Announcing “Foundations of Faith” – Adult Faith Formation in Jefferson City

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Have you ever found yourself during Mass wondering what something means as you listen to the Scriptures? Perhaps something the priest mentioned in a homily was unclear? Maybe you know you’re Catholic but you’re not sure why the Church teaches what she does on a number of pressing and important issues? Perhaps you want to be better able to explain to your friends what you and the Church believe? Or maybe you’re just curious.

Thankfully there is a solution arriving here in Jefferson City, Mo. Beginning on October 15, 2018, I will be offering an adult education, faith formation, catechesis, class, seminar, whatever you want to call it, and you are most welcome to attend. The classes will begin at 6:30 PM and will be held in Kertz Hall at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

The course will be geared towards adults, that is anyone 18 & older.

I am titling the course, “The Church in the Modern World.” That is both a reference to Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, as well as something broad enough for us to cover a wide variety of topics across different sessions.

I will be offering a six week session this fall. In the future, I plan to offer more 6-10 week sessions. Each of the sessions will be based on a particular theme as requested by those attending the class. Click here to see some potential future topics.

For this initial session I consulted our parish education commission and came up with the theme, “Foundations of Faith.” Our class topics will be:

October 15: Faith & Reason

October 22: Faith & Science

October 29: Revelation

November 12: Origins of Sacred Scripture

November 19: Scripture & Tradition

November 26: Jesus

December 7: Mary (N.B. – This is on a Friday as a part of the parish Advent Soup Supper)

It will not be a linear course in the sense it will not be necessary to attend every week, you can come and go as you please. I will also post readings and resources on this web site, though it will not be necessary to review them beforehand. Even if you can’t make it a given week, you’ll still have access to all of the resources found at this hub.

I look forward to seeing you on October 15th, let me know if you have any questions. Please help me spread the word. Below is a printable flyer you can print.

If you already know you want more information, click here, to send me an e-mail, and I’ll add you to the e-mail list.

The Meaning of the Bishop’s Coat of Arms and Episcopal Motto

Here’s the final video in the catechetical series on the nature and role of the bishop in the Catholic Church. This one was intentionally delayed until the ordination and installation of our new bishop last week.

This video is done by Chris Korte, the director of the Newman center in Kirksville, Mo. He’s also in the permanent diaconate formation program, and thus was one of my students a few years ago.

Viewing information for ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION OF W. SHAWN McKNIGHT

Unfortunately space is limited in our cathedral, therefore the diocese is making the upcoming ordination available to be viewed through a variety of sources. Please join me in praying for Bishop-Elect McKnight and our entire diocese.

WHERE TO SEE

THE ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION OF W. SHAWN McKNIGHT

AS THE FOURTH BISHOP OF JEFFERSON CITY

2 P.M., TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6

  • EWTN NETWORK (CHECK YOUR LOCAL CABLE OR SATELLITE PROVIDER LISTINGS FOR LOCATION)
  • FOX 22- KQFX (CHECK YOUR LOCAL CABLE OR SATELLITE PROVIDER LISTINGS FOR LOCATION)
  • CATHOLIC TV (CHECK YOUR LOCAL CABLE OR SATELLITE PROVIDER LISTINGS FOR LOCATION)
  • LIVESTREAM ON EWTN.COM (Choose TELEVISION at the top menu and select “WATCH LIVE”—Choose EWTN USA)
  • LIVESTREAM ON KMIZ.COM or ABC17NEWS.COM (Choose VIDEO at the top menu and select “EVENT LIVESTREAM” or “NEWSCAST LIVESTREAM”)
  • LIVESTREAM ON CATHOLICTV.ORG (Choose WATCH at the top of the page)

Daily Reflection: 14 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

Reflection:

Frankly, today’s readings speak for themselves. They are the greatest story ever told. So to comment on them specifically is always a daring challenge. Today, I’d like to reflect upon how I have recently witnessed the kind of sacrificial love Christ offers for us on the Cross.

As some may know one of my roles in the diocese is as professor/formator for the Spanish speaking permanent diaconate candidates.

Yesterday, the teacher became the student.

I was blessed to be able to attend the naturalization ceremony for one of the candidates and his family.

What did I learn?

Of course there was a great civics lesson, as it was a truly unique and moving ceremony.

More importantly I learned about the values of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. For yesterday was not just about 35 minutes in a Federal Court Room, it was about 19 years of love and sacrifice.

Today we celebrate Good Friday, Christ’s sacrificial love for us on the Cross. this candidate and his wife give us a living witness of this love through the sacrifices they have made for their children.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day.

Thank you for letting the teacher be the student once more.

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Why your son should go on Camp Maccabee

Back in 2009, I was accepted to enter seminary in the fall. I spent the summer working for Religion News Writers Association. At the beginning of the summer I met a priest of our diocese, Fr. Bill Peckman who invited me to come help with this new camp he was starting for high school boys. So I agreed to help out, and after I lost my glasses in the river on a float trip, as they say, the rest is history. I’ve been involved with the camp on and off ever since (Rome made it somewhat difficult). When I lived in Rome, many would ask me, what’s one thing you are really excited about or proud of in your diocese? My answer always was, “Camp Maccabee.”

So what’s the deal with Camp Maccabee? What makes it so great? Why have I been promoting it in parishes around the diocese, on Facebook and on Twitter? Why should you bother to send your son? Allow me to explain.

What is it? What does it entail?

Camp Maccabee is a week-long (Sunday-Friday) camp for young Catholic men entering high school (9th-12th grade). The camp consists of a variety of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, warrior/ninja dash obstacle course, low ropes course etc. These fun outdoor activities are pared with daily Mass, Adoration, Liturgy of the Hours, Confession, a series of talks about the virtues and Catholic masculine spirituality (they very every year), and discussion groups.

Not only are the outdoor activities fun, but also they are meant to help teach the men how to sacrifice for one another through teamwork, as well as how to grow as a leader. The talks are then meant to help the men take the lessons they’ve learned through the activities and apply them to the other areas of their life so that they can grow in maturity and faith.

Why is it needed?

When I was in high school I was very active in my local parish’s youth group. I cannot tell you how many times I would show up to an event and the number of girls way out numbered the number of guys, sometimes even to the extreme where I was the only guy present. I still see it today when I do youth ministry as a priest. Camp Maccabee seeks to reverse this trend. To say to young men, it’s ok to be a guy and have faith. The camp helps these young men to grow in their Catholic faith and masculine identity at the same time. Not only does the camp say, “it’s ok to be a guy and have faith,” but it also provides the young men with the tools to be able to grow.

Furthermore, in my work in a Catholic high school, as well as looking at society in general, I think it is fairly obvious that many young men today are very wrapped up in themselves, it’s always about me, me, me. This attitude is often also coupled with an attitude that nothing is ever their fault, they are always the victims. Lastly, there is the issue of how they treat women, treating them as objects of their pleasure, not respecting their beauty and dignity, and in doing so, not respecting themselves either.

Camp Maccabee seeks to reverse some of those trends. To provide a healthy, Catholic and virtuous understanding of what it means to man in today’s world. We teach about what it means to embody a self-sacrificial kind of love that is focused on the other and not just oneself. Instead of victims looking to blame others and escape problems, we teach them how to be leaders who will take charge and help others to grow.  Lastly, through things like Theology of the Body, we teach them how to love and respect woman in a deeper and more Christian manner.

Does it work?

Do I think that 5 days can completely solve all of the difficulties and problems your son in facing? Absolutely not. Camp Maccabee is not some sort of magical quick fix, where you drop your son off on Sunday and then poof, you get someone completely new on Friday.

Do I think it works? Of course. I believe that the lessons these young men learn on Camp Maccabee plant seeds, seeds that grow and develop over time. Over the years I have seen young men who have come back year after year, the difference between them as someone entering their freshman year and senior year, is palpable. While some of that may be generic maturing, I like to believe that Camp Maccabee has helped in that process.

As the camp has developed over the years, we now have many young men come back and help as junior staff or counselors when they are in college. That’s how you know it’s working. These men come back to share the gifts and lessons they first learned as campers, which they now want to share with the next wave of young men. They are also able to testify how the camp has helped them with their college experiences.

Should I send my son?

If you agree with anything I’ve said so far, then yes! Of course you should send your son. If you have a desire for your son to grow and mature as a young Catholic man, then I see no greater opportunity in our area.

As parents when you had your son baptized, you promised to help raise your son in the faith and to help him grow in his relationship with Jesus Christ, sending your son on Camp Maccabee is a concrete expression of how you can live that promise you made to God on the day of their baptism.

That being said, the camp is strenuous, there are lots of difficult outdoor activities, and so your son will be pushed. If you think this might be too overwhelming at this point, perhaps it’s best to wait a year. If you think, that’s great, I want them to push themselves so they can grow, then send them our way.

Here’s a short video from Fr. Bill, the founder of the camp reflecting on this very issue:

 

How do I sign up?

All of the camp application or registration forms are found on CampMaccabee.com. From there be sure to click on the “Sign up” tab.

There you will see instructions for mailing in your forms. If you live in one of the parishes where I serve as a priest, you can hand them to me directly and I’ll make sure they are submitted.

There are two weeks to choose from:

  • July 16-21 @ St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Robert, MO
  • July 23-28 @ St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Robert, MO

How else can I help?

So perhaps you don’t have any sons? Or your children are too young still or already past high school age? Yet you are still stirred with a desire to help the camp. I can think of two ways in particular:

  1. Pray: This camp has only been able to survive, sustain itself and grow through the efficacious power of prayer. Pray for all the young men who are on the fence about going, that they may be moved to take the courageous step of signing up. Pray for those young men who will be attending, that God will use the camp to help them grow in ways they cannot even imagine. Pray for the parents of these young men, that they may have the courage to help support their sons as they grow in their faith. Lastly, pray for us, the staff, that we may be vessels of God’s grace for those young men starving to hear God speak to their heart.
  2. Donate: Over the past 8 years the camp has grown considerably, expanding to two weeks as well as expanding the activities and number of campers. Like everything else in the world, these things cost money to happen. We only charge the campers $150 to go on the trip, and even offer scholarships to those who can’t afford to go. Yet the reality is that all of these activities and the food (they are teenage boys after all) cost much more. Perhaps if you can’t donate money, you can get in touch with Fr. Bill Peckman to find out what other specific needs there may be. In the past we’ve had people donate whole hogs or cattle, (lots of pork and beef for the kids), a smoker and much more. If you are interested in helping out in this way, please visit CampMaccabee.com. Know that your support makes a tremendous impact on the lives of so many young men and will continue to impact the Church as they grow into adulthood.

Conclusion:

So when you wonder why I run around the diocese praising Camp Maccabee, now you know a little bit more about why I believe so much in this project. I don’t even believe this post covers all of my thoughts on the subject, so there might be more coming in the days and weeks to come. In the mean time if you have any questions for me, feel free to leave a comment below.

Another article in The Catholic Missourian

Last month I linked to a story in the Jefferson City News Tribune, telling the story of a young couple from Jeff City that I met here in Rome. Now the local Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Missourian, has also run a story on their encounter with Pope Francis. That story can be read by clicking here. It retells the couple’s experience in even greater detail.

Sorry for the lack of posts, I hope to get some updates up soon. I’ve been deaconing a lot, but without giving any homilies.

News Tribune article

In the last few days I have received a few messages about an article that was published in the Jefferson City News Tribune.

I am mentioned in the article for having helped a young couple from the diocese to get tickets to attend a papal audience with Pope Francis as newlyweds and thus meet the Holy Father. Thankfully it was a successful venture and seemed to have a great impact on the faith of the couple.

What a joy it was for me to get to meet them, take them on a tour of St. Peter’s and to help them have a wonderful experience in Rome.

Here’s a link to the article:

Local newlyweds get blessing from the pope

Catholic Missourian Profile

In anticipation of ordination our diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Missourian, publishes a profile piece on every ordinand to the diaconate and priesthood.

Given that this week is the week I will be ordained to the diaconate, they ran a profile on me in their most recent issue.

For those that don’t live in the diocese and get the paper edition, I thought I’d pass on the link to the story on the diocesan website. 

Look for more posts later in the week as the big day approaches.

Camp Maccabee to offer young men chance to grow in faith, July 25-29

This article originally appeared in the Catholic Missourian published the week of June 27-July 3.

By Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr.

Teenage boys living in 2010 face unprecedented challenges when it comes to growing into strong Catholic men.

In 2009, the Diocese of Jefferson City launched a program to help teens make that transition into Catholic adulthood.

This year, Camp Maccabee will be held July 25-29 in Starkenburg. The camp is open to any Catholic male who will be entering ninth through 12th grade in the fall.

Registration is open until July 10. Anyone interested can contact the Diocesan Youth Ministry Office or speak with their parish priest.

“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” said Forrest Brown of St. Patrick parish in Rolla, about deciding to attend Camp Maccabee last year.

He said his favorite part of the camp was one of the talks given on the four Cardinal Virtues.

“It really inspired me to become a better person,” he said.

Those four Cardinal Virtues — justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude — form the core foundation of Camp Maccabbee. Each evening, there is a talk and discussion focusing on one of the virtues. Other talks focus on issues such as dating and developing a strong prayer life.

“I had a lot to think about, about what they had said, and how it related to me, and how I could use that out in the world,” said Cameron Degraff of St. Frances Cabrini parish in Paris, about all of the talks that he heard while attending Camp Maccabee.

Campers and staff gather to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Catholic Church, in both the morning and evening. Daily Mass is also a part of the day, in addition to opportunities for adoration, the Rosary and confession — all offered at various points throughout the camp.

However, Camp Maccabee is a camp and not a retreat. The days consist of various outdoor activities. One day the campers travel to the Johnson Shut-ins as well as going hiking at Elephant Rocks State Park.

Perhaps the unanimous favorite activity among the campers in 2009 was the daylong float trip. When interviewed, several of the campers said it was the highlight.

“It brought us a lot closer together,” said Daniel Galarza of Immaculate Conception parish in St. James.

The outdoor activities combined with the evening discussions allowed the students to develop friendships with young men from around the diocese. Despite living far apart, they have been able to keep in touch through Facebook as evidenced by a group created just for the camp.

“We knew each other like we’d known each other for a couple years,” said Mr. Galarza.

These lasting friendships allow for the messages and lessons learned at Camp Maccabee to stay with the young men long after the camp is over. At the completion of the 2009 Camp Maccabee, Garret Trammel of St. Joseph parish in Canton said he was “definitely coming back next year.”

Mr. Galarza didn’t want to leave. “I just wish we could be here longer,” he said.

Mr. Trammel described his experience at the camp as “just having a blast and incorporating God in all of it.”

The camp is staffed by Father Bill Peckman, pastor of St. Clement parish in Bowling Green; Father David Veit, newly appointed pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Macon and Sacred Heart mission in Bevier; and Father Joe Corel, director of youth ministry and vocations director for the diocese. Joining them are a team of adults, college students and seminarians.

DVDs with more information and personal testimonies have been sent to parishes in the diocese for those seeking to learn more about Camp Maccabee.