Monday, January 16, 2017

John Bosco Day

    As part of my internship I brought a group of youth to a conference called John Bosco Day. As part of the day, we had adoration. And as part of adoration, a priest processed the Eucharist up and down the aisles of the congregation. I remember as I started checking how close I was to an aisle to see how close Jesus would be when the priest processed by. Unfortunately I was standing in the middle of my section: I couldn’t have chosen a seat farther from the aisles. But I also noticed that to my left there was wide open space, and I realized it would be very easy to move right up to the aisle, right up to where Jesus was going to pass by.
    But I’m bad at being spontaneous: What about the youth? Shouldn’t I stay with them? I felt conflicted, but ultimately I had to take advantage of the opportunity I saw. I looked around and saw the other chaperones were there; they’ll be fine, I want to be with Jesus.
    So I went to the aisle. I knelt down. The priest arrived. And I talked with Jesus. Afterwards, I got up and looked behind me. All the youth we had brought to John Bosco day had followed me to the aisle. For me, it was a lesson in humility and simplicity. I can focus so much on talks and building relationships in ministry and projects and work and all the rest, and those things all have their place, but ultimately the most important thing is to be close to Jesus and let him be in charge.

-Peter Schmidt

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reflecting on Christmas

     Christmas at Spiritus is always an adventure! We have Christmas parties, concerts, plays, and service projects to attend, in addition to our retreats. However, since there are slightly fewer retreats, our schedule almost evens out. One of my favorite parts about this time of the year here at Spiritus is that there are 14 other young adults who all share in the opportunity to step away from common Christmas Blitz and slow down to enjoy the simplicity of the Advent season. For us that can mean a lot of things, including listening to Advent music, meditating on the mysteries of Christmas, sitting around in our couch room enjoying the Christmas tree lights, and playing card games such as Mafia or Rummy. I have come to a deeper appreciation of just how wonderful it is to simply slow down and enjoy the Advent season. 
     Unfortunately, this time of the year is also a constant reminder to me that our time here at Spiritus is limited. Before we know it, May will be here and we will all be going our separate ways. This constant reminder aids in drawing my heart back to a simple spirit of gratitude. Gratitude for all that I have experienced thus far here at Spiritus, all the laughter, tears, frustrations, singing, shouting, crazy car rides, beautiful stargazing adventures, fantastic conversations (with God, students, and my Spiritus family), the amazingness of being able to call 14 strangers family, and so much more!

     -Mikayla Uchytil

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Getting to Know Mary!

     It has been such a great blessing learning to pray with Mary through the rosary and consecration over the past year. It is said the best way to get to know Jesus is through the one who loves Him and knows Him best, His mother. Mary is a model for all of us with her great yes to God at the annunciation, even though she did not know all that would be included. She is gentle but shows amazing strength in seeing her most beloved son suffer on the cross. It has been such a blessing as well to help the youth come to know Mary more. She is the most perfect example of a mother and the more we grow close to her, the more we can see her as our mother too! One of the most grace filled moments on the past few months on SPIRITUS was during a middle school lock-in at my youth ministry parish. We had 2 AM adoration and the high school leadership team lead about 25 middle schoolers in the rosary. It is said every time we say a Hail Mary, it is like giving our Blessed Mother a rose. Well, she received loads of roses that night!

     -Brianna Trifiletti

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

     Here at SPIRITUS, we have Christmas break to go home and spend time with our families. I am grateful to be able to see my family for the first time since this past summer. I know that they (and my dog) miss me very much. At the same time, I can't help but think about those who have no family. Those that don't have a home to go back to. I am very fortunate to have these wonderful gifts that I often take for granted, and I desire to be appreciative of them. Most importantly, however, is the gift of Christ Himself. I strive to maintain a focus on our Lord Jesus throughout the entire year, but this is a special season in which I am especially attentive to the wonderful gift of my savior who came to earth. Thank you Jesus, for coming to us through Mary your mother. May we never lose sight of You, the greatest gift that could ever be given. What gift can I give to Jesus this year on His birthday? What gift does He desire to give to me? Come, Holy Spirit! Prepare our hearts to receive the infant Jesus!

     -Gabriel Ogle

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Green Bay Youth Conference

On December 4th, 2016 I was blessed with the opportunity to bring 5 high school students from Saint Mary Greenville’s Parish to the Green Bay Youth Conference -- a diocesan conference in which over 900 youth were in attendance. This conference allowed for the students to connect and create friendships with other students in the area and learn more about living out their faith in their everyday life. The day included praise and worship, breakout sessions, Mass with Father Peter Mitchell, Adoration with Bishop David Ricken, and Confession. As a previous attendee of youth conferences during my years in high school, it was an eye opening experience to plan and attend a youth conference as a youth minister. From inviting students to finding transportation for the students, the journey of planning to attend a youth conference brought both joys and challenges. However, I am extremely thankful for getting to experience all that it takes to lead students from a parish to a youth conference as a youth minister.

Photo By: Dioceses of Green Bay

(Left to Right) Ashley, Sarah, and Carolyn are parishioners at Saint Mary’s Greenville and in attendance at the Green Bay Youth Conference on December 4th, 2016.

-Anna Haiar

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Love the One

Sometimes I find myself seeking to do the will of God in really big ways. Recently though, God has been revealing His will to me in a very different way. I have found God asking me not to love Tens of Thousands all at once, but to love my brother or sister right in front of me. In order to assist me in this endeavor, God has shared this prayer with me: “Lord write on my heart today the name of one person I will meet today in need of your love and show me how to love them as You desire.” What grace this prayer is, an invitation to trust God more, for it asks me to rely on God’s plan of love, not my own. It invites me to live out this simple message, “Jesus I trust in you”

-Zachery Feldker

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Best Advent Ever!

“Make this the best Advent ever!”  For a number of years I have heard this phrase come out the mouths of numerous people, namely Catholic-motivational speakers and priests.  After hearing that phrase I am normally thinking something along the lines of “yeah that is an awesome idea!, I am going to make this my best Advent ever!.”  Usually parishes are helpful in this category and pass out a million of those little blue books or they have a little mountain of  Magnificat Advent Companions so perfectly aligned on a table in the gathering area of the church.  These books are great helpers and in the past I have used the daily reflections to guide my spiritual life, but I always found myself feeling as if there is more that I can do (or not do) to truly “make this the best Advent ever.”  So I am stuck with the question “what can I do?”  if one  thinks about that question too long you find that Advent has passed and it was the more like the most mediocre Advent ever. If I may propose though that one should start with the question “what is Advent celebrating?”, we are looking expectantly towards the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, first in history as a baby being born in Bethlehem, but also we look towards the second coming. As I was reflecting on Advent, the desire to encounter Christ like it was the first time I ever had was on my heart.  Christ makes all things new, and it starts with our relationship with Him.  When Christmas comes I want to experience the joy that Mary and Joseph had when they looked upon that new born child as He lay in a manger, not because of the gifts I get from friends or family, but joy from the ultimate gift of God becoming man to save me and bring me His love personally.  So back comes this question “What should I do in Advent?” Well I do not have an answer for you, but for me it starts with more prayer and from that flows acts of love done because I have been so loved by God that I want to not be able to help loving ALL those around me. I pray that this Advent season all people can prepare a new place in their hearts for our Lord that with that be filled with peace and love.  Pax.  

-Mike Picard