John Paul II, we love you.

There are a few things we want to share with you on this spring day!

First up, in case you haven’t seen it, the Love Begins Here promo video launched yesterday. One of the coolest facebook posts we saw in conjunction with a share of it, was the following, by Dan, a former missionary who is in his first year of college.

Words cannot describe the joy and good fruits that so beautifully radiate from Love Begins Here and these people, so I am just going to leave this video here with a piece of advice: do it. You will never regret making that decision to take part in one of the most life changing things I have ever experienced.

 

 

Second, we would like for you to save the date of October 19th. At 1:00pm in the afternoon, Chris Stefanick (international Catholic speaker and the brains behind Chosen) will be making a stop in the Diocese of Madison. (St. John the Baptist in Waunakee will host us!) He will speak with teens and parents for a couple hours that afternoon as a part of the Revolution of Love Series that will be coming back for the 2014 – 2015 school year. We will have more information to share later this spring!

Third, congrats to Topher (from Camp Gray!) and Anna (2014 LBH Core Team member) on winning the JP2 Book giveaways last week! They will be in the mail on Friday.

JPII Demanding Love

On the topic of this great to-be saint, we thought that over the next few weeks we could share with you some inspiration and insights from the book. Today’s summary is of chapter 7, on his love for young people. (In case you are curious, chapters 1 – 6 are a biography.)

Blessed John Paul II’s great love for the youth and commitment to them can teach us many things. The following are four lessons we, especially those who work with teens, can learn from him.

1. Be present.
John Paul immersed himself in his interactions with the youth, from his young years as a priest unto his aging years as our Holy Father. An University instructor who spent time with him and the youth on wilderness trips recalled, “He lived and breathed these problems [on their hearts]. And because young people live and breathe love, he lived and breathed these young people’s love.” Not only did he enter into their deepest questions and struggles, he literally made himself available, regularly announcing to the youth where he was staying so they could visit him on his travels. We all have many things fighting for our attention. The fact of the matter is that we must put them down and order our days (and lives) to be available and present to the hearts of our teens.

2. Do not compromise on the truth.
John Paul did not believe in shying away from teaching and preaching the truth. He recognized that the world already sold the youth short, and he did not want to join them in doing so. As Jason writes, “if he had lowered the standard, he’d have missed the chance to invite people to live lives of heroic virtue.” Our young people want the truth and want to be challenged. Be a beacon of light and truth for them, in the midst of this often dark world.

3. Whatever you do, remain authentic.
What John Paul believed and what he said were one in the same. He took his call to witness to his Catholic faith very seriously. He made it known that encountering Christ changes ones life. We are called to that same witness, preaching that we have a “real capacity to become the image of his Son”, rather than believing we are “the sum of our weaknesses and failures.”

4. Make your who life about love.
Here Jason tells a story of the young people on John Paul’s first visit to the USA chanting “John Paul II, we love you!” The Holy Father, so delighted by their excitement and genuine love, responded, “Perhaps, I love you more.” He knew that by loving the young people, he could introduce them to the love that will solve all their problems and answer all of their questions. He called them to live in that love, in true freedom, regardless of how demanding of a task it might seem to be. Taking his witness to heart, we need to be devoted to loving the folks the Lord puts in our lives, so that along they way we can offer them His love.

Canonization Preparation, Bishop Morlino and a Sweet Giveaway!

Today on the blog, we are doing a little round up of some sweet things that have surfaced in the past week!

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First up, Tiffany Topel (the super sweet and talented youth minister in Jefferson) was featured on the Lifeteen blog this week! Go read it! Not only does it feature the story of Bishop Morlino’s visit with her Middle School Youth, but she also shares two important things she learned from the visit. Huge thanks to Tiffany for not only her passionate work but sharing her wisdom with folks in the Madison Diocese and far beyond.

Second, Noah is coming out this weekend, and we have collected a number of things to read, if you are thinking about seeing it. The first recommendation would be to read the actual account of Noah and the ark in scripture; start in Genesis 6 and continue through Genesis 9. (A quick, or thorough, reading will tell you that there must be some additions or cinematic choices made to make the story into a feature length film.) There is a thoughtful review on the National Catholic Register that provides some context for the movie and thoughts on the production and retelling of the story. Catholic Online movie reviewer Scot Landry makes a case for 8 Reasons Why Catholics Should See Noah. And, Catholic Vote has a blog post on 100 proudly Catholic films, whether or not you feel like Noah is going to bring you to the theater.

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Third, while we’re still in the midst of Lent, let’s not forget to prepare for the great feast of Divine Mercy that is coming our way one month from today! Along with the great feat in the midst of the Easter season, on April 27th of this year, two canonizations will take place, of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. Now is the perfect time to learn about these great saints-to-be. Here are a few suggestions:
– Journal of a Soul: The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII 
– Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert (Learn about this incredible brand new book here! From there you can download a chapter of it, place a bulk order for them in paperback, pick one up in hardcover, and get the links to buy them on your iPad, Kindle or Nook!)
Pope John XXIII Vatican Webpage
Pope John XXIII Beatification Homily
Pope John Paul II Vatican Webpage
Pope John Paul II Beatification Homily

Fourth, thanks to the great support for the Camp Gray fundraiser at Orange Leaf (the Old Sauk, Middleton location) last night. See the recap from the event on their Twitter account.

Fifth, go Badgers!

Sixth, if you want to win a copy of Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves, you have a chance to do so today! Just leave a comment with your name and Parish. We’ll draw two winners at 10:00am on Monday, March 30th!