From the Mission Field: The Mission Manifesto

This summer, we penned our Mission Manifesto. We think it sums up the work we have been up to for the past six years quite nicely. Each and every day this summer, our teens read the manifesto together as they began their work on the mission field. By the end of the week, they all were able to share so beautifully how much these words spoke to them and made an impact on their LBH experience.

To share this manifesto with you all, we’d love for you to hear the words spoken by the 2014 Core Team. (We’re still praying for our nearly 400 summer missionaries each and every day.)

Below, we’d invite you to read about how our mission is inspired by our Holy Fathers and our Patron, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. If you want to a copy of the Manifesto to print and/or share, please download this one right here: LBH Mission Manifesto with Quotes!

Neighbors first.

We boldly take initiative to bring love to our neighbors, evangelizing with patience and joy.

An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. – Pope Francis, (Evangelii Gaudium, 24)

We are aware that when we close our eyes to our neighbor, it also blinds us to God.

Saint John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God. – Pope Benedict XVI (Deus Caritas Est, 16)

We encounter Him in those we serve.

Christian love is not simply an act of charity, it is also an encounter with Christ himself in the poor. – Saint John Paul II to the Missionaries of Charity

By putting God first in all we do, we live to serve others. Things of the world come last. We will find ourselves and come alive when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to our neighbors.

This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. – Second Vatican Council, (Gaudium et spes, 24)

Small things. Great love.

We work on a small scale with a larger perspective.

We need to sink our roots deeper into the fertile soil and history of our native place, which is a gift of God. We can work on a small scale, in our own neighborhood, but with a larger perspective. – Pope Francis, (Evangelii Gaudium, 235)

No task is too small in the eyes of the Lord when filled with great love.

God has created us so we do small things with great love. I believe in that great love, that comes, or should come from our heart, should start at home: with my family, my neighbors across the street, those right next door. And this love should then reach everyone. – Blessed Mother Teresa

We will aim for perfection in our work because our work belongs to the Lord.

Our falling short of perfection should be no excuse; on the contrary, mission is a constant stimulus not to remain mired in mediocrity but to continue growing. – Pope Francis, (Evangelii Gaudium, 121)

Missionary Disciples

We are missionaries who work with passion, knowing we can bring God’s love to our brothers and sisters who hunger.

There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives – the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them. – Blessed Mother Teresa

Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self.

Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self. – Blessed Mother Teresa

We refuse to settle for comfort and complacency, because we know each person is infinitely loved.

The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that “he has loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19) and that he alone “gives the growth” (1 Cor 3:7).  – Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium, 12)

“It is important always to know that the first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God and only by inserting ourselves into the divine initiative, only begging for this divine initiative, shall we too be able to become – with him and in him – evangelizers”. – Pope Benedict XVI

We are the ones who enjoy life most, leaving security on the shore, on a mission to spread the joy of the Gospel.

The Gospel offers us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”. – Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium, 10)

Thanks for checking in! In case you are curious, Love Begins Here 2015 Registration is going to open on December 15th this year! The calendar will be released in mid-October.

In the meantime, get excited for a new Madison Catholic Youth podcast. It will highlight the latest and greatest for our Diocesan Catholic youth, the happenings around Camp Gray and what’s up on the LBH Mission Field. We are planning to launch it on Thursday, October 2!

High School Camp Gray Adventure Day: Fall 2014 Recap

Quote Lake SunsetThanks to all the folks who came out to join us at Adventure Day on September 6th at Camp Gray. It was a beautiful day, and we’re here today to share more about it with you! First up, take a look at this rockin’ video of all the fun we had!

If you want the full story behind what you’ve seen, we’d suggest you reading this stellar recap of the day from Sara, the LBH Intern.

Adventure Book Pic

As much as we want to know our Heavenly Father, He wants to be known even more. With this understanding that He is constantly trying to reveal himself to us through the many gifts He has bestowed on us, the Love Begins Here and Camp Gray communities joined together to go on an epic adventure to explore our Father’s infinite love by encountering Him in His great outdoors. While rock climbing, kayaking, fire building, fishing, and praying together in the company of vibrant sons and daughters of Christ, we caught a genuine glimpse of what the Lord meant when He said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Throughout the day we talked about our Lord’s all-consuming desire to take us on the most exciting journey on earth as He leads us to our final destination in Heaven. These conversations were a perfect reminder that these beautiful experiences we share together amongst authentic friends are just a fraction of what He has in store for us tomorrow, next week, and the rest of our lives.

Adventure Day 1 Blog

For the teens that stayed overnight, we wrapped up the weekend by participating in the celebration of Mass, followed by a solo hike. It was here that we reflected on the ways we were going to continue to pursue a relationship with Jesus on a day to day basis and thus allow Him to transform our hearts.

Words of praise and thanksgiving offered to our Father did not even seem to suffice for the gift of such a perfect weekend to wrap up the summer and send us off with a heavenly vigor for the new experiences to be had this upcoming year. If this Adventure Day was just a glimpse of His glory, just imagine what He desires to share with us the more we desire to encounter Him!

Adventure Day 2 Blog

“Heavenly Father,
Give me the courage to strive for the highest goals,
to flee every temptation to be mediocre.
Enable me to aspire to greatness, as Pier Giorgio did,
and to open my heart with joy to Your call to holiness.
Free me from the fear of failure.
I want to be, Lord, firmly and forever united to You.
Grant me the graces I ask You through Pier Giorgio’s intercession,
by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!

Again, we’d encourage you to SAVE THE DATE for the Middle School Adventure Day at Camp Gray, which will take place on May 2nd!

On My Desk: Getting Started Edition

September 1 Full Desk

Happy Monday, y’all. I’m here today to share with you a new series on this blog! To be honest, I’m pretty excited about it. In my life and work, I come across all kinds of resources, quotes, apps, and thoughts that I think about sharing with my co-workers. This is going to be a formal effort to share them with you on a fairly regular basis. I’ll do so by showing you a sampling of what is literally on my desk. Thanks for stopping by to check it out.

Party Party App Close Up

First up is an app called Party Party, created by my favorite bloggers. (Note: it’s only available on the iOS platform. Sorry to leave out those of you without an iDevice of some kind.) It is a perfect for documenting all kinds of action, with youth groups, retreats or your everyday life. You can easily create photo collages, GIFs, and stop motion videos; also, it can transform your phone into a photo booth instantly. All in all, it’s mighty fun. Boost your Instagram creativity with this little purchase! (Check out how we used it at #cgadventureday!)

Side by Side Close Up

Check out this book. It’s a beautiful look into the life of Bl. Mother Teresa and her relationship with Mary. It is a perfect tool for spiritual reading and entering more deeply into the life of prayer. (Thinking ahead to the holidays, it would be a great catechist gift!)
“The busier you are, the more you need an interior life.” This quote is literally hanging on my wall right now. I’d suggest you do the same in your office.

Marker Close Up

And, here is a quick recap of what else is on my desk:
School supplies. Who doesn’t love back to school shopping? These markers in particular are going to be used for a tool to teach my 7th graders in my Religious Ed class about kinds of prayer. A tutorial for this simple tool will be coming this week!
Summer memories. This summer was incredible, right? I hope you are all enjoying the fruits and graces gain from mission trips and camps this summer.
– Thank you to the individuals and Parishes who joined us at our first HS Adventure Day at Camp Gray. It was an incredible day (and night) of adventure, friendship and growth in faith. Be not afraid, my friends! Watch for a full recap post and video right here on the blog later this week.
Getting Started handouts. It’s not too late to connect us with anyone in the parish who may be new(er) to their roles in evangelization or catechesis for this series of training sessions. Find out more here!

I’ll give you more glimpses into what’s on my desk in future weeks! If you have any thoughts or suggestions for this new series, I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below. – Lindsay