Long Time No Blog
I have officially been the Director of Youth Ministry at Light of the World for 5 days now. As you know the family and I have been taking advantage of my vacation days to the fullest extent. We have been soaking up all the Rocky Mountain fun we possibly can on a YM budget. However this blog will all be about work. I will try to go in chronological order but I don’t promise it will be a pretty read.
My first day on the job was actually before my actual start date. I went in on Tuesday to hang out with Shaun and Stefania, the outgoing YM’s, so they could show me around and give me the scoop on all the behind the scenes details of the ministry. They showed me around the office space and the YM closet. We ended up talking shop a lot and sharing our vision of ministry. They gave me some very good insights as to what direction things should continue going and what was not working all that well. I got to share some of my ideas for the ministry and were very supportive of them all. I am very excited that Shaun will be working in the area with a College Ministry called Focus so he and I should be able to keep up and maybe even do some things together. Stefania will be working in the Archdiocesan Youth Ministry office so I already have an inside contact there too! They are both really great people and I very much enjoyed my day hanging out and talking youth ministry with them. By the way I was in the office with them from 9AM until 6PM so I actually put in a full day before I was even working!
Friday was my forst official day and it started at 8AM. What a horrible time for an office to open! One cool thing about getting up that early is that I have no excuse for not going to daily mass at 8:30. I really love starting the day with Eucharist! Most of my day was spent getting my office squared away so I could start working. I decided to only bring two boxes of my own stuff to start and I am glad I did. Because the job was being split between two people before I have two offices full of stuff to condense into one. Shaun and Stefania did a great job of getting most of it organized and into one area for me. All the important stuff is within easy reach and that helps a lot.
I do however like to put my own touch on things so I ended up rearranging furniture anyway. Fr Michael said that I could pick and choose between the furniture in both offices. At one point I was just sitting there surveying the space when Fr. Michael was walking by and he asked me what was wrong. I said, “nothing, I was just trying to decide what pieces to keep and what to switch out”. Well that sent him off on a little tangent trying to help me get what I wanted for my office. Now remember this is the opening day of the Parish Fair and it is about 2:30 in the afternoon. He had just come by earlier and told me that I didn’t need to hang around the office all day but I really wanted my stuff put away before the weekend so I was staying around. Well, he ended up giving me his personal desk, which was stashed in the basement of the rectory. That meant that the maintenance crew, who was busy getting all the last minute things done for the fair, had to stop what they were doing to go get the desk and bring it to me. I felt horrible but he assured me that they were all happy to do it. He said he felt bad that they didn’t have more stuff ready for me when I got there to make my transition easier. I was able to get the desk all set up and most of my stuff arraigned, including switching out a few book cases, by 5:00 in time for the fair.
The Fair started on Friday at 5PM and ended at 10PM. I had a youth booth that was selling popcorn, candy, hotdogs, and soft pretzels. Fortunately all that was taken care of by the teens and LIFE TEEN Core Team. All I had to do was show up and play politician (you know, meet people, shake hands and learn names). I am very good at the first two and really stink at the last. So I made a big game of it and introduced myself by a different name each time just so I could keep things fun. I met a lot of people that evening and had some great conversations with teens, parents and Core members. They had a live band playing all night long so I had to talk over the music most of the time and my voice got very tired. (After this weekend I know how poor Olivia must feel after share-a-thon.) The teens are great and we had a lot of fun together. Natalie and the kids got there a little after 5 to hang out with me and meet people. Fr. Michael kept my family in tickets so we could eat and play. The kids had fun riding the rides and playing games all night long. Nat took the kids home around 9:45 and I followed about 10:30 after helping close everything up. My first official day on the job was a 14 ½ hour day! I love youth ministry!
The fair didn’t start until 11AM on Saturday. I was excited to be able to sleep in a little but ended up awake at 7AM anyway (my bedroom window faces East)! I got there around 10:45 and my teens and adults had everything under control. Which is good because I had no idea what they were doing! LOL. Saturday morning was a little slower which allowed my Core Team to talk to me about the summer activities we have planned. Apparently they decided to do a home mission the week after Steubenville of the Rockies. They had the forms and everything ready for the teens to get signed up over the weekend. We will be helping a little retreat center about 7 miles up the road do some repairs from all the heavy snows they got this winter. It should be a good time and good service for the teens. Saturday morning and afternoon was a lot more of the same, meet people, shake hands, and talk about my vision for YM. I did get to hang with the teens a little more and I even learned a few names.
Natalie spent the day cleaning and running errands. She got there around 5:00 with Ethan but Maddy had a headache and couldn’t come. Ethan ran around and had a great time playing with all the new kids. Natalie and I met many people and talked, and talked and talked and talked and talked. I think I am tried of talking by now but there are still a bunch of people to talk to. By around 6:00 I started feeling very tired and had a horrible headache. Unfortunately that is also when the Saturday night mass let out and there was a huge onslaught of people. I worked the booth to help with the flood of people until Father brought more people to meet me and talk to me. I had forgotten to eat during the day so after things slowed down again I grabbed a bite to eat and had a few more bottles of water. After that I got my second wind and did what I do best, talk talk talk talk talk. We had a big rainstorm Saturday night about 2 hours before the end of the fair and I had left my windows down. Natalie stayed until the end with me and we took her car home so I didn’t have to drive home on a wet seat. We got home around 11PM and went straight to bed!
Sunday there was only one mass scheduled for the whole day. We usually have 4 masses on Sunday but Father wanted to have just one so we could all get together as a parish family in celebration of the fair. He called is “Mass on the Grass” and it was at 9AM. We set up a stage on the lawn facing the East and the congregation faced West. Just so you know, our Church sits on top of a hill with the foothills of the rocky Mountains clearly visible in the near distance. You can get an idea of the view we had for mass by looking at the picture on the header of our website at www.lotw.org. The cross in the foreground is in the center of the grassy area we had mass on. Hopefully I will have some pictures from mass to post soon. It was a beautiful sunny day with big fluffy clouds and a beautiful blue sky. Needless to say it was very hard to concentrate on the readings. Fr. Michael did a super homily on the trinity and tied it into out unity as a parish. Probably the most amazing part was at the end of the consecration with Father and two deacons elevating the Host and Chalice standing in the brilliant sunshine, and Son-shine, with the hills in the background. I am glad I got to participate in that mass instead of having to play for it. I will probably not get to experience that next year. At the end of mass we surprised Father with a cake because Wednesday is the twentieth anniversary of his ordination. They also gave him a “trinity” picture, him at his ordination, him at 10 years and him now at twenty. Get it Trinity Sunday, trinity anniversary plaque? I thought that was cool!
So after that amazing Mass I went back to my weekend of meeting people, shaking hands and talking about youth ministry. By the way, Father introduced me at Mass again so I had even more people to talk to! Our teens sold breakfast burritos after mass so I had even more teens and parents there helping out, which was nice because I got to meet more of the Core Team members. Sunday was scheduled to go until 3PM and then we had to clean everything up. Natalie went home around noon and left the kids to hang out and make friends. They had a great time making friends and riding rides. Maddy was of course a big hit with the teens and made lots of new friends. They were all happy she could come out because they missed her on Saturday. Natalie came back for the kids at 2:30 and Maddy elected to stay behind and help with the clean up. We both worked very hard and I worked extra hard because I wanted to make amends to the maintenance crew for having to move my desk on Friday. They were apparently fairly impressed by my willingness to stay and work after the fair. I was very impressed with the teens work to help put everything up after the fair. It looks like I have another great group of teens that are not afraid of a little dirty work. We only had one incident where a piece of scaffolding fell on one of the guys from the men’s club (who happens to be the dad of one of my teens) and sliced his eyebrow open. After that we managed to pack away two huge tents worth of rental tables and chairs, as well as all the booths and scaffolding by around 5:45. I was amazed at how quickly and seamlessly everything got finished. I must admit that I was glad the long weekend had finally come to an end.
Fortunately for me the office is closed on Monday so I had yesterday off to do errands with Natalie and get a few things done around the house. One exciting thing that happened yesterday is that we may have found a Catholic school to sent Ethan to. But that will have to wait for a different bolg. Today was another fun day in the office of sorting through things and putting things in order at the office. I have been working all-day and writing for about an hour now so I am going to go to bed. Thanks for reading this boring blog, I hope I have filled you all in enough for one evening.