festivals IVE Youth Festival Soulful Sundays St George Catholic Church volunteering youth

What feeds your soul?

IVE Youth Festival 2012

The last couple of months have been a little hectic.  I’ve had the honor of chaperoning a few of the youth retreats at my church.  I find it to be a blessing in disguise.  In my youth, I never participated in such events.  So it was almost like getting a second chance for having missed it the first time around.  It’s a wonderful thing to see so many young people, from all different walks of life, come together and have such strong faith.

My niece and I, IYE Youth Festival 2012

Each morning started off in prayer and every day ended the same.  Those days were the most tranquil!  To start off the day with God and listen to the word.  The mass flowed as if it were rehearsed for months.  Each voice harmonized to sound as one.  Of all the masses I have been to in my life, it had never sounded more lovely. 

I got to know the group at a more personal level.  I listened to their opinions, watched them take in the days, saw them bond with each other and get to know new people.  With all that goes on in the world, its comforting to know that we can come together in Christ.

Girls Summer Camp 2012

The girls at the Summer Camp taught me that I can rise to a challenge of being an adult, commanding respect and earning trust.  I hope my fear never showed.  Teenage girls can be scary.  This experience reminded me how impressionable our young girls really are.  Saying the right thing can carry them on a natural high towards victory against an opposing team and saying the wrong thing can crush them in an instant.  Our youth needs role models, to push them to reach their potential, to tap into their creativity, to stand up for their individuality, and to encourage them to travel the road less traveled.  We must feed them hope.  We must plant seeds of success.  We need them to understand that they can do anything they set their minds to do. 

Pit Stop driving back from Girls Summer Camp 2012

I was fortunate growing up to have teachers and role models that did just that for me.  I hated it at the time, because I was young and that’s what you’re supposed to do at that age.  However its the one thing that has always stuck with me, NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CANT DO SOMETHING.  I hope that I am able to send that message out to the youth I work with.  Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.  Anything is possible with Christ.

They all started the weekend reluctant and by the retreat’s end no one wanted to leave.  It touched my heart and blessed my soul to see such a sight.  Its amazing what opportunities arise when you open your heart and mind and allow yourself to take it all in.

Today’s mass centered around one basic idea, “Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.”  It’s in reference to riches.  “…For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.  Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality…. (2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15)

While I do not currently posses the riches that would allow me to give to others as I would like to, I have been blessed at the moment with free time.  That for me is currently in abundance, so it only makes sense that I might give that free time towards volunteering to persuade young minds into doing grand things with their lives.   Whatever you have an abundance of, please share it.  I have discovered this past year that volunteering feeds my soul and that to me is priceless.

So tonight I leave you with this, What feeds your soul?

Until then
#lent credit cards debt debt-free Lent Season paying debt off faster sacrifice Soulful Sundays St George Catholic Church The Lord works in mysterious ways

The Lord works in Mysterious ways…

Image borrowed from

We hear that all the time, right?  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  While we believe this in blind faith, on occasion we are pleasantly surprised when we’re reminded of that by getting a letter in the mail.  These past months I’ve been focusing hard on paying down my debt and trying to find creative ways to do it faster.  I always ask the Lord to guide me, to keep my on the right path.  This past week I’ve been trying to find online, the dates and ending dates of balance transfers I put a while back on my credit cards.  Interestingly enough, I could not find this information anywhere. I looked back to the initial statement issued when the balance transfer began, but no information on when it would end.  I delayed starting any new balance transfers until I knew for sure the promotional period was over.  I even tried to search my inbox hoping the promotional email had been saved.  Nothing.  So Wednesday, I decided to just make the balance transfer when I got home.  Of course when I got home I was exhausted so I decided to put it off for Thursday.

On Thursday morning I opened my mail and I received a letter from one of my credit card companies.  I read it twice because I could not believe what I was reading.  It said:

We have extended the length of your promotional Annual Percent Rate (APR) on your balance transfer that took place on 08/10/11.  We also want to inform you why we made this change and how it affects your account.

Information about your balance transfer.

When you transferred a balance to your &*$%# credit card, you were given a choice between two promotional offers.  These offers were for two different promotional APRs, which would last for different lengths of time.  Since the date of your balance transfer, the lower of those two APRs ~ 0% ~ has been applied to your transferred balance.

A change has been made to your account.

In reviewing your account, we could not determine with certainty which promotional offer terms you originally selected.  We are now providing you with better terms than we gave you in our promotional offers.  We have applied the lower of the two APRs for the longest length of time that was offered in the original promotion.  For you, that means we have extended your promotional APR of 0% through your billing cycle that ends in 1/2013…..

We are continually working to improve the service we provide to our customers.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you…..
I knew for a fact that I had selected the 0% option but I knew that it was not for a long period of time.  I figured that it would motivate me to pay it off faster.  Now I do not have to worry about trying to get yet another balance transfer offer.  If you have ever done this, you might recall how difficult it is to get done sometimes.  I won’t bore you with that today.
Since I had been given a sign, I felt it only right to share the news I learned on Friday.  Friday nights I help run a Youth Group Meeting at my Church.  Most often than not I feel that I am a participant, a catechist learning something new.  This week we learned about Lent, since we are in the Lent Season.
Lent is the penitential season of approximately 40 days aside from the Church in order for the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, by works of penance, that is, prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is actually forty-six days before Easter.  We say that Lent is forty days in number because the six Sundays are excluded from the rigors of Lent in order to afford the faithful a time to pause and rejuvenate.  The number of forty is found frequently in scripture to signify either a time of penitential preparation….

For the Lent Season, we are challenged to make individual sacrifices appropriate to our own spiritual condition.  Before we choose something to give up for Lent, it’s important to assess our current spiritual state:  What habits do I engage in that are destructive to my spiritual health?  To what material things am I too attached?  What areas in my life are unbalanced?  To what do I devote too much or not enough time?
My niece picked out what I was giving up for Lent.  Shopping.  I admit freely that I do find myself attached to wanting to buy material things.  If you saw my bedroom right now you’d agree.  I was reluctant to do so, but only mainly because I had given up the month of February to not by anything that was unnecessary ( #NoUnnecessarySpendingFebruary).  I had done so well.  Even returned an item bring my total a -$59.03.  The end of February was coming so close and I could see myself buying something as my reward for going a whole 29 days without shopping.  To what material things am I too attached?  Shopping.  Another 40 days of not shopping.  I am ok with that, Jesus went through so much for us.  Died for us.  As much as I want to buy every single thing that comes out this spring, it’ll wait.  He DIED for us.  It can all wait!  I hope that I have the willpower to go the whole 46 days.  I like the fact though, that the six Sundays are excluded….in order to afford the faithful a time to pause and rejuvenate…to have a min easter.
I hope we are all well today, on this Soulful Sunday!  May we all stay strong in our faith, reflect on our spiritual lives this Lent Season and to continue to walk in His path.
Until then,
PS: To my niece, Ariana, who so willingly gave up soda (which she loves) as her sacrifice for Lent, Sunday’s are excluded 🙂
Resources: The above bold italic was taken from slides and pamphlets given by:  St George Catholic Church, 443 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT; and Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara of 153 Linden Ave.  Bridgeport, Ct