Do you know who you’re talking to?

As I walked down the hall and into our parish’s Spanish language youth group meeting after a very trying and somewhat disappointing middle school lesson on the Ten Commandments, I was fully immersed in beleaguered-teacher mode. I entered and quickly began an Advent lesson on Mary. We began reviewing the stories of the Annunciation, theContinue reading “Do you know who you’re talking to?”

Holiness is messy: “Gaudete et Exsultate” highlights

On Sunday, I stood in a Church parking lot with about a dozen teenagers preparing for confirmation. I held a pile of paper plates under my arm, a black marker in my hand. The youth all stood behind a line, listening to me as I described their task: moving as a team to another lineContinue reading “Holiness is messy: “Gaudete et Exsultate” highlights”

Love in the midst of the mess

You are dreading another meal of ramen noodles and canned vegetables, but you know that’s all that’s left in the cupboard, that it’s the best you can offer your son tonight. You’re thinking about this as you enter the dimly lit child care center to pick him up, with hunger pulling on your stomach, onlyContinue reading “Love in the midst of the mess”

A litany for the teens in Parkland, FL

Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. –2 Corinthians 6:2 Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.  Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. For our failure to protect children, God, have mercy.   For our failure to elect leaders who protect lives, God, have mercy.   For our failure toContinue reading “A litany for the teens in Parkland, FL”

Loving and sassy

A fascinating thing happened this school year when I tried to teach my students to love their neighbors. Kids can be so mean. I remember this from when I was in school.  As a teacher now, I see this reality right in front of me.  It’s awful.  At a Catholic Christian school it seems even Continue reading “Loving and sassy”

imagining a world free of drones

A couple of years ago, another Catholic youth minister despairingly asked me a very fascinating question that just keeps lingering:  “Julia, what can we do about the overall lack of imagination in the youth today?” I think the question emerged from my friend’s brilliant analysis regarding the resistance we encounter when we challenge youth toContinue reading “imagining a world free of drones”

3 simple ways to honor St. Francis today

Happy St. Francis Day!!! I love this guy. Today, I invite you to do three simple and important things to honor St. Francis and his legacy that continues to inspire people, like me, to follow Jesus in messy, authentic ways.  The three actions I propose are totally Franciscan things to do. Join my Franciscan family and me inContinue reading “3 simple ways to honor St. Francis today”

adventures in the Spirit, part 4

Living by the Spirit that is Truth is not comfortable.  We can feel crammed into corners, we have to give up control, we have to trust others.  Sometimes we are exhausted but still have to keep pushing ourselves.  Our bodies can hurt, but we still have to carry heavy loads and keep moving onward.  WhenContinue reading “adventures in the Spirit, part 4”

adventures in the Spirit, part 3

A wise priest once helped me understand what Spirit means.  Spirit, he said, is all that relates beyond boundaries.  Our Spirits can transcend time, place and bodily nature to relate to our God, the Great Source.  Jesus said His Spirit would be with us always.  At times, it seems as if the spirits of thoseContinue reading “adventures in the Spirit, part 3”

love upon my heart for teens like Trayvon

A teenage boy, Trayvon Martin, was killed a month ago in Florida. Since then his death has heated up the national news and sparked highly emotional questions, comments, protests, prayer, rallies and vigils.  We’re angry, lamenting and mourning.  In our hearts we know something is wrong and we are acting for peace. Last week aContinue reading “love upon my heart for teens like Trayvon”