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BASIC Information

BASIC meets on Sunday nights from 6:30 PM to 9:00PM in the Davidson Center at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church. St. Anastasia Catholic Church also has a Youth / Young Adult Mass at 5:00 PM on Sundays.

For more information on meeting dates and topics check out the Calendar section of the BASIC website.

For more information contact:

Andrew Cipolla
Youth Ministry and Confirmation Coordinator
Ph: (248) 689 - 8380 ext. 108


St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church
4571 John R Rd.
Troy, MI 48085
CLICK HERE for map

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BASIC Thoughts (Retreat)

If you have never been on a retreat it is time to take one.  Ask any of the 25 teens who attended last weeks BASIC Winter Retreat in Attica, Michigan of the spiritual benefits.

There are a number of reasons to go on a retreat and Jesus expresses a desire for us to take time away in Mark 6:31:  “Jesus said to them, ‘come away with me.  Let us go alone to a quite place and rest for a while.’”

We live busy lives and carry heavy burdens; going on retreat is exactly that – a retreat from the battle of daily life.  A break from the front lines of our spiritual and earthly struggles to be refreshed with Jesus but this retreat was a little different challenging us to do more than rest.    

Teens ask a lot of questions and it’s important to provide them with truthful answers least they seek for themselves and, without careful guidance, find answers acceptable only to the world.  And this retreat started with a question: “what is family supposed to be?”

There’s no easy answer and no magic remedy to fix the deep hurts some of the teen’s are carrying regarding their family of origin; but we are a part of a larger family and the Father desires that we experience its fullness. 

In talking about family, our retreat was broke up into five sessions designed to challenge us to seek forgiveness for our sins, look objectively at our physical families, before looking to our spiritual family and inevitably to the Father’s unconditional love.

Session one asked the question, what is love?  The teens learned that love is more than a feeling – in fact love, they were told, is much more of an active verb like suffering.  It’s a choice and no one can promise to have a particular feeling forever. 

In session two, we learned Jesus was born into a family and in fact his family history was filled with murderers, prostitutes and adulterers – not unlike our own human family tree.  Learning that Jesus entered into our broken family was a big step in helping to see His redemptive work in our own lives.    

Session three took a look at how the Father can fulfill our family needs by giving us spiritual fathers, brothers and sisters, mentors and faith communities that satisfy desires that are not being met elsewhere.  While on retreat, a significantly visible element was the presence of the spiritual family.  Our dedicated core members and Spiritual Fathers being present let the teens experience this aspect of family active and lovingly engaged in their lives. 

These three sessions culminated with the forth, showing us all how the Father unites our physical and spiritual family primarily in the Holy Mass.  After receiving Jesus we put our Lord in the monstrance and spent time praising Him and the Father’s love made visible in the Blessed Sacrament.     

On the final day of retreat, with our misconceptions of love and family better understood, we asked the final questions, how do I accept love? We learned that often, because of our sin and insecurities, we fail to fully accept love.  We also learned everyone has a different way of showing love and a unique preference of how love is received.  In understanding how our loved ones show love, we can much more easily accept and recognize their loving actions as such. 

With the work of the retreat accomplished and the Lord permitted to heal our hearts, the retreat ended with an expectation to continue, to make real love known in our physical and spiritual families while continuing to seek a deeper relationship with our Father in heaven.

BASIC Thoughts (February 25)

There is a fundamental reality of who we are that often goes overlooked.  In fact, the culture almost demands, in its superficial and relativistic mindset, in its flash-paparazzied materialistic way, that we ignore this truth - that we are made in the image and likeness of God. 

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26.)  ‘Our image’, ‘our likeness’; this is a being that exceeds all of our abilities to comprehend – a tri-union God, three-in-one and we are made in His image and in His likeness.  The angels do not even share this reality.

And, “do you not know that we are to judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:7).  We, lesser intellectual beings will judge angels?  The gravity of these truths should stun us and not only that they should make us stare into the mirror and ask ourselves, no, tell ourselves who we really are – the image of God. 

The holiest and greatest expression of God that we see every day is another person.  How much better would life be if everyone behaved as if this was an undeniable truth?  With so much turmoil in the world, so much self-focus, if we all just turned ourselves outward and saw people as images of God; how would we treat them?  Better still, what would we be compelled to say when they, in their own difficulties, don’t treat themselves with the necessary dignity?  Would we not cry out in love and say you are made for more?

These are the valued lessons found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1700 and since they are so rich and essential to our reality as Catholics the entire text is presented here:   

CCC 1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God

( article 1 ); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude ( article 2 ). It is essential to a human being freely

to direct himself to this fulfillment ( article 3 ). By his deliberate actions ( article 4 ), the human person does,

or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience ( article 5 ). Human

beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual

lives into means of this growth ( article 6 ). With the help of grace they grow in virtue ( article 7 ), avoid sin,

and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son 1 to the mercy of our Father in heaven

( article 8 ). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.

The Church is wise in all her ways and with 2,000 years of tradition and history she has the guidance necessary to heal and direct what might otherwise remain broken lives.  Fixed in this identity is a calling to holiness, a calling to charity and compassion for others – but it also bares a responsibility; a willingness to address ourselves and others with the proper dignity.  And that dignity is God breathed: “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils and breathed life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)   

The season of lent is a perfect opportunity to be reminded of these truths and to change our disposition towards ourselves and others.  In taking better care of ourselves we increase our own dignity and in practicing charity to others we both project and receive the image of God.  Paragraph 1700 should be used as a directive that we carry with us everyday allowing it to influence our actions and our thoughts at every moment; after all are the beloved…

At the last BASIC: (February 18)

We took the opportunity last night at BASIC to deal with some pressing issues.  In God’s providence and plan, our night was on Death and Loss and it was a fitting topic considering what happened in Florida. 

I want to encourage parents to have a conversation with their teens (if they haven’t already) about these events and how they may be feeling.  Given that they are still in school they are much closer to these traumatic deaths.     

Our focus at BASIC centered on the reality that we live in a fallen world and will face loss and suffering if we haven’t already. It’s just the truth and Jesus has told us to expect this: he says, “you have to pick up your cross,” he says that ‘if you don’t deny yourself you can’t follow him,” he says, “in this life you will have trouble.”  The bible says ‘do not be afraid’ 365 times.  That makes it pretty clear that in this life we are going to be tempted to fear. 

Jesus lived this hard life of suffering and faced every temptation, every possibility of sin, death, loss, sadness, poverty – he faced everything we will and have faced but he didn’t sin. In our talk, we focused on the cross; a horrendous way of taking a life but one that in God’s hands was ultimately redemptive for the world. 

Jesus went to it willingly and in his humanity, one that we share as well, experienced all the pain and suffering that exists in this fallen world.  While we are weak and have a susceptibility to sin with His help, ultimately, we have the ability to conquer this world just as He did

In his book Into Your Hands, Father Wilfrid Stinissen had this to say, “God makes use of evil in such a superb way and with such skill that the result is better than if there had never been evil.”  In times of such crisis, these are the truths that we need to hold onto. 

All of this is so important in light of what happened, young lives were ended and the nation is once again caught up in the same political discussion.  The most important thing seems to be this – the world needs to wake up and realize that the more we turn away from God as a nation and as a people, the more we allow logic and reason to take a backseat to feeling and popular opinion, the more babies we kill, the darker things will get.  

This popular notion of ‘I don’t want your thoughts and prayers,’ should wake us up as Christians.  The reality is; people aren’t praying like they should in the first place.  People point to themselves, to society, to wealth, to celebrities, to technology; these are the pagan gods of today.  So in fact it is prayer that can do the most good in such terrible circumstances.

“Look at how they love each other.”  This is what people should say about us, about Catholics.  Our lives are made to stand out and it doesn’t matter if you are a priest, a religious, a lay person or a 15-year-old; we are called to love one another and stand out from a culture consumed by selfishness. 

There is a problem in this world and it is right here in our own broken hearts. So as we continue on in lent we need to take a hard look at our lives and with the help of trusted mentors, priests, and friends, resolve to allow God the Father to give us a new heart so that in changing ourselves we might change the world.   

Here’s how teen leader Nic VanDette put his teaching:

So you probably guessed that our topic tonight is loss if you didn’t know already.  So there are a bunch of different types of losses like the loss of someone, something, your loss of self, and the loss of faith. 

All of these losses are NOT because God hates us or desires something bad for us.  In these times, we can turn to Him to help us through our loss. There is the Bible verse, John 6:65-66 “and He said for this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by my Father.  As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him”.

After Jesus said this, He knew that some of the disciples would leave Him and so Jesus experienced loss during His worst time (His Passion).  We know that He got through it with the help of God and that is what Jesus expects us to do. The disciples were thought of as these great people who followed Jesus 24/7 but they weren’t perfect because of examples like this.  We have to be like the apostles when we get lost - they prayed and brought themselves back to Jesus.  We have to put in an effort like they did.

This teaches us that we can’t expect something of Jesus just because “we don’t feel called” or don’t pray to him or don’t think we need Him in these times. For an example of this, we look at John 11:32-43 where Lazarus died and Mary was blaming Jesus for her brother’s death.  Jesus went to his tomb and wept and the others there were asking why He couldn’t have done something because He has performed other miracles before.  Then Jesus said to Martha, the other sister, “did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” and Jesus prayed before reviving the Lazarus. We can’t always see Jesus perform miracles like that, but He is always by our side and we can talk to Him.   We always have a shoulder to cry on and the holiest person to help us in our worst times of loss – Jesus.  


Last night’s was simple enough but very important: how we ask things from God.

Everyone can relate to having asked for something from God and not received it, which of course can make you wonder if God heard you or even cares.  The teens learned some examples of God’s primary answers to our requests: yes, not nowI have something better planned, I want you to endure this to make you better or you need to figure this one out on your own. 

These notions help us to realize that with so much distraction in our life we often don’t know what is best for us and God, our Good Father, in his infinite wisdom knows exactly what is going to make us the happiest!  The trick is allowing ourselves to change and not trying to change God’s mind (which can’t happen anyway).   

The next important thing the teens learned to consider was how they are making their requests.  Any question that challenges our trust in God like, “what are you doing?”, “Why?” and “Where are we going?” ultimately attack your own relationship with Christ because what you are really saying is; unless you tell me everything I will not follow. 

It’s human nature to look past the possibility that our Father might be doing something better for us than we realize.  There are indeed times when He sends us into the desert or allows our struggles to continue so that we grow.  Despite these realities, He never leaves us and in fact validates our emotions in his own humanity. 

As we recalled, Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though He knew He was going to raise him from the dead.  He allowed himself to feel our pain then and continues to this day by meeting us IN our storm rather than simply calming the sea.

So, whenever we pray we need to make sure we UNITE our will to God’s will for us.  Since God knows what’s right we need to realize that what want isn’t always what’s best.  We get distracted by our passions, sin and our feelings: remember, feelings only tell us where we are, not where we are going or what kind of person we should become.

The challenge then, and a good practice for lent is that in praying ask God for the grace to accept his will over our own all while praising him, thanking him, confessing and making our requests.  After all, He knows how to give good things to his children. 


This year’s mission trip to Frenchville, PA will be taking place July 8 - 13, which is one day shorter from last year.  Young People Who Care, have chosen to shorten the event in an effort to allow for a better turnaround time for their hard-working staff.

Attached you will find the updated requirements and commitment form for this year’s trip. The cost is $250 and there will be opportunities to fundraise.  Only 10 - 12 graders are permitted to attend (no current 9th graders).  In addition, participants are required to fulfill the following additional requirements.

Students must have attended at least one BASIC retreat (or equivalent), attend the mandatory carwash on June 3 and complete three additional service opportunities.  These opportunities are open to discretion given availability but are primarily designed to give teens the opportunities to assist their parish.  Examples include: children’s liturgy, teaching catechism, soup kitchen event, SOS and others.

If you have any questions regarding what would count for service you can email Andy at acipolla@stanastasia.org.

Young People Who Care is a six daylong event in which teens work with the local community in Pennsylvania on various hands on projects from painting, to building, to yard clean up all while learning about themselves, their neighbor and God.    


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Jesus Gets us Started

In the Catholic faith there are many teachings that seem to repeat; sentiments that are so common the meaning can get lost in the repetition.  Take, for example, the teaching that Jesus has died for our sins and taken upon himself the punishment we justly deserve.

Such a statement, all be-it a central belief, can seem almost rudimentary; like helping a small child with school work where although the knowledge is there, the heart has grown distracted by its own familiarity.  This is a trap that comes into play and especially so for those well educated in the faith. 

How can you take a belief that you ‘know-so-well’ and find something new?

The answer to that is through faith and humility.  Believing you don’t know everything and that 2,000 years of history knows better is an important step in remaining docile to the Holy Spirit and Holy Mother Church.  When a person is open, humble and willing, great growth can be found in even the simplest of church teachings. 

So, Jesus died for our sins and took our punishment, how much deeper can that get?  Well, perspective changes drastically when this redemptive work by Jesus is seen as only one step in a long life of personal conversion - the first step actually.

We, as Catholics, must desire holiness for without that desire and universal call there can be no progress in the spiritual life.  At some point, we must get to a place, where, in our quest for greater holiness we join more of ourselves to the cross of Jesus.

First, we join our sin that He freely dies for – this He does without being asked (although we can ask).  Next, we must add our faults, weaknesses, until our gifts, pleasures and desires are joined to Him as well to the inevitable goal of placing our entire selves on the cross and dying.  Yes, dying.  So the reality seems, that Jesus, who took our place and our punishment got things started and now we must be the ones to keep going.  As St. Paul says, “in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”  What is lacking in Christ’s death is our participation. 

BASIC Update (January 28)

Last week at BASIC we covered a heavy topic by discussing the important distinction between depression and sadness.  We can often, especially at a young age, experience feelings of ‘depression’ but there is a noted difference between having an appropriate cause for our emotional state and when such feelings are a sign that we need to ask for help.

Our teens at St Anastasia are dealing with real problems and given their lack of experience, no matter how small these problems may seem to adults, they need to be validated.  These are the years and the moments where they are coming into their own and the way they handle, what for them are the biggest problems they have ever faced, will go to determine how they handle the next problem.  And as those with experience know, life is filled with problems; we just get better at facing them each time.

The most important take away from last night was twofold: first, if you are facing a serious problem and choosing to face it alone that is your first mistake.  We are made for community and no one is expected to face difficulties alone.  The second and perhaps most important; if in your struggle you are talking to a friend who likewise has struggles similar to your own, this is not the same as having help. 

Two people struggling in a pot of bowling water cannot help each other out – we all need someone who has been there and gone through what we are facing and this is often times someone with more experience; for teens that almost always means an adult. 

Winter Retreat (March 2 – 3)

This year’s winter retreat is being planned and permission slips have gone out.  We will be going to the Michigan Christian Youth camp in Attica, Michigan to conduct a retreat put on by the BASIC Teen Council.  Our theme this year is all about family.  If you are interested see the website for details or email Andy at acipolla@stanastasia.org.  The cost is $50. 


__________Past Post__________

Yesterday is gone

By Andy Cipolla

I’ve been getting a very consistent push in prayer the last week to not only remind myself of the importance of granting each new day to the Lord but to actively remind the teens.  It seems these reminders, delivered through social media, have been resonating in many hearts so I thought it would be good to share with the parish family.

Don’t let the way you felt when you woke up this morning dictate how your day will go. 

This seems simple enough but with so much stress in the world and responsibilities in our day to day we often wake up tired and frustrated.  How often do we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and call it a ‘day’ before it even really gets started? 

This is simple enough, in practice, to correct once it’s been realized but like many good habits it needs to be practiced.  Realizing that we are fleshy-humans and have weaknesses is one piece but the other, and perhaps more important, is our will. 

So when we wake up in the morning, regardless of how we physically feel, we can will ourselves out of bed and with great intention proclaim: “this is the day the Lord has made, let us give thanks and praise.”  After which, if you offer something like, “Jesus, I give this day to you” you’ll be surprised by how much more joyful your life will be.   

We have to find the joy within us and not from the circumstances of lives; those are ever changing but Jesus never changes. 

Happiness is an activity and not a destination, so when we base our daily life on what will make us happy we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  If our reason for getting out of bed and rushing off to school or work is that morning visit with a close friend, well, what happens when they fail us?  Letting our happiness rest on someone one else, or on an event that might not go the way we hope isn’t a plan for joy, it’s an emotional time-bomb waiting to go off.   

Now, we all have difficulties and struggles but we should not let those things define our life.  As Fr. Steve always reminds us we are the beloved sons and daughters of the Father – that is our truest identity.  He is NOT Tony the unemployed man, he’s the Father’s son Tony and he has great worth job or no job. 

Jesus is only one person who can never disappoint us, always loves us, is ever present, waiting and willing and in the end He can’t even die.  Our joy has to come from Him and from the reality of our adoption to the Blessed Trinity.  It is this reality that must precede everything we do and everything we think about ourselves; after all we have a kingdom to live for and one that someday soon, tomorrow for some of us, will be home.        

You are being saved, right now, in this moment so live in that freedom of Christ.  Yesterday is gone and His grace is here for you to accept.  It’s going to be beautiful.

With our will sound and our joy in Christ the last piece is freedom.  If we live in Christ we are free and that means from our problems and our burdens – not that we don’t have responsibility or things to work on within ourselves but in God’s hands these things will work for us. 

So in this New Year let’s resolve to give up…and to finally surrender our mornings, our days and our lives to the only one who matters – Jesus.  He is eager for us to simply accept His grace and with it His abundant joy – our joy.  God bless you.     


High School Input Night

Sunday December 3, high school teens from St. Anastasia will be given the opportunity to join with teens from the BASIC youth group and engage the teen leadership with topics, questions and ideas for the 2018 church year.

The input night will be held in the Davidson Center following the 5 p.m. mass and praise and worship with dinner begging at 7 p.m.  After some games teens will be introduced to their teen leaders and take part in two break-out session where they will be able to express publicly and privately their questions of the faith, of life and the world.  These ideas will then be cultivated into a curriculum for the year.

In addition to teen activities, parents are also invited to join the Adult Volunteers in meeting room B for an opportunity to ask questions of the Youth Minister and to learn what topics have been covered so far, along with gaining insight into the ministry model used at St. Anastasia.  This will begin at 8:15 p.m. see schedule for more details. 

Input Night Schedule:

5 – 6 p.m.            Mass

6 – 7 p.m.            Praise and Worship

7 – 7:30 p.m.       Dinner in Davidson

7: 30 – 8:15         Activities / Adult core meeting

8:15 – 9               Adult meeting in room B

8 – 8:30               Teen Session 1 lead by Eleanor

8:30 – 9               Teen Session 2 lead by Mike and Brandon   

What we learned at BASIC Sunday:

A number of months ago I set out to consider what my hobbies are; I used to think a hobby had to be something that got you outside and active but I realized it just had to be something I was passionate about and enjoyed on a regular basis.  I learned shortly thereafter that watching movies was my favorite hobby.

My favorite moment when I watch a movie are those first few seconds when the screen turns black and lights up to the setting because in that moment anything is possible and for the next two hours the world melts back: my problems, concerns, worries all sink away and I am drawn into the story. 

There is something all movies have in common and their stories reveal something of our spiritual selves.  Every movie has a hero and the best ones start with our hero being a ‘nobody’ but by the end it turns out he or she had been the ‘one’ all along. 

This is something that we all share; we all want to be great!  We all have this inner drive to be the best and hope to one day be discovered as the champion of our world.  We are all driven to a greatness that is beyond our capabilities and it is this desire that points us to something outside the visible world.

A few nights ago I was having a conversation with the Father and was finding myself a little frustrated with some challenges I had been facing.  As I sat in bed I pulled out my bible and asked the Lord to talk to me while telling him that I knew he wouldn’t.  When I opened my bible this is what I found:

“Behold, in this you are not right.  I will answer you.  God is greater than man.  Why do you contend against him, saying ‘He will answer none of my words?’ – Job 33:12-13.  That was a bit of a shock for me but I realized that sometimes we all need a reminder; even those of us who have been walking in the faith for many years; it’s a constant battle, a daily walk that won’t be fully realized until the end of our lives.  Even soon to be Blessed Solanus Casey needed to keep this in mind.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only for me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

This life isn’t about being perfect or popular but reaching a perfection that will one day be awarded to us.  So often in our culture we learn that the measure of that greatness is found in wealth, educational status, material possessions, fancy car, exotic trips, how many followers we have on Twitter and Facebook; how long our streaks are on SnapChat. 

There is a desire for greatness that is evident most in our reactions to failure.  In our depression and anxiety, in drug use, sex and violence used to fill a void; an emptiness that says, “I want to be great.  I am doing my best.  I want to be ‘the one’ but can’t.”  Everyone is fighting for what, in a worldly sense, is unattainable because its truest aim is something other-worldly.

So where do we stand in this journey to greatness?  Scripture tells us: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, though the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

If this is true, and all have fallen short and we are no better and no worse than the person who sits next to us then what is the real measure?  How do we determine where we are if the world has it wrong?  One place – we turn to the Cross because it is there where we not only meet our suffering Lord but can gaze upon that truest and universal call – to be holy as our God is holy.  There is no other option than to become a saint.

Where do we go from there?  Where do we start?  We do two things; first we turn to the Word and read 1 Peter 1:3 – 9 and then we sit down with Jesus and we ask Him; where do I put you in my life?  God wants us to be Saints TODAY and not just when we die but to become living saints; and it’s attainable for each one of us.


Consider these images and ask yourself where Jesus falls in your life. Then ask yourself and Jesus what you need to do to move forward.


BASIC gaining momentum

This year’s Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC) high school program, which meets from 6:30 – 9 on Sundays, is gaining momentum.  Teen leaders and the adult core started off slowly with a focus on topics designed to prepare us to dive deep.  With nights on Faith and Truth teens learned about the Catholic approach to understanding.

The Teen Council, made up of 14 teens, has created a program featuring very appropriate topics based on their unique spiritual and cultural needs.   Coming up on October 15 is a night about stress, followed by nights on self-acceptance, dating/friendship and many such topics; all of which are viewed from the Catholic perspective. 

Each BASIC night has the same key elements.  It begins at 6:30 with dinner, a game, a main teaching and small group time before closing at 8:45.  The Small Groups for the year have been created and teens will be made aware of their placement on October 15.  We are always open to new High School students to join so please come - you are welcome!!!!! Small group is the heart of the BASIC night and is a place where teens can share freely without the fear of being judged. 

In addition, BASIC offers two yearly retreats the first of which is coming up November 3 – 5 (permission slips can be found at http://stabasicyg.squarespace.com/).  This retreat will be a time of escape from the business of the school year and an opportunity to encounter Jesus in a deeper and more significant why.  This year we will be taking a look into Mary and how her example points to Jesus.  


BASIC Praise and Social SUNDAY OCT 1

This Sunday's BASIC will start at 6 p.m. with Praise and Worship in the main church before dinner.  This is a great opportunity to come together as a family of believers and worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. 

Fr. Steve will espose our lord on the Altar immidiatlly following the conclusion of the 5 p.m. mass and Josh Ross will lead us in about 40 minutes of praise music.  After we will have an open night with fun, food and games.  


Who wants to be a Saint?  

I’ve been wondering about something and I figured it was best to just come right out and ask.  If anyone out there is interested and not really all that busy, I’m thinking we could all become Saints.  That’s my plan anyway and I thought you would appreciate the invite; it could be a fun thing to do together. 

It has been a long summer and I’m ready for Confirmation and BASIC to kick off so we can start working together to be Saints.  Our catechists, core members and newly formed teen council are all preparing for this group effort to sainthood. 

My first year done; I’ve been taking stock, gone to prayer and have mapped out a plan for the year that has a primary focus on more teen leadership. This year’s Teen Council is going to be smaller and much more task oriented so I have great expectations. 

And it all starts September 10 after the 5 p.m. Mass with the BASIC Kickoff Party.  All high school aged teens are invited and encouraged to attend – our incoming freshmen especially (this is technically your first confirmation class).  It’ll be a night of food, games and fellowship.     

Just to give you some insight into the topics for BASIC night, the new Senior Teen Leaders and I are still working from topics chosen by the teens last year.  That’s the primary structure of the program here at St. A’s; that the teens are able to really direct the topics based on both their interest and their stuggles. 

The first official BASIC night will be September 15 and has been titled Reinstalling Faith.  Our lives can be very different between the school year and summer time.  When there is less a demand on our time it can be easy to lean more in the direction of relaxation and lose a spiritual focus.  Having BASIC each week keeps us grounded and gives us a weekly faith focus that helps to keep Jesus on our minds. 

As is true for everyone, sometimes we find that our faith has stalled.  We’ve lost interest in our rosary, our prayer is lax or maybe we’ve had difficulty attending mass each week.   In those instances its can be as simple as turning around.  That’s our topic on September 17 and we will talk about ways to get back on solid ground.   

This year is setting up to be deeply enriching with emotional topics, theological, apologetic and of course engaging nights of activities and games.  Every high schooler should check out our program and encourage a friend to come.  I’ll challenge you to come to three nights and if after that you don’t like it then it might not be for you. 

Parents, it’s okay to ‘make your’ teens come and check us out.  Sometimes they need a little push and if after a few nights it’s not their thing, there are a lot of other ways to get involved at St. Anastasia.  It’s that kind of vibrant parish. 


BASIC Schedule:


Start: 6:15 p.m. (W/ Dinner)

End: 8:50 p.m.

Location: Davison Center


10 -  Kick off Party

17 -  Re-installing Faith

24 - BASIC night


1 – BASIC night

15 – BASIC night

29 – BASIC night




It’s been a while since I’ve written on the website, so I figured it was time to give you an update.  A lot has been happening in Youth Minstiry for us; from the march for life, confirmation retreat, teen council meetings and BASIC nights we have been very busy.   

Six teens from our parish attended the march for life last month and joined thousands in protest against abortion.  Together we were front row for Vice President Mike Pence’s historic speech.  It was inspiring and refreshing to be in a place where we felt intellectually safe and surrounded by like minded individuals.  One speech stood out the most to me and I would highly recommend looking up Congresswoman Mia Love’s astonishing words.  (Shout out to Rebecca for being the only girl in attendance and putting up with all us guys). 

Just at the beginning of this month we took some 60 ninth graders to the outdoor education center for their confirmation retreat.  The retreat was led by several of our teens who shared personal testimonies and performed in carefully rehearsed skits.  I am very proud of all of your hard work!  And of the ninth graders who almost all said they thought it was going to be boring and were pleasantly surprised.  I hope to see you at BASIC and participating in the parish.

Next, the teen council has begun to take its own initiative and is currently planning our winter retreat, which will be March 3 – 5.  Permission slips are out and all teens are welcome to attend.  Lastly, BASIC continues this Sunday with an exciting guys and girls divided night.  Looking forward to what’s coming next.  God Bless.     

BASIC Update:

Merry Christmas Teens!  I hope you all get a chance to rest up from a busy semester and to prepare for the New Year.

Here are some thoughts for you to consider as we have a number of weeks off before we return on January 8.  The most important of which is to KEEP PRAYING!  Keep practicing all the things we have been learning together; accepting our weaknesses, forgiving others, falling on the Father’s mercy, and enduring trials. 

What small acts of love can you do during the Christmas season? Remember, Christmas lasts from December 25 until January 9 in the church. 

What small acts of trust in Jesus can you perform to grow in confidence?

What are you doing right now to become a SAINT?

These are important things to keep in mind so as not to lose any of the momentum we’ve built up.  The last thing I wanted to remind you is, just because we don’t have anything official planned during the next few weeks, doesn’t mean that you can’t get together.  So make plans to see each other.  

BASIC Update:

It is hard to believe that I have only been here since July; it feels like much longer with all that has gone on in Youth Ministry here at St. Anastasia.  I’m feeling a little whiplashed from the hurried movements of the Holy Spirit that have been leading me through BASIC nights, meetings and retreats.  He has been showing up without fail and the Adult Core and I have been following His lead; and he is leading us to some new and exciting places. 

One such place is the restructuring of the Teen Council into a self-governing body, led by two of our High School Seniors, Brendan DeSantis and Barbara Sammut.  These two have stepped up to take charge and I want to commend them for doing so without much knowledge of what will be expected of them.  They will build those expectations for their predecessors and that is both an honor and a daunting challenge. 

Here is where things get exciting and where the rest of our BASIC teens, and all teens, come into play.  On December 4, the Senior Leaders and the Teen Council will play host to a unique BASIC night with more of a work shop feel.  At this night, a series of three sessions will be set-up in which, given specific themes, the Teens of St. Anastasia and BASIC will be able to offer their direct input, expectations and hopes for your youth ministry program.  These suggestions will then be put to use for the duration of the year and into future programming. 

The new Teen Council is now formatted to have several key teen coordinators for service, liturgy, event planning and our bible study groups.  Beginning in January the new leadership will begin to take a more active role in the planning and implementation of BASIC  nights.  


What's Been Happening at BASIC?

How we are becoming Saints!

I thought I should give a little update as to what exactly we have been doing so far this year at BASIC for those who have been unable to attend.  I can really sum it all up in just two words – becoming saints! 

Since the start of BASIC, three weeks ago, the Holy Spirit has led us to journey together with St. Therese on a series that covers the simplest application of her ‘little way.’  What is the little way?  Well to put it simply it is a way to abandon yourself as a child to the love of our Father in heaven, and to capture his heart. 

Who doesn’t want to capture the heart of their father?  Even those of us who have great earthly fathers and not so great can relate to this simple image.  All of us, from the young to the old, the 13-year-old to the 80-year-old are beloved children of God. 

What difference does it make to the God of the universe weather you’re 13 or 80?  None, it makes no difference and in fact this is a great blessing because if you approach him as a child when you make mistakes, He will respond with the greatest Love. 

As St. Therese puts it, if a small child says, “Daddy, I’m not perfect, I do lots of silly things, but you know how much I love you! And when I do something silly, I ask that you punish me with a kiss!”  I can’t imagine any father not being moved to love in such a situation and we can have the same effect on our Heavenly Father. 

In the last two BASIC nights we have learned how to invite Jesus into our littleness and imperfections.  We’ve learned that our weakness actually attract God’s love, if we accept them and put them into His hands.  We also learned that a great way to become holy is to do small things with great love (like the dishes; extra points for something gross like picking up dog poop). 

Just this past Sunday we expanded by adding trust into the equation and learning ways to grow our Trust in the Father.  Much like love, we learned to do small acts of trust as a way to continue our growth in holiness and to reach our goal of becoming saints.  We all may be a work in progress but that is what will make us holy.  


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