Monday, November 12, 2007

Wrap up from Columbus

Well, after a day of recovery and now struggling through a day in the office, I finally get a chance to catch up some thoughts from the weekend in Columbus.

First a note on the prayer request from last week. I've got more information on the accident that took the life of one of the participants. It seems the Las Vegas contingent arrived in Columbus late Thursday evening, after a delayed flight. A number of them were hungry, and there was a fast food place across the street (Wendy's?). A number of people from the contingent went, including a number of chaperones. Walking back, she was struck and killed by a passing motorist, who left the scene. I never heard if they found the perp. In response, the Las Vegas contingent returned home the next morning. All through the weekend, the teens were able to leave messages for her family, and she was mentioned frequently in prayer.

Ok, on to better news: it was great to see/meet so many people. I tend to be a strong extrovert, so being in a crowd of people is a great deal of fun. (Hey, to the anonymous who didn't come up and say 'HI!' why not?!?!) I saw a number of my fellow Vocation Directors perusing the crowd, usually hanging out in front of the Salesian table (they had more yo-yo's!).

The crowd of teens seemed to be really into the event. They were well behaved, the usual riotous type that happens at these Catholic Love Fests, as I've heard them called. I spoke to a few of the cops and security detail, and their response was something along the lines of: This was the easiest detail I've ever had!

Speakers were of the usual quality, although I only heard Renee (?) on Saturday morning. She was a choral teacher at a high school in Southern California, engaged to be married, and had turned the choir from 12 members to 150, when she faced a traumatic injury. She spoke of overcomeing adversity, as well as recognizing that there is no such thing as co-incidence; but that is the way that God manifests Himself to us. Really powerful stuff.

After she finished, Steve, the MC for the week, related a story from his past, which I used for my homily this past weekend. He is the youth minister at the Catholic parish in Littleton, CO, where Columbine High School is located. He told of how he was at a meeting with a number of parents that fateful day, when a cell phone rang, and mourning and wailing happened right before his eyes. (The parish had four of the funerals from that day.) It turns out, the girl that was the source of the call was injured severerly, but survived. She spoke at her high school graduation a few years later and told of that day. She was hiding under a table in the library with how many others. They came up to her and asked: "Do you believe in God?" She said that she didn't want the last thing that she said on this earth to be a denial of God, so she said: "Yes." "Why?" (Aside: I wasn't really expecting a follow up question) "Because my parents handed it on to me and I now believe it as my own." She admitted that it was a stupid answer, but the best she could do at the time. (She was staring down the barrel of a gun!) Steve told her at the end of the ceremony: "That was the perfect answer, and totally Catholic! You received it and now hand it on."

The line for confessions was incredible. There were up to 80 priests hearing confessions at a time, one would get up and another would take his place. It was non-stop, and they were well thought out, and the teens were seriously searching after God. It was inspiring.

The final Mass was a let down, after all that. The Mass itself was good, the energy of the teens, 25,000 in the Arena was earthshattering. But the homily was, at least to me, a let down. The readings for the weekend were just ripe for the picking, but nothing too challenging. Typical.

Anyway, now the question arises of how to tap into this energy for vocations. Something to think about, for sure.


Alexander said...

Father, excuse my post for sounding rude or anything but it sounds like this event that had a lot of good and bad mixed in when I read your post and this one.

For me it certainly doesn't sound like it could help me peruse a vocation in the priesthood. But I will admit that I was not there to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Schnippel,

With all due respect, as a youth minister attending my first NCYC with 3 teens from our parish (also first time attendees), I must say you enthusiasm underwhelms me. NCYC was AWESOME! IMNSHO, it was amazing to see God at work--touching the lives of the young and older alike. My teens had the times of their young lives and the Holy Spirit filled them with enough enthusiasm to take back to our parish and spread around.

Just this YM's $.02 on this life-changing event (and you may keep the change). :)

Take care, enjoy the rest of your week, remember to count your blessings and praised be Jesus Christ! (Now and forever!)

-Marcie Frazee
Volunteer Youth Minister
St. Joseph Faith Family
Elwood, Indiana

Father Schnippel said...

Alexander and Marcie:

There certainly were beneficial aspects of the weekend, especially the teens availing themselves of the Sacrament of Confession; their energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and it is great to meet Catholics from across the country and recognize that our faith is consistent throughout.

What left me underwhelmed was particularly the Closing Liturgy, specifically the homily. With the readings (the seven brothers from Maccabees, especially), there was an excellent opportunity to hit home the point of living for the faith means dying for the faith. The Bishop, with all due respect, didn't accomplish that, but left it with a feel good message that while on the surface was ok, it just left me wanting something more.

From working in a high school to now working as Vocation Director, I am convinced that teens will rise to the challenge if it is presented to them. When we constantly lowball them into a bare minimum of Catholic Christianity, they will fail to meet even low expectations, because after all why is it important? If we give them that reason, they will respond.

Marcie, I appreciate your enthusiasm, now tap into the energy that was there and drive your teens to become more. They are hungry for the challenge.

Anonymous said...

A great weekend. I am always let down by homilies after a weekend like this, so I have come to not expect any more. Priests don't think they youth have much to offer. In fact, our parish priest thought since the kids had such a spritual refreshing that they should put it to good use -- and start putting chairs away after mass and cleaning the church each Sunday. Cute, huh?

And, by the way, why was the homily given by a Bishop from New York? Weren't we in Ohio?

Anonymous said...

The bishop of the Columbus diocese had taken ill; therefore, he was unable to concelebrate the Mass.

HTH. Take care, have a wonderful day, remember to count your blessings, and praised be Jesus Christ! (Now and forever!)

-Marcie :)

Anonymous said...

I heard the mention of the Columbus Bishop and his knee operation; that is very understandable; but, aren't there 4 other bishops in the state of Ohio?

Don't get me wrong; I absolutely loved the weekend and am still very spiritually charged by it. However, it is hard to remain that way when the very people who are supposed to be lifting you up aren't.

Good luck in your ministry, Marcie. Sounds like you have a good thing going!

Father Schnippel said...


There are actually five other bishops in Ohio, plus Auxiliaries. I think it was NFCYM that picked the presider.