So, Mr. Jesus. We Meet Again.

This Sunday's Gospel has Jesus out for a walk on the beach, and he sees these fishermen and tells them to drop everything and come become apostles.  To hear it preached sometimes, you'd think they'd all never met before.  But take a look at last Sunday's Gospel:John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, … [Read more...]

Christian Community Renewal for Ordinary Moms

This story is for Melanie Bettinelli, who is far more thoughtful than I am, and her house is in better order.So just before Thanksgiving this year, me and another mom got an invitation.  We had a new friend who we'd met because our daughters played sports together and liked each other.  And she said, "I'd like to have you over to do a Thanksgiving craft with us."We said yes, even though we were not really looking for Thanksgiving crafts, but we knew that friendship and community life is i … [Read more...]

How Do You Build a Community of Disciples Who Observe Catholic Liturgical Culture Together?

Earlier, I answered Melanie Bettinelli's post on the challenge of communal feast day observances with a calendar: Here's what we do to observe the liturgical year at our house.  If you read through my litany, you'll see that we enjoy a combination of private celebrations, parish-centered celebrations, and many observances involving a small community of Catholic (and other) friends.  We are, in all, quite blessed.  I didn't answer her deeper question, which is, "How do we get there?"She wr … [Read more...]

Single-Solution Christian Formation is Guaranteed to Fail

In the on-going conversation on what works, and what doesn't, in youth ministry, here are two threads, seemingly disparate, that share what I propose is the #1 fallacy we Catholics cling to when it comes to Christian formation:Richard Becker argues here for changing the age at which we administer the sacrament of Confirmation.  It's the kind of article I'm inclined to like, for all sorts of good reasons. Meanwhile, Fr. Peter Daly in the Archdiocese of Washington was able to track down … [Read more...]

A Youth Group Story You Need to Hear

My recent post on my own youth group experience (when I was the "youth") has generated a pile of enthusiasm and a modest amount of panic.  So I'm going to tell you a story, brand new, that you need to hear.I'm chatting with a fellow mom this weekend, whom I'm just meeting for the first time ever, and it's not in a professional-Catholic context so she doesn't know what it is I do here, or really anything else about me other than that I'm another mom like her, dealing with the same … [Read more...]

Pastoral Care on the Radio, Love of God & Neighbor in Print – Updated

UPDATED to fix the link.  My apologies! *** I was amused at some of the reactions to my post about my formative youth group experience.For those who are concerned that I haven't got a pastoral side to me, tune in to the Mike Allen Radio show this Friday morning (or catch it on podcast later), where we'll be talking about how the Church can navigate the challenges of employees who publicly reject Catholic teaching.  Hint: You can get an idea of what I think by reading this post.For tho … [Read more...]

How My Parish Youth Group Helped Me Leave the Catholic Faith

Every week at Mass, I see this really nice couple.  I think we first met in about 1990 or so, because their daughter was part of the crowd I ran with in high school.  She and I were in our Catholic parish's youth group together, and we had mutual friends at school.  I went to their house once for a post-dance party.  I met the parents again a few years ago -- we'd both long since moved from our old town, and now happened to run into each other at our current parish.  And the news was this: Their … [Read more...]