My husband Chris grew up on the coast of Mississippi in a small ship-building town called Pascagoula. His Grandmother, Mary Evelyn, (also lovingly known as: Grandma Clemens), lived a short mile away from the family in a 1000 sq ft post-war home typical of the area. Grandma Clemens was a small lady, not standing taller than 5ft 3, but was a legend in the small town and was well-loved. She worked until she was 86 and attended mass every morning before work. Her house was small, just like her, but had withstood the brunt of many a hurricane and survived.
As my husband recalls, every Christmas, Grandma Clemens would set up an artificial, six foot Christmas tree on the back porch of the house. It was a pretty tree, from the department store, with ornaments that had little angels inside. The multicolored lights were the big, bulky ones and the gold tinsel garland glittered against the backdrop of Grandma's back yard. That tree captured my husband's imagination when he was a small boy.
One year when Christmas had ended, my husband begged his Grandma to not take the tree down. It was so beautiful that he wanted to see it every time he came to visit. Grandma, in her generosity agreed and left the tree up. As Chris grew, he would happily visit "his" Christmas tree on the back porch.
Time passed when it was time for my husband to bring his fianc�e home to visit the family (That was ME, by the way...for those of you not paying attention!) The first place we visited was Grandma Clemens in her house.... and by golly, there was that Christmas tree, quite a bit dustier (and older) still sitting on the back porch waiting for Chris to come home from Texas where he had been studying. By this time, Grandma was easily in her 70s, but was still working her job at the shipyard. The tree had been up for over 20 years.
The time came when Grandma Clemens was too old to care for herself and needed to be moved to an assisted living arrangement. Chris's parents asked him and his brothers if there was anything they wanted from Grandma's house. Each grandson asked for a few items to remember the old, tiny, house...but Chris? He asked for the Christmas tree. We bagged that tree up and hauled it to my parents' home in Texas where it would be kept safe.
A few weeks later, Grandma's home was destroyed when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and Grandma Clemens went home to be with her beloved a few years after that. Those were sad events for the Clemens family, but we were thankful for the many wonderful years we had in that house and with Grandma.
What about the tree? It survives still..... right along with Grandma's spirit and the true meaning of Christmas. Every Christmas it illuminates the Texas night on the front porch of my parents' house, waiting for family to come visit and reminding us that Christmas, like Grandma, is always in our hearts.
Happy Advent/Merry Christmas everyone!
Director of Youth Ministry
Not quite sure what Advent really is? Find out below... Gangnam Style!
|What is Advent? Gangnam Style!|
JYM and TYM ADOPT A FAMILY SERVICE PROJECT
Remember to bring your unwrapped gifts to youth group this Sunday, December 16th where our teens will wrap the gifts, organize, and pray over them during our Adopt a Family Advent Prayer Service. Afterwards we will celebrate with a party which will mark the end of youth ministry classes for the year of 2012!
Speaking of this Sunday, we could use more parental help in order for this service project to end well. If you are available to help with any of the items below for the Junior High Youth Group or the High School Youth Group, please contact Georgie. (It's fun! So come on out and help us!)
Gift Wrapping Help: We will be wrapping gifts in JYM/TYM classrooms and we could use a few extra pairs of hands to assist. All wrapping supplies will be provided. Helpers are asked to check in with either Georgie so that we can assign you to help in a room.
Delivery "elves": On Saturday, December 22nd at 10 am in the Youth House we will be delivering gifts to 23 needy families. If you are willing to be "Santa" to one or two of our families, please let us know! (PS: It's the best part of the whole project!)
Once again, thanks for helping the angles in our midst. Please respond to this email if you have any additional questions or concerns!
YOUTH MINISTRY UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR
Wed, Dec 12: Catholic Caf�
Sun, Dec 16: Youth Council Meeting
Sun, Dec16: Adopt a Family Wrapping Party and Advent Prayer Service
Sun, Dec 16: PORCH Double Baggers (service)
Tue, Dec 18: Check and take inventory of AAF gifts
Sat, Dec 22: Adopt a Family Gift Delivery (service)
Tue, Dec 25: Merry Christmas!
Sat, Jan 5: JYM-TYM Youth Council Epiphany Parties
Sun, Jan 6: JYM/TYM Youth Group Meets/Sac Prep
Wed, Jan 9: Catholic Caf�
Sun, Jan 13: JYM/TYM Youth Group Meets/Sac Prep
Sun, Jan 13: Deadline to register for March for Life in DC (8th-12th gr)
Sat, Jan 19: LML Rally (Love My Life) - (Social Event)
Wed, Jan 23: March for Life Meeting
Fri-Sat, Jan 25-26: March for Life Rally in DC/Life Is Good Concert
Sat, Jan 26: JYM 1200 Cookie Challenge
HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS (TYM)
9th Grade Armageddon Lock In - Want to see the great time we had? Check out the pictures from the event here.
Habitat for Humanity Kickball Tournament Success! Congrats to our youth group for competing in the Habitat Kickball Tournament! Out of 13 teams, our youth group placed second overall! See our pics HERE.
Gift Ideas for the teen who has it all? Looking for some unique and funny gifts for your favorite Catholic teenager? Never fear, I found some good ones HERE.
Top Christian Artists: I've put together a list of Christian music to give as a gift to your teen. Check out some of these super-popular Christian Catholic artists and listen them on iTunes. Not only are they really talented, but their message is so much more encouraging than what we hear on the radio.
|Tenth Avenue North - Deck The Halls (Official Music Video)|
10th Avenue North: Members of the youth group saw this band in concert way back in September.
Jacob and Matthew Band: Trust
Jackie Francois: Divine Comedy
Cooper Ray T-shirts and Music: Wake the Dawn
Ike Ndolo: Rivers
Ski Trip 2013! The perfect Christmas Gift!
The planning for the TYM ski trip is well underway! This year, TYM will sponsor a two day trip reserved for just high school youth. We will be traveling to Winterplace, WV this year and will be staying at the Days Inn right near the slopes. TYM youth are invited to join us on Saturday/Sunday, March 2-3 for an event filled with snow filled fun! Chaperones are needed for this event to occur and participate for half price. Flyers can be found HERE along with registration forms!
The Catholic Caf� Bible Study! This unique group encourages our teens to explore their Catholic faith in the relaxed and friendly environment of the Youth House. It is part bible study/faith sharing where teens relate their day to day struggles and joys as followers of Christ. Teens who need to make up missed Confirmation sessions are encouraged to participate. Our next Catholic Caf� date is Wednesday, January 9 at 7:30.
Our DC March for Life Event is Filling up! Our 2-day March for Life Event is filling up quickly. Youth and their chaperones will be traveling to DC on January 25-26, 2013. If you our your teen is interested in coming. Be sure to download the registration form soon and turn it in to youth group class or to the parish office.
LML: Love My Life Rally
Can't make the March for Life trip in DC?
Then come to the local Rally starting at the Cathedral in Raleigh on Saturday, January 19 at 11:00am - 12:45 pm. This rally will feature great speakers, musicians and food for all! Teens looking for service or social credit for Confirmation are encouraged to attend. The event is FREE! Contact Georgie if you would like to attend.
MISSION TRIP SUMMER 2013 IS almost FULL! Our 80 spots allotted for STM teens and adults are almost filled. If you'd like to be a part of this amazing summer event, please contact Mary Ellen Gustainis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.604.0418. The trip this year will be to Charleston, SC on July 14-19, 2013
HS Youth Council Epiphany Party: Our Youth Council Party will be held on Saturday, January 5 from 6:30-9:00pm in the Youth House. Bring a gift to share and as well as a dish!
TYM Hall Monitors:
December 16: Need a parent
January 6: Andrew Purner
January 13: Mizelle, Catalina, McFarland, cunningham
January 27: Bauman, Nanry
February 10: Need parents
Confirmation Sponsor letters being mailed soon: Sponsors to those teens preparing for Confirmation this year will be receiving letters in the mail about upcoming Confirmation events as well as booklets on "How to be a good sponsor". Remember to stay in close contact with your sponsor and talk with them regularly about matters of faith and life.
Sponsor Forms missing! If your teen is gettting confirmed this year, be sure to double check that the sponsor form is in our office. You can check with Sue Wolf, confirmation volunteer, to see if you are missing anything.
Reconciliation: One of the greatest gifts the church gives is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Teens now more than ever, need to experience the forgiveness of Christ on a regular basis, especially in preparation for Confirmation. Please encourage your teen to receive the Sacrament during this season of Advent and again during Lent. For a wonderful examination of conscience for teens, please click here.
Four and No More! Remember that our teens cannot miss more than four TYM classes per year in order to be confirmed. We desire that our youth are well formed in the meaning of the sacrament. Teens are encouraged to attend the Catholic Caf� as a make-up session if needed.
SAVE THE DATE! Mandatory Confirmation Retreat will be held at on Friday, March 15 to Saturday, March 16. This mandatory retreat will feature guest speaker, musician and evangelist Cooper Ray. Cooper was our worship leader at the Mission trip this past summer and connected well with our teens. We are blessed to have him as our facilitator.
There's a form for that: Looking for the Service Form which teens need to fill out for any service hours completed for Confirmation? HERE IT IS. All TYM youth in preparation for Confirmation need a total of 10 service hours competed each year in order to be confirmed. Five of these must be parish service hours. Don't get behind everyone!
Christmas Holiday Shoppe Thanks: Cathy Elmore and her crew thanks all the TYM youth who helped out last weekend at the Holiday Shoppe! She said our teens were so helpful and cheery! Go TYM! Good job! Interested in seeing the pictures of the event? Check it out here.
PORCH double baggers meet this Sunday, December 16 at 8:00pm in the new building.
JUNIOR HIGH YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS (JYM)
JYM Open Gym Night resumes on Sunday, January 27. Come early, eat and play before JYM Class! See you at the STM Lower School Hall, 5:00-6:15 pm. Don't forget to bring $5 for pizza and drinks.
January Service Project "1200 Cookie Challenge" Jan. 26, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Parish Center Kitchen in the Friends and Family Hall
Junior High Youth will pray for the prisoners and bake 1200 cookies as part of the Kairos of North Carolina ministry to build strong Christian communities inside prison walls. These homemade cookies are a tangible and vital expression of Christ's love and witness from the outside Christian community. Look for more details to follow.
JYC Mark Your Calendars! The JYC Epiphany Party and Gift Exchange will be happening on Saturday, January 5, 6:30-10:00 pm at Mrs. Annette's house.
November 2012 Service Project: "Hunger Games" Our seventh graders were victorious with a total of 240 nonperishable food items donated. Eighth grade came in second with 148 and sixth grade came in third with 74. We are all true winners; our service project helped bring Thanksgiving to 25+ families in need.
November 2012 Social Event: "Family Bingo Night" Our family bingo night was very well attended including our Pastor Father Scott and his mom. Father Scott was also our mystery caller for this evening. We raised $470 dollars. This money gave us the opportunity to buy a $20 gift card to Food Lion for each family that received food from our food drive.
JYM 2012 Advent Sales: Through sales of Advent material after masses on November 10-11 and 17-18, we raised $500. The proceeds of this project are going to the all youth built Habitat for Humanity Home in Orange County.