UNVEILED: How to register? + Schedules

We’ve gotten a few questions on how to go about registering for Unveiled. Hopefully this little post and the explanation will be of great benefit to you.

A small suggestion: Go ahead and read through all of these steps first, and then use the links to help you with each step of the process.

Step One:
Visit the Unveiled Registration Page on the Diocesan Website.

Step Two (Individual Registrations):
E-mail Lindsay to let her know that you will be sending young people on the retreat. Include the names of who the chaperones are or if you will need help getting hooked up with a chaperone. Chaperones do need to go through the registration process too!

Step Two (Parish Group Registrations):
[Request a Google Doc if you haven’t yet.] Fill in your registration info on your Google Doc.

Step Three:
Print off an initial registration form and your waivers – Middle School and/or High School.

Step Four:
Fill them out and mail them in. Make checks payable to Diocese of Madison – OEC. It would be great to get all the forms in a week before the retreat begins!

That’s it!
Easy right? That’s the hope.

If you still have questions, post a comment, e-mail lindsay.becher@straphael.org, or or give a call to Lindsay (608.821.4544).

A bunch more information is found on the Unveiled Page on the Diocesan Website, so make sure to check it out and read all about it. One small bit of information that’s not posted there yet are the schedules. However, you’re in luck — as we’re unveiling them on the blog today. Enjoy the sneak peek into this incredible, prayerful and fun retreat.

Middle School:

High School:

Sneak Peak: Year of Faith Resolutions

The following is an article I wrote appearing in this week’s issue of The Catholic Herald on how to go about making some Year of Faith resolutions. Enjoy the preview — and make sure to pick up a copy in the next few days.

Most Americans are familiar with New Years resolutions; many embrace them with enthusiasm for the first two weeks of January each year. As winter trudges on, those resolutions lose some of their fervor. Almost all Catholics are familiar with the practice of fasting from things they enjoy each Lent; the good majority stay strong throughout those forty days.

Based on the success rates of keeping resolutions, it seems like the better and more serious a reason to make one in the first place, the more enthusiasm and effort is put forth in keeping it.

As this Year of Faith began in early October, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his opening homily spoke of a “desertification” happening throughout the world. Many people have found themselves drifting away from the practice of the faith, putting stake in the world’s definition of happiness and no longer desiring the beautiful.

He has spoken. This is a serious problem for the world, pertinent for everyone from faithful Catholics to those who are far away from the Church. This problem is not going to remain an unsolved riddle. The Holy Father spoke of a solution you can be a part of during the upcoming 13 months.

In his homily at the Mass opening the Year of Faith, he told all Catholics that “in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive.”

If you are up for the challenge of being a person of faith in the dessert, you may be interested in the following four ideas of resolutions to take on during this Year of Faith, as inspired by the Holy Father’s and Fr. Eric Sternberg’s opening homilies on this momentous occasion.

Number One: Go to Mass and listen. As Fr. Sternberg told the students, if you show up and listen during Mass this year, there is no way that you are not going to get the point and deepen your faith. Priests around the Diocese and the world are going to be teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Listen carefully; your life is about to be transformed.

Number Two: Pray. There is no better way to figure out how the Lord wants to use you in the desert this year other than by being in regular communication with him. Do not be surprised if deepening your prayer life leads you to Confession or taking seriously the following two resolutions.

Number Three: Do something big. (Caveat: Fr. Sternberg told the students at St. Paul’s not to drop out of school. That doesn’t make parents happy.) As for the rest, if the Lord has given you a call, now is the time to embrace it. Perhaps consider doing something big that will invite someone to come back to the Church; put witnessing to what you believe at the top of your list of ideas.

Number Four: Live with joy. As the Holy Father said this week, “We should live with joy in our hearts. We can be happy because Jesus’ goodness remains and is strong.”

For those of you who struggle with resolutions day to day, for the forty days of Lent or during each new year, do not fear. This Year of Faith is not the time for doubt or waiting around; it is a call for action. Let the Lord know about your resolutions and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and energy needed to keep them.

– Lindsay, Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Formation

Our Patron’s BIG Feast Day!

October 22nd.

34 years ago Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II.

Today the American Church is celebrating his feast day for the first time.

I am fairly positive you would really enjoy the Office of Readings for today, featuring the homily newly elected Pope John Paul II gave on that day. Though it may have been done hundreds of times today, it doesn’t hurt to quote these famous words again: “Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ.

On a perhaps lesser known note, I wanted to offer an explanation of the quote on the photo above. During mission trips this summer, a young missionary told me a story about JPII after I shared a series of stories about him during our final night together. Gary told me about the time when during a speech to a group of young people who were chanting, “We love you” he responded with the classic words, “Perhaps I love you more.”

This happened during Pope John Paul II’s first trip to the United States as our Holy Father. He was speaking with a group of students at CUA. (Feel free to watch this beautiful moment for yourself — it occurs between minutes 2:00 and 4:00.)

That day, I am sure he meant those spoken words. More powerfully, he demonstrated this love for them throughout his entire Papacy. He taught the young Catholics of the world the art of living and loving. During each one of his 104 foreign trips around the world, he addressed the young people of the nation he was visiting. And throughout them all, he taught the path to true love —

“Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not clearly tell you so. For it was Jesus—our Jesus himself—who said : “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15 :14). Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfillment.

Dear young people : do not be afraid of honest effort and honest work; do not be afraid of the truth. With Christ’s help, and through prayer, you can answer his call, resisting temptations and fads, and every form of mass manipulation. Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels—to his love and his truth and his joy. Do not go away sad!”

Homily on October 1, 1979 in Boston

Today, and every day, do not hesitate to ask this master in living and loving to intercede for you, the young people of the Church and all of those who work with the youth of the Diocese. Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!

How do I become a new evangelist? + GIVEAWAY (Updated!)

With the start of this Year of Faith last week, we are going to be hearing a number of words and phrases again and again. One of them is new evangelization. To get to the heart of what this phrase means and what it looks like, stay tuned during the rest of this week for resources, quotes and materials on it. (And, if you happen to be in your 20s or 30s, come on out to next month’s Theology on Tap. I’ll be there to share how to share the good news with joy and swagger. It is on Thursday, October 25th from 7:00 – 9:00pm!)

To get us started on the learning, let’s hear some words from our Holy Father as quoted by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who is the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization:

The faith has to be thought out and especially lived out today in a way which is new, in order to become something which belongs to the present. But it is not the dilution of the faith which helps us here, but only living the faith fully in our world today.

To help further your excitement on this topic, watch this great interview with Fr. Robert Barron posted today on the 7 qualities of a new evangelizer. His six-minute explanation is succinct, beautiful and motivating.

As for the GIVEAWAY, enter a comment on this post sharing which point you found to be most enlightening or inspiring and you will be entered to win a set of two books that you can use to help you spread the good news! To be eligible for the giveaway, enter your comment by 11:59pm CST on Thursday, October 18th!

Go out there and work on becoming a new evangelizer today! You’ll be in my prayers. – Lindsay

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Lisa, Doug and Michelle for participating in the first of many GIVEAWAYS on the blog. Below is the photo of the official drawing.

Congratulations Michelle! You’ll be receiving your books soon.

Year of Faith: The Beginning

Have you seen the first in a series of films made especially by Backflip Films for the Diocese of Madison for this Year of Faith? We think it’s pretty incredible. Please watch.

The reasons we ended up making this film are quite plentiful. For some of them, you could read the article about them in the Catholic Herald this past week. Also, have you heard that this week a study came out that one in five Americans do not claim a religious affiliation? That number rises to one in three if you look at just those Americans under the age of 30.

With that said, we essentially want to welcome people back to the Church, help the faithful in the Church desire to deepen their faith and remind everyone that beauty can lead us to know and love God more — all in a super good-looking, professional, beautiful online format that is really easy to share with friends on facebook, e-mail to family members or tweet about.

As a little challenge during these opening days of the Year of Faith, think of someone who you can share this video with in the coming week. Perhaps you could share it with someone from outside of the Madison Diocese or a fallen away friend or family member. This video would also be great to use with your Bible Study group or as you begin your faith formation classes this week. If you are interested in using it as a teaching tool or with a small group, check out the general film guide or high school film guide created to use with the film. Copies of those film guides are also available in B&W on the Diocese of Madison Year of Faith website.

A few resources I would suggest you knowing about as this year begins:
– Daily e-mails from Flocknote to help you read the Catechism during the Year of Faith.
– The Madison Diocese website page for the Year of Faith.
– Daily Year of Faith Companion from Magnificat.
Prayer used at the Second Vatican Council. (This website is also a stellar resource!)

Much more to come in the weeks and months to come! Enjoy sharing the film and checking out all of these great resources.

March for Life: Sign up today!

Today is the perfect day to sign up for the March for Life pilgrimage offered to the High School Youth of the Madison Diocese, as well as ALL of the adults! There are going to be two buses heading out to Washington DC from the Madison Diocese to take part in the March for Life at our nation’s capitol, prayerfully standing up for the unborn on this 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Help us spread the word by passing this link along to your family and friends. This week, we have finalized plans with our bus company and hotel in Washington. It is exciting to note that we will be staying just three blocks away from the Capital building, in the heart of all the action. Apart from the March, this will make for easy touring of historical landmarks and other museums! Also, just this morning, we put in our request for tickets to the Youth Rally. This is going to be an incredible pilgrimage during this Year of Faith!

To get more information or to grab paperwork to complete your initial registration, please visit the Madison Diocese website. Have a question? Submit it in the comments below.

Catechetical Convocation: In Review

Thanks to all who attended the great Catechetical Convocation put on by the OEC and MDREO. What a privilege and blessing it was to hear from our Shepherd and wonderful teacher, Bishop Morlino only a week away from the beginning of the Year of Faith!

As a way to look back on the day and what those gathered had a chance to learn, we are going to review this afternoon the TOP SIX tweets from the day, as created by Fr. Eric Sternberg and Madison Catholic Youth. Go ahead and follow their twitter accounts for more entertaining and inspiring tweets.

Number Six
This quote may have gotten the most laughs of the day, as the Bishop began his second hour of teaching in the morning. Relating modernism to Burger King, a few quotes via song and other little bits of humor here and there were appreciated by all.

Number Five
As the Year of Faith draws close, the Bishop encouraged his catechetical leaders to dive into the teachings of the Church as found in the Catechism, as well as teachings from the Second Vatican Council, like those on religious freedom and the sacred liturgy.

Number Four
The Bishop shared at length about the theme for the Year of Faith in the Diocese of Madison – Evangelization Through Beauty. He was primed to talk about it, as he had just written a great article about the search for true beauty in the Catholic Herald this week!

Number Three
As this day was dedicated to the formation of the catechetical leaders in the Diocese, it was fitting that they were given some history on the true teaching of the Catholic Church. Bishop Morlino, in teaching about the Second Vatican Council, reminded those present that the doctrine has not changed. Teach methods throughout the Church’s history have changed, and they must, to keep up with technology and after reflecting on the signs of the times. (Take a look at Gaudium et spes, 4 to get an idea of what reflecting on the signs of the times means!)

Number Two
At the heart of this whole day, and the entire Year of Faith, is the reminder that we are all called to holiness. Pray hard this week and get ready to enter through, “the ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) [that is] is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church” (Porta fidei, 1).

Number One:
Fr. Eric’s opening tweet for the day takes the top sport on the review of the 2012 Catechetical Convocation. Simple and true words were tweeted. As this Year of Faith draws near, let us remember to keep him in our prayers — especially that he is blessed with many healthy, holy years ahead of leadership in our Diocese!

It was a great day, indeed.

As for a few business matters, if you don’t follow this blog yet, go ahead and sign up for e-mail updates right now! Also, we didn’t show the demo of the first Year of Faith video being produced in collaboration with Backflip Films. If you head over to www.yearoffaithmadison.org, you can preview it there. Check back next week for the real thing and plenty more resources as this year gets started!

Again, thank you so much to all who made time to be with us on this great occasion. For those who weren’t able to join us, hopefully this was a good start at the recap. All are welcome to weigh in with other highlights or questions!