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According to a national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 55% of all American youths ages 12-17 use the Internet and online social networking sites like Facebook and Friendster. Also another national survey from CTIA and Harris Interactive states that 57% of teens view their cell phone as the key to their social life while 52% agree that the cell phone has become a new form of entertainment. With all of this communicating….what are we accomplishing? Are we having meaningful uplifting conversations? Would we say these things out loud, or in front of our parents? How difficult is it for us to imitate Christ and mind our manners and our morals while being a part of this virtual world of social networking.

 

Serving others in our community and our world and recognizing the face of Christ in each person we serve is answering Jesus’ call to serve “the least of our brothers”. Serving others can bring us great joy…but sometimes when we feel helpless, like we can’t do enough to help, or when we try to make time for it in our already overstressed and busy life it can be seen as a burden.  So how can sharing in another’s suffering bring us to a deeper and more profound sense of joy?

 

You know that God has a plan for your life and you pray for guidance to discover “your” plan.  So what happens when you’re still not sure what the plan is?  What do we do next?  It isn’t always easy to realize what God wants us to do.  Sometimes we reach a little bump on our spiritual road.  But God never abandons us, He gives us signs.  What are some of these signs and how can we learn to recognize these signs along our spiritual journey so we know what God wants us to do now?

 

Our Catholic identity goes beyond just attending Mass every Sunday, acknowledging that we are Catholic or wearing a crucifix or religious jewelry or clothing.  Our Catholic identity is wrapped up in how we live out our faith.  It is putting our belief in Christ and His Church into action and incorporating our faith beliefs into our daily life. What are some ways that we show our friends and our community that we are Catholic?  Would others identify us as Catholics by our actions and behavior?  How can we better form our own sense of Catholic identity?

 

Youth ministry is the ministry of young people in the church.  It’s how young people are incorporated into the life of the parish community  This can mean many things, like being an altar server, volunteering to help teach Religious Education or Vacation Bible School, singing in the choir or folk group, or participating in the parish youth group.  Do you participate in the activities in your church community?  Is your church teen friendly?  Does it promote the active participation of young people?  Why should young people be active in our church community?  What do we get out of it?

 

Many of us have experienced the loss of a friend or loved one. Whether the death be a result of a sudden and random accident, a prolonged sickness like cancer or something as devastating as suicide; it is an agonizing experience to go through. When someone dies young it makes it even more difficult. So how do we grieve and get through such an overwhelming loss? How can our faith and prayer give us hope to go on? This episode also features a music video by Realfaith TV cast members Alina and Justin Zimmerman. Justin wrote the song to help him grieve the sudden death of a close friend.

 

As baptized Catholics, we are called to be missionaries and tell the world about Christ and His saving grace. What does this mean, and how do we answer this call to be missionaries? What does it take to be a missionary in today’s world? Do we have to travel to faraway lands to do missionary work, or is this something we can do in our own community?

 

There are many types of disabilities that a person may have, like someone may not be able to walk, or see or hear…or even communicate with us.   Some disabilities are more noticeable than others… but whatever the disability….we must remember that the disability does not define us.  We are all first and foremost defined as sons and daughters of God, each with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the world.  So what can we learn from people who have physical and mental disabilities? How can we see past their disability and get to know the person inside?