyone can attend. I believe it will be a powerful experience and a witness to the whole Archdiocese of what the Lord is doing here.

Be assured of my prayers for all of you.