Youth Group 2021


Sundays Theme: Consoling Our Lady of Sorrows

Join us Sundays at 11:30am for our youth faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall!  We are discussing concrete ways to console Jesus and Mary through acts of love and selfless generosity for the good of others. We connected this to John 19:25-27 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. We need to avoid the idols of today that offend God because they are contrary to love and bad for us and others (hedonism, modernism, atheism, utilitarianism). 


Sundays Theme: Nativity of Mary!

 Join us Sundays at 11:30am for our youth faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall!  “...even though it is not possible to establish an exact chronological point for identifying the date of Mary's birth, the Church has constantly been aware that Mary appeared on the horizon of salvation history before Christ. It is a fact that when "the fullness of time" was definitively drawing near-the saving advent of Emmanuel- she who was from eternity destined to be his Mother already existed on earth... Therefore, if to that ancient historical expectation of the Savior we compare these years which are bringing us closer to the end of the second Millennium after Christ and to the beginning of the third, it becomes fully comprehensible that in this present period we wish to turn in a special way to her, the one who in the "night" of the Advent expectation began to shine like a true "Morning Star" (Stella Matutina). For just as this star, together with the "dawn," precedes the rising of the sun, so Mary from the time of her Immaculate Conception preceded the coming of the Savior, the rising of the "Sun of Justice" in the history of the human race.” (REDEMPTORIS MATER)

Save the date for September 18th, at 10:00 AM at Gethsemane Cemetery a prayer and pro-life rosary will be prayed in memo-rial of all the children who died through abortion. The service will be at the Memorial to the Unborn (left of the cemetery entrance). Over 62 million children have been killed through legal abor-tion. Imagine how much talent, gifts, and blessings to our world that have been lost through this tragedy. Have we aborted the scientists who were going to cure cancer, cure dementia, etc. Have we killed the peacekeepers our world so desperately needs? Please join us for this remembrance service which will last about 30 minutes, and bring a lawn chair if you’d like.

Save the date also for our fishing tournament 8:30a.m. September 25th at Pam Boyd's pond (2063 330th Ave, Fort Madison Iowa)! The Knights of Colombus will provide lunch and prizes for those who catch the most fish, biggest fish, etc! 

Sundays Theme: Virtues of the Heart of Mary

Join us Sundays at 11:30am for our youth faith formation meeting at McAleer Hall! We will be discussing some of the beautiful virtues of the heart of Mary such as humility, purity, and love of God: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Sundays Theme: Witness the Love of Jesus

Registration is open until October 30th for the virtual NCYC event in Iowa City. For those of you interested in our virtual NCYC event November 18-20, attached is the flyer and registration form with more information! Please send your registration forms back to me at [email protected]! We also have the option of streaming NCYC from McAleer Hall for $25 but it will be so much more enriching to join other parishes in our area and experience other youth on fire in their faith!

We will connect this theme to the scripture passage from the  Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4 “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.”



Sundays Theme: Queenship of Mary!

 The Saints and Blessed Mother are spending their heaven doing good on earth, praying and pouring out graces to help us overcome temptations that they faced too. St Therese of Lisieux said in her book Story of a Soul that “Mary is more mother than Queen.” St John Paul II said that “the maternity of Mary is universal and personal.” Jesus crowned Mary Queen of heaven because of her unique role in God’s plan of salvation and her fidelity in always saying “yes” to God’s plans for her life, no matter the cost. We connected this theme to the scripture passage: Luke 13:22-30 “Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”


Sundays Theme: Cast Out Your Nets!

We will discuss Luke 12:32-48 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom" and how this relates to Luke 5:3-11 "Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the  other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything* and followed him." 

Save the date for our canoe trip next Saturday August 14th! We are meeting at Saint Mary and Joseph Church parking lot at 8:45am and caravaning to Heron Bend on the mississipi river by the Lee County Conservation building (10 minute drive). We will also have jug fishing this year and a cookout with the help of our Knights of Columbus! Thank you to all of our youth at vacation bible school and youth group that helped decorate our jugs for fishing! The game warden said you can each use 2 (and you can take them home with you!!) For more pictures of our previous canoe trips, vacation bible school and other youth activities check out our pintrest page:


Sundays Theme: Open Wide the Doors for Christ!

We connected the theme to fidelity, remembering that God has promised to reward us in heaven for any persecutions we receive now for our faith. We should not be afraid to “open wide the doors for Christ” as St John Paul II would proclaim! Jesus always fills our live with truth, life and good things, even if it is a cross. By suffering for the good of others, we are testing our love as gold is refined in a fire, or diamonds polished by rubbing against each other. We must be vigilant against the snares of the devil who is like a prowling lion looking for someone to desire and see that the culture of death, utilitarianism, modernism, and hedonism will lead to misery. We will encounter challenges and difficulties in life and relationships, but Christ and his Blessed Mother will teach us how to face these challenges with love as they would.

Sundays Theme: Generous Giving For The Good of Others

 Thank you Molly, Kathleen, Karlee, Anna, Matt, Ella, and Noah for all your help with vacation bible school! We are connecting the theme to how we can generously give ourselves every day for the good of others. This can be done in small details of love like St Therese showed us by sweeping the floor, listening to someone who needs a friend, helping with the laundry or dishes. By expanding our capacity to love we are storing up treasures to enjoy in the Kingdom of Heaven! The more we grow in virtues (patience, kindness, peace, gratitude, generosity, selflessness, magnanimity, perseverance, fortitude, temperance, wisdom, knowledge, fear of the Lord -meaning you love God so much you would not do anything to offend Him). We can allow our whole lives to be imbued with the spirit of the Gospel, from the TV shows we watch to the books we read (filling our hearts and minds with that which is good, true, and beautiful) so we can reflect this in our lives. 

Sundays Theme: Your Will Be Done

This week we are having out cornhole tournament and reflecting on our Lords prayer. We pray that God’s will be done, he is our loving Father in heaven that made us, that knows what is best for us and what will bring us to the fullness of joy. God is love and always wills what is good for us, he always brings good out of evil and suffering as he opened the doors for heaven for us by Jesus’ crucifixion. If we take up our crosses with love like Jesus, we will become fully realized as people. We can connect this theme to the scripture passage: Luke 11:1-13 Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Sundays Theme: Service and Prayer

We have the spiritual need for prayer and uniting our sacrifices with Jesus on the cross. We need God’s grace for fruitful service and must grow in trust and confidence of His Divine providence. We connected this theme to the scripture passage of Luke 10:38-42 “Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

The diocese has sent this virtual event out for vocational formation: Vocation Ministry will have its first International Vocation Summit on July 31, 2021, from 10:00 am-12:30 pm CDT! Join priests and religious, parish leaders, educators, and discerners to help vocations grow! The virtual event includes incredible presentations from amazing speakers, small group discussions, Q&A, and prayer. The event includes a keynote address and Q&A with Bishop Douglas Lucia. The International Vocation Summit is a virtual summit with the goal of creating a culture of vocations globally. Join the conversation! RSVP to this FREE event today!


Sundays Theme: The Harvest is Plentiful

We discussed that God has unique plans and missions for each of us and that if we listen and follow the path Jesus will lead us down, it will lead us to the fullness of joy! There are many who do not know the love of God and we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to go to them in a spirit of service and love so that they may have life to the fullest in the Kingdom of Heaven. We connected this theme to the scripture passage “The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but labourers are few; therefore ask Lord of to send out into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you like lambs midst wolves. Carry no purse, bag, sandals; and greet nobody road. Whatever house enter, first say, ‘Peace this house! if anyone there who shares in peace, will rest that person; not, it return you. Remain same house, eating drinking they provide, for labourer deserves be paid. Do not move about from house. Whenever enter a town its people welcome you, eat what set before you; cure sick there, say them, kingdom God has come near'” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ And I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven .” (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20)

Sundays Theme: Multiplication of the Loaves

 “Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing. It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.” He replied, “Give them something to eat yourselves.” But they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, “Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.” (Lk 9:11-17) We connected this to John 6 and the bread of life discourse, looking to the original Greek and Hebrew texts and how the direct translation of the word “eat” is “to gnaw or chew.” Jesus emphasized His true presence in the Eucharist body, blood, soul and divinity. Let us give Jesus our fish and loaves so that he may multiply what we have for the good of many. 

Sundays Theme: Sacred Heart of Jesus

We discussed the Sacred heart of jesus and connected this with ascension of Jesus into heaven and his call to send us out to make disciples of all nations. We made spiritual journals to help us on our spiritual journey to heaven like many Saints have done, writing down what Jesus has personally spoken to them so as to remember it and live it out in daily life. We connected this theme to the scripture passage: “And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be imbued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven. And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy. And they were always in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:46-53 We connected this to the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles and how Jesus invites us personally to go out and bear witness to him with our words, actions and service for others. “And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.” Acts 1:9-10

Sundays Theme: Witness to Love

We discussed the sending out of the disciples before Jesus ascends into heaven and his call to send us out to make disciples of all nations. The Gospel and way of life Jesus lives was one of life and love, therefore we are called to be witnesses of that love and then live it out in our daily lives as Jesus showed us through acts of service for the good of others. “And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” The Ascension. Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Lk 24:46-53)

Sundays Theme: Divine Providence

We connected this to the scripture passage of our Blessed Mother’s Magnificat from Luke 1:46-56 “He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy.”” God always provides the graces we need for the mission we are called to complete here on earth. We give thanks for our priests and pray for all those called to the priesthood. Jesus is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist: “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22:19) “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 46:9) As we remember all the gifts and blessings God has provided in our lives, our hearts are moved to greater service to our parish family. Save the dates July 19th-23rd to volunteer as youth leaders for our vacation bible school! Contact [email protected] for more details! Join us June 16th at 10am for our hiking trip and bible photo scavanger hunt at rodeo park. Last year we had so much fun and crowned our Blessed Mother with roses as we prayed a decade of the rosary during our hike!

Sundays Theme: "I Have Come That They Might Have Life"

Thank you everyone who helped plant flowers in our prayer garden last weekend! For more pictures check out our pintrest page: We connected the theme to fidelity, remembering that God has promised to reward us in heaven for any persecutions we receive now for our faith. We should not be afraid to “open wide the doors for Christ” as St John Paul II would proclaim! Jesus always fills our live with truth, life and good things, even if it is a cross. By suffering for the good of others, we are testing our love as gold is refined in a fire, or diamonds polished by rubbing against each other. We will encounter challenges and difficulties in life and relationships, but Christ and his Blessed Mother will teach us how to face these challenges with love as they would. Therefore we must be vigilant against the snares of the devil who is like a prowling lion looking for someone to desire and see that the culture of death, utilitarianism, modernism, and hedonism will lead to misery. 

Sundays Theme: The Maternity of Mary

Join us this Sunday at 11:15am for our youth service project planting flowers in Mary's prayer garden in the back of Ss. Mary and Joseph Church as a mothers day gift to Mary! Thank you Carleen for picking out perennial flowers so they will return every year! Remember to bring gardening gloves, a hand shovel and watering can or old pitcher (we will have extras if you do not have any). We connected this theme to service as we remember the scripture passage from Matthew 20:28 “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We also connected this with other scripture passages related to service: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”   Hebrews 6:10 “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25 “The greatest among you will be your servant.”   Matthew 23:11 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves...  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”   Romans 12:9-13. 

Sundays Theme: Divine Mercy Chaplet

 Thank you everyone who helped take down decorations at the rectory as a service project for this month! We have another service opportunity on Sunday May 16th after the 10:30am Mass at our prayer harden behind SSMJ Church, come and plant flowers as a mothers day gift to our blessed Mother Mary! We discussed the divine mercy of Jesus in sacrificing Himself on the cross for us and giving us the opportunity to go to purgatory if our souls are not pure enough for heaven yet so that we can still make it to heaven for all eternity! Faith formation: We connect this to the diary of St Maria Faustina and promises Jesus made: “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image (of Divine Mercy) will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.” (Diary, 48) “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.” (Diary, 754) “When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one.” (Diary, 1541) “When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as a just Judge but as a merciful Savior.” (Diary, 1541) “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.” (Diary, 687) We connect this theme with the Scripture passage from our bibles and how we can live this out in our daily lives, the importance of being generous with others and forgiving them just as we need to be forgiven: “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:33-36)

Sundays Theme: Christian Prayer and Service

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt 6:5-15) Let us live our Christian prayer with good deeds and become more like Jesus every day. In Lourdes where the Blessed Mother appeared to St Bernadette, thousands gather from all over the world for prayer in many different languages and service projects to help others have a more profound encounter with Christ. Inspired by their example, let us increase our prayer and service within our own parish family and invite our friends to join us. This week we are meeting at SSMJ Church and helping take down decorations at the rectory as a service project for this month!