Sunday, April 28, 2013

Teens and Their Faith

Chris Hitzelberger, Director of Youth Ministry, Blessed Sacrament Parish

A common question I get from parents is, “My teens say they don’t want to go to Mass anymore. I don’t want to force them to come, but I know it is important for them to be connected to their faith. What should I do?” We all know that as children become teenagers they naturally pull away from their parents and family as they begin to define who they are and what is important to them. Often teens reject things that are important to parents as a way to distinguish themselves as different from their parents. This is normal. However, there is nothing wrong with insisting that your teen still do things with your family because it is important. Family meals, social time together, family prayer, Mass, etc. are all good and healthy ways for teens to be connected with their family.
If Mass is a priority for your family, it is good to make it a priority for your teenager. So, how do you do it? Here are four steps I would take if I had a teenager who was not interested in attending Mass with the family:
1. Check what is my own attitude about Mass. If Mass is simply an obligation and not something I see as essential to my spiritual life, then it will be difficult to encourage Mass attendance for my child. Our faith should culminate in Sunday Mass – it shouldn’t be just another thing on our list of things to do.
2. Be prepared. Read the Sunday readings on Wednesday evening (or another night) as a family. Talk about them at dinner (even if that is while you are eating McDonald's on the way home from some sports practice). The more you know about something, the more interested you become in it.
3. Linger. We spend more time on important things. I can think of many times when I have had a meal with a friend where we spent time after the meal just talking, even if it made me a little late for my next activity. Don’t rush to get to Mass – give yourself plenty of time so you can be in good spirits when you arrive, and don’t make it a habit of leaving right after Mass. If you seem ready to bolt as soon as the priest leaves, your teens will be eager as well. Sit for a bit after Mass (even if your teens head out for donuts). Take some time to walk in the courtyard or chat with another parishioner. Our days are so rushed that taking it a little slower will make Mass stand out as a restful and welcome break from the rush.
4. Finally, talk to your teen. Have an honest conversation. Tell them that Sunday Mass is the most important thing they do all week. Tell them you care more about them coming to Mass than about any other thing they do all week – it is that important in your view.
Ask them what is really important to them – maybe it is sports, friends, video games, who knows what. Tell them if they are disregarding going to Sunday Mass, they are disregarding you, because the Mass is so important to you, as well as neglecting their own relationship with God. Our souls need nourishment, just like our bodies do, and at Mass our souls are fed by God. To put it very simply, God has given us everything and we owe him our thanks and praise. We are so limited and life is so fragile. Yet God is eternal and almighty, and he has become one of us in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God the Father saves us from sin and death. As we say at Mass, “it is right and just” that we raise our minds and hearts in prayer to God, who is our origin and final destiny. The gift of Jesus in his Word proclaimed at Mass and in the Eucharist, his actual Real Presence given at every Mass, is the greatest gift we as human beings have – Jesus himself is the Bread of Everlasting Life.
Hopefully this gives you some insight, or at least one suggestion, as to how to deal with this common issue with teenage kids.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Youth Ministry Update

On Saturday, April 27, the Diocese of Arlington will once again invite middle school students from across the area to come together for BASH, a day of faith and fun, and the largest annual gathering of Catholic 6th-8th graders in the diocese. Meeting at Bishop O’Connell High School, students will have the opportunity to climb on rock walls, jump on moon bounces, eat pizza and snow cones, and have some great social time together.
At the same time, confessions will be heard by a dozen priests, and you would be surprised at the line of young people excited to get the opportunity to be reconciled with Christ.
There will be great speakers, time for adoration, and of course, Mass!
Blessed Sacrament Parish will bring over 20 students to the BASH. Stay tuned for some pictures of the event next week!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Called & Gifted Workshop Presented Again!

If you missed it the first time, here's another opportunity!  Blessed Sacrament is repeating the Called & Gifted Workshop on Friday, May 3, 7-10 pm and Sat., May 4, 9am-4 pm.  The recorded talks lay out the Church's teachings which undergird the critical role of the laity in Her mission to evangelize.  Small group discussions follow the talks, and each participant is given an inventory on "charisms" (particular Gifts of the Holy Spirit) to take and score during the event.  Following the workshop, participants will schedule phone interviews with the Catherine of Siena Institute to further discern charisms.

Registration is required as lunch will be served.  Please contact Susan Doyle in the parish office:

Phase II of the Called & Gifted series will be scheduled shortly for those who attend this event, as well as for those who attended the workshop during Lent.


Parish Initiates "Virtual Inquiry" for Those Seeking Information About Catholicism

Blessed Sacrament Church is adding a new dimension to support those who have questions about the faith.  "Virtual Inquiry" is an opportunity for those interested in Catholicism to ask questions while never leaving the comfort of home.  An inquirer with one or more questions may simply email  Susan Doyle, Director of Religious Education at Blessed Sacrament, will respond to the questions with the support of the parish RCIA (Rite of Christian Initation of Adults) team.  If and when the inquirer is interested, personal meetings will be set up to continue informal conversation.  The hope is that, in offering a virtual venue, the tech savvy will find an easy, non-threatening way to have their questions answered, and that when curiosity is satisfied, one emerges with desire for a relationship with Jesus.

If you know of someone for whom "virtual inquiry" is a good fit, please pass along the email address:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Today, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  In 1963, Pope Paul VI designated Good Shepherd Sunday, as day of worldwide prayer for vocations.

In the Gospel readings for today, Jesus says,

My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27-30)

The Daughters of Saint Paul are visiting our parish this weekend!  Their mission is to serve the Church through communications. As their website states, "The sisters are active in all forms of media, from traditional publications to e-books, from TV to social media, from the internet to mobile apps—working in the areas of writing, publishing, recording and broadcasting, screen-writing, media literacy, religious education, adult faith formation and spiritual development. They operate 14 Pauline Book and Media Centers throughout the US and English-speaking Canada."

During their visit to Blessed Sacrament Parish, their Director of Vocations, Sister Margaret Michael Gillis, will share some reflections on vocations. Sister Maria Elizabeth Borobia will speak about vocations with our Hispanic community.

In this video, Sister Margaret Michael shares some thoughts on listening to God's call.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Las clases de la confirmación de adultos ayudan en preparar a los parroquianos por la confirmación durante el Pentecostés

El jueves, 11 de abril, 7:00—8:30 de la noche, las clases empiezan en Blessed Sacrament para los adultos quienes todavía no han recibido el sacramento de la confirmación, que completa los sacramentos de iniciación de la Iglesia Católica.  Los sacramentos de iniciación son:  el bautismo, la confirmación, y la Eucaristías. 

La confirmación es para TODOS los católicos que ya han sido bautizados.  Nunca esté demasiado tarde para recibir este sacramento poderoso. 

La clase del 11 de abril es la primera de cuatro clases en que se cubren los temas siguientes, basados en el libro El Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica:
El Señor y la Trinidad
La Iglesia
El Espíritu Santo y el sacramento de la confirmación

Las otras tres clases se reúnen el sábado, el 13 de abril, 9:00—10:30 de la mañana; el jueves, el 25 de abril, 7:00—8:30 de la noche; y el sábado, el 27 de abril, 9:00—10:30 de la mañana.  Póngase en contacto con Susan Doyle por o 703-998-6100 para registrar por las clases o para recibir más información. 

Los parroquianos quienes están preparándose por la confirmación de adultos pueden eligir entre dos fechas para recibir la confirmación.  El sacramento de la confirmación se celebrará en Arlington en la Catedral de San Tomás More durante el fin de semana de Pentecostés el sábado, el 18 de mayo a las 7:30 de la noche, y el domingo, el 19 de mayo, a las 2:30 de la tarde.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Junior High Youth Bash Set for April 27 at Bishop O'Connell H.S.

All 6th-8th graders are invited to attend the Arlington Diocese's Junior High Youth Bash 2013 at Bishop O'Connell High School,  6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington VA 22213.  This is an annual celebration of our Catholic faith, fellowship and fun!

All must register through the parish youth office (703-998-6100,! No walk-ins will be allowed.
Saturday, April 27, 3:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Diocese of Arlington - Office of Youth Ministry
Junior High Bash 2013
6th-8th Graders

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adult Confirmation Classes Help Prepare Parishioners for Confirmation at Pentecost

On Thursday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. classes begin at Blessed Sacrament for adults who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation, completing the sacraments of initiation for a Catholic to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church. The Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Confirmation is for ALL baptized Catholics! It is never too late to receive this powerful sacrament.

The April 11 class is the first of four classes where the following topics will be covered, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
  • God and the Trinity,
  • Jesus
  • The Church
  • the Holy Spirit and the Sacrament of Confirmation
The remaining three classes will meet Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 27, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Please contact Susan Doyle,, 703-998-6100 to register for classes or for more information.

Those who are preparing for Adult Confirmation have two options to receive the sacrament at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington. The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated on Pentecost weekend on Sat., May 18, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 19, at 2:30 p.m.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Events at Blessed Sacrament

We are in the Easter season! -- 50 days until the Solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday, May 19.

Many events are happening at Blessed Sacrament in the month of April. Here are some of them:

Sunday, April 7 is Divine Mercy Sunday
Holy Hour: 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. with the Divine Mercy Chaplet

Adult Confirmation Classes:

Are you an adult who is not yet confirmed? The Arlington Diocese will conduct the Sacrament of Confirmation for Adults at the Cathedral of St Thomas More on Pentecost weekend, May 18th & 19th.  Blessed Sacrament will hold classes: Thursdays, April 11 & 25, 7-8:30 pm & Saturdays, April 13 & 27, 9-10:30 am. Certain paperwork is required. Please contact Susan Doyle: or 703-998-6100

Thursday, April 11 - Cinema Catechism
7:00 pm ~ Parish Center
Next Showing: “Catholicism” continues “A Vast Company of Witnesses: The Communion of Saints”
Presented by Richard & Sherry Chriss
Discussion to follow / Refreshments offered
For more info, visit

Saturday, April 13
Men's Morning Retreat
8:30 Mass - Noon
Fr. John Cregan and Fr. Mick Kelly presenting