On occasion, our Grace Before Meals movement will send out some “Blasts from the Past,” not only because the messages are still relevant today, but it also helps us remember how far we’ve come!
For a summer break, there’s certainly no time to relax! I’ve been all over the place for another great Steubenville Conference, this time in St. Louis, with plenty of cool kids who appreciated some of my dance moves- not bad for an old guy! Just playing. I’m currently filming the second season of “Savoring Our Faith”, so I hope you’re hungry for more episodes and recipes. I’ll be heading to another Steubenville conference in Rochester, MN this weekend, so be sure to be there if you’re up in the area. It’ll be a good time, don’cha know. (Bad impression, I know.)
Anyone, this week’s blast chronicles another Steubenville Conference from 2010, and the work and faith that is involved in each one. Please feel free to leave comments on our site as we look back, for we hope to impress you with the things to come.
Young At Stomach!
Originally posted June 23, 2010
Young people look at life differently than the older generation. The young at heart, can look at life with freshness, vibrancy, and enthusiasm. Perhaps that’s one reason why Jesus admonishes all His followers to have a child-like faith. No matter how old we are, we are constantly challenged to maintain that “young” disposition so that faith never gets old, out of style, boring, or lifeless.
(Me with Amanda from St. Matthew’s Church, and some of her teens who helped me during a demo of “Board Breaking.”)
My work with Grace Before Meals has provided me an opportunity to share the Good News with a diverse section of people – old and young alike. Pastors and event organizers are impressed that our message applies to all groups equally. Our parish missions and diocesan presentations draw families together. I’m inspired to see a church or an event hall filled with groups of people of different ages. Moms, Dads, grandparents, young adults, teens, and children have made a connection to our movement, simply because everyone needs to eat!
(Cooking for the Legatus Chapter, Des Moines, Iowa, in the private home of one of the members.)
What surprises me, however, is the unique ability of young people to eat so much more than adults. I’m talking specifically about the amazing appetites of teens and young adults! Young children may fuss and be picky, and older folks restrain and just get full more quickly. But teens and young adults seem to devour food! Young at heart is one thing, but being young in stomach is another!
(Teens praying for more food. Actually, they were praying that I’d “break-dance” at the Youth Conference.)
As being young at heart is primarily a very good thing, it also requires some attention simply because the lack of experience can lead one who is young heart down some dangerous roads. That’s also true for the young stomachs – appetites that need attention and in some cases purification. Young stomachs are hungry, and we need to pay attention to how and what we are feeding them.
(Andrew and Rachel, youth minister volunteers at St. John Baptist Church, where their parish has Grace Before Meals supper clubs.)
I’ve experienced this time and again, especially at the recent youth group venues where I’ve given presentations. One example is a recent presentation at Steubenville University. Young people come from around the country to experience the faith made more digestible in the togetherness called “communion.”
(Teens design commemorative T-Shirts from their parishes/groups.)
They feast on God’s word and by the example and testimony of the presenters and group leaders. Young stomachs are hungry, and it’s the conference organizers job to make sure they are being fed properly – in body, mind, and spirit!
(Connor and Daniel – the two Young Adults on the side of the group – helped develop leadership skills among this youth gathering.)
Thank God these events are a team effort. It takes a team to organize the content and substance of the weekend, but also an impressive crew to set up, clean up, and feed the hungry crowd!
(Someone from the kitchen and youth support staff.)
Seeing a weekend like this confirms the fact that no matter how bad or grim the news may be about the younger generation, there is real hope for the young at hearts and the young at stomachs. There is an alternative to the political stump-filled rhetoric about hope, change, and new beginnings: It’s the message that comes from God, who calls us to desire and sacrifice to both love and serve one another.
(The devoted kitchen crew that cooks for groups up to 2,200 people for every conference.)
The teens that come to these events walk away with transformed expectations. They know that making it through this life requires more than money and food for the belly. They realize “success” requires faithfulness, believing in eternal truths, and having a real prayer life lived out with a community. They also know that their Church and their Faith, even though it’s oftentimes ridiculed and denigrated in pop culture, has an authentic responsibility to feed all of God’s children with truth and Good News.
The young people at these conferences eat it up – like only young people can! Such weekends give me great hope. I admit I can no longer put it away like I used to when I was younger. Sometimes I pray to be more appropriately “young at heart and stomach” again.
(“Glory Tent” – a break out session.)
Satisfyingly Stuffed Chicken
Here’s a simple recipe that provides flavors that seems to satisfy everyone’s taste buds, no matter what age. It’s a tender piece of chicken stuffed with pancetta and Brie cheese. The simple preparation, comfortable cooking time, and great flavors makes this chicken dish as comforting as chicken nuggets for the kids, hearty enough for the teens, and refined enough for the older guests.
Praying for the Young at Heart and Young Stomachs
It’s ironic how young people on one hand can be easily misled when it comes to pop-culture, but on the other hand can be discerning when it comes to fashion, friends, faith, and food. It shows how the teachers and parents of those young at heart and young at stomach must pay close attention to how these hearts can be molded and how their stomachs need to be appropriately satisfied. As Christ became one of us, in all things but sin, parents and other authority figures need to be able to do the same when relating to young people. That’s the only way they will follow!
(It’s natural and to follow the true Leader who will lead us to still waters.)
Let us pray: Father in Heaven, no matter our age, we are Your children. And in every age, You show how love requires patience, especially when dealing with the young at heart. Give grace to those involved in youth ministry, so their actions and words will conform to Your loving plan. Give our young people, especially in this summer season, the grace to follow, listen, and learn. And above all, give us the hunger to be fed with truth that satisfies not only our stomachs, but our hearts as well. Amen.
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