Vocation story published

A month ago I was contacted by a former colleague from my first stint at CNS as an intern. At the time she was an assistant editor, now she is busy raising her young family and works part time with Peanut Butter & Grace.

Peanut Butter & Grace is a web site and social media conglomerate seeking to provide parents with practical ways to pass on the faith to their children.

Later this week, they will be releasing my first video as a part of a new series “Brick by Brick with Father Brooke.”

In anticipation of the release of the series and on the occasion of the the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I also shared my vocation story on their Web site.

Unlike my column with Catholic News Service in the fall, which also provided practical tips for promoting a culture of vocations, this article is exclusively my vocation story.

CNS column on humility

During Lent I wrote a column for CNS on the virtue of humility within the context of Lent. Specifically I tied those two themes to the modern usage of social media. My goal was to look at how social media affects our understanding of humility. Lastly, I provided some tips for how to overcome some of those related struggles.

Here’s a link to the column, published by the Boston Pilot.

CNS column on Confession

As a part of the “Faith Alive” catechetical series on the sacraments I was asked by Catholic News Service to write about the sacrament of confession / penance / reconciliation.

After reviewing the Catechism paragraphs, I was inspired by a quote (found in the article) by St. Jerome about going to the doctor. I decided to take a spin on that and use an analogy of dentistry with going to confession.

Here’s the result:

 

A related piece I originally posted on this blog:

“7 Tips for a good a good confession”

 

 

CNS Column on Vocations

This Web site was initially launched in the summer of 2008, when I was an intern at Catholic News Service. I created the site to post the articles I was writing for Catholic News Service as they were published in various Catholic news sources around the world.

Several years later, I’m grateful that the good folks at CNS have asked me to begin writing for them again. I’ve started to write columns on occasion for them.

My first contribution was written back in November on vocations. (I apologize for not posting this sooner.)

I recently wrote another column on confession. I can’t link to it until I find it published in digital form of one of the many diocesan newspapers around the country. When that happens, I’ll add a link here.

Canonization report published

After attending the Canonization of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II last Sunday, I wrote a reflection, which I shared here.

Since then, the diocese has published a edited version of said reflection for the Catholic Missourian. An online version of the published article can be found here.

What a great joy and blessing it was to attend such a historic event. Yesterday we had no classes for the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, it’s like labor day in Italy, so I was finally able to catch up on some sleep.

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.