I have been thinking of starting an occasional series of entitled Without Reservation. Basically I have come across a lot of good things in my life and I would like to pass on my reviews to you.
The first one would be a cause for you to consider. That is helping disadvantaged youth get a chance to experience a Steubenville conference.
The Steubenville Youth conferences have a powerful effect on a lot of youth. I have witnessed it countless times in my history with them and it is one of the reasons I push/sell/suggest/recommend them as much as I do to my youth.
I was introduced to them by my friend Mario Dance. He is a Vetrinarian who loves sharing the Gospel with others but in a special way youth. In fact I would say he works his job as a vet in order to support his youth ministry. I met him through one of his youth who came to Texas A&M and became one of my best friends. He has had a powerful effect on a lot of youth and he introduced me to the conferences.
Until recently he worked in a fairly affluent parish in Virginia where the youth could easily afford such things. Since then he has moved to working with two parishes that are mostly minority and not affluent.
I was telling him how I was promoting the Stuebenville conference and asking him which one he was going to this year. He said he was unsure if he would be able to take any youth due to their financial challenges. I needled him a bit that they could really afford it and he felt that it truly was a barrier and he couldn’t afford to take pay for them all himself. So I told him to write up something and I would post it to my blog because people had been very generous in helping me get a monstrance for Children’s Adoration.
So I am presenting the cause to my readers because I know some would be interested in helping. I know some people have contacted me and asked for suggestions for tithing because they didn’t feel it would be well used in their parish. I told them of course that we have an obligation to support our local parish but what my diocese recommends is 1% to the Diocese; 4% to the local parish; and 5% to other charities. That being said maybe some of you would like to consider this cause as part of your other charities portion.
What I can tell you is that Mario is a good steward and won’t just give handouts to kids but make them work for the opportunity to go. I also told him that money came from my readers then I would expect the youth to let me post a testimony or a thank you and he said he would expect the same.
So it is without reservation that I recommend this cause to you because I know the power of the Steubenville conferences and the ability of Mario to follow up on that impact with great catechesis and ministry to the youth. In business terms your dollar would go a very long way.
So with that I am going to leave you with his info he gave me including and address for the donation. Because the checks are made out to the Church itself your donations would of course be tax deductible. No donation is too small because every dollar puts the youth that much closer to a potentially life changing experience. If you need a receipt from them simply put that request with the check. And now I hand it off to Mario:
Fr Todd, Here is the little blurb that you can use for your web page for my youth and their trip to Steubenville
First I want to thank you Fr Todd for allowing me to post this request on your web space, it means a lot that you would be willing to help the young people that I serve. For those who feel led to help, I thank you in advance. Those who are not able to help, I ask that you pray for me and my young people. My name is Mario Dance, I am a long time friend of Fr Todd’s and I also happen to be the vol youth minister at two very small parishes in Richmond VA. One parish (Holy Rosary) is in the heart of a very poor section of the city and the other (St. John’s) is about 10 mins from Holy Rosary in a blue collar section of the city. Combined the parishes are a beautiful (and just about equal) mixture of Hispanic, Anglo and African American families. Both parishes have never had anyone committed to building it’s youth ministry program and because they both struggle financially, the resources available to do so are very limited. If anyone has ever worked in youth ministry you will know instantly how important youth retreats and conventions are in the conversion and evangelization of young people. We struggle greatly to make the local retreats available for our young people and the need to subsidize these experiences tends to deplete our budget. With this in mind I make an appeal to anyone reading this who feels inclined to help me to send my young people on a Steubenville Summer Conference weekend in Atlanta GA. In my previous parish these conventions were very powerful opportunities for conversion and I’d like to try and get some of my teens to one this summer. We hope to take 8 teens (4 per parish) and the cost to send one youth is $125 plus the cost of travel and lodging. (Potentially adding $75 more per child). If any of you would be interested in trying to help me to send 8 of my young people on the trip I would be greatly appreciated. To help you would need to send the check to Attn: Mario Dance c/o St. John Catholic Church, 813 West Nine Mile Road, Highland Springs, VA 23075-1124. Make Checks payable to St John’s Church (donations are tax deductible). In all humility I am begging on behalf of the young people that I love so dearly. Thanks for considering this request. JMJ Mario
Mario E. Dance…in the humble service of the King 🙂 Soli Deo Gloria!