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Featured Article: A Different Kind of Martyrdom - How I learned to stop talking and start listening. - Martyrs go straight to heaven. I first heard this when I was about five and, after quickly thinking it over, I decided to ask God to let me die as a witness to the truth. It seemed to me the surest, fastest way to be with Jesus forever. Trekking through the jungle, sharing the good news with a lost tribe, being quickly put to death-it couldn’t be all that bad, right? Read Full Story

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 Black Catholic Young Adults

"If You Don't Know Where You're Going, Any Road Will Take You There"

Article Index
Empty Shell Marriages
Sociology textbooks define Empty Shell Marriages as: A marriage in name only, where a couple continues to live under the same roof but as separate individuals. Click for full story
Must See Sermon
In this Young Adult Service, the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, a Baptist minister from Alexandria, Virginia, challenges the young and young at heart to explore their trust in God by showing how God reveals himself. Click for full story
Sunday Prayer for Teens 2014-2015
Sunday Prayer for Teens provides a great way to support a teenager’s prayer life throughout the year in a cost-effective manner. Click for full story
Dying to Self
What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that “I no longer live?” How do I deny myself? Click for full story
Shining her Light: Proud Young Women, Black & Yes, Catholic!
In honor of Black Catholic History Month, 13 year old Vanessa was asked by her churches BCHM Committee to share with her Parish what it means to her to be Black and Catholic. Click for full story
Vocation, a Journey to Conversion
A reflection written by Fr. Davis when he was a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2013 in New York. Click link for full story
Online Resources for Teens:
Check out the these resources for teens concerning alcohol, sex, living a pure life and more Click link for full story
Examination of Conscience
Every day we must examine our reflections and take account for the mark we have left on the world. Click link for full story
The Time has Come
On June 1, 2013, seven young men of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers religious community were ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in what was both a festive and holy occasion. Click link for full story
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Click link for full story
The Road to Youth Ministry: Discerning God’s Call
Ministry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn’t possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry. Click link for full story
Is Waiting Worth It?
The boundary for sex is marriage. God instructs us to wait to express our physical sexuality with another human being. He knows the power of it and knows that the best place for it to be expressed is inside of marriage. When sex happens inside of marriage it acts as a bond that keeps two people together, for life. Click link for full story
My Reflections on the National Black Catholic Congress XI
I have attended Congresses in the past as a youth. But now as a young adult, I believe I learned more from the experience. Perhaps now, as I am developing my own relationship with God, I was able to comprehend the various topics discussed in a deeper manner. Click link for full story
Reflections on Keeping Young Adults in the Catholic Church
I see the kids and teens in my own church and while they may not be on fire with their faith yet, I see that spark that will soon ignite and want so much for them to keep that spark ignited. I want them to join their church committees, be a true member. I want them to stay with their faith and profess to the world that yes we are black, we are Catholic and we are just as on fire with our faith as other Christians. Click link for full story
Words from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress)
Reflections from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) with pictures. Click link for full story
The Princess Within: 3 Steps to Realizing Your True Identity
The attack on our feminine souls can be strong and relentless. The war on our identity can seem like a never-ending nightmare. Where can you turn to find relief? Where can you go to find the answers to who you really are? How can you begin to realize that you are beautiful and perfect, a true princess? Click link for full story
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
The more we learn, the better we may be able to understand the abilities and vulnerabilities of teens, and the significance of this stage for life-long mental health. Click link for full story

The Reverend Deacon Shelby M. FriendIf you are a young person who believes that you know everything about life; if you believe you have all the answers for how to be successful; if you refuse to listen to or be told anything by anyone about the choices and decisions you are making in your life; if you know where you are going in life and which road will get you there; I suggest that you stop reading this article right now because this article is not for you.

To the disbelief of my children and grandchildren, I was not born into this world old, grumpy, and cantankerous, harboring the notion that I knew everything. To their surprise, I was actually young at one point in my life. However, I do admit that there was a time during my adolescence when I had a similar mindset that many of our young people have today.

I thought I was privileged. I was certain that the world owed me something. I had huge ideas and great expectations of everyone but myself. I failed to listen to my parents, my teachers, my pastor and anyone else who tried to offer me any advice. I had an answer for everything. I dismissed anyone who did not think the way I thought or agree with what I had to say. I had a plan for my life, but my plan had no concrete substance. Absent from my plan was a strategy for a sound work ethic and a lack of basic respect for others. The core of my plan was woven totally around me. There was nothing that addressed the issue of how to make good choices and decisions.

There was no thought given as to how I would address the negative consequences, choices, and decisions that I would surely make. I was different, you see, and where others had failed I would surely succeed, because I thought I had all the answers. I did not need advice from anyone about how to live my life. I refused to listen because in my young mind I knew a little about everything, but in reality I knew a whole lot about nothing. I am sure that there are many young people today who are not like me at all. I know from working with children in the church, my community, and my hometown that some are bright, intelligent, and have set high expectations for themselves. I am sure that there are young people in our communities who would welcome good sound advice and directions for how to make better choices and decisions in their lives.

Therefore, I would like to share with you four basic ideas that might help you make better decisions and choices as you begin your journey on the road to success.

First: You must know who you are and whose you are. Who you are may be defined perhaps by your ethnicity or your race. To know whose you are is to simply understand that you are a child of God. You come from good stock, from royal blood. You come from the lineage of a royal kingship. You must never forget that God loves you just as you are and you must always try to love yourself and others as much as God loves all of us. Simply because of who you are, a child of God, He will always be by your side as you continue on your journey to success. All you have to do is ask, trust, and believe.

Second: Before you start out on your journey, you must map out a plan with some idea of where you want to go so that you will know where you need to start and how long it will take you to get there. In addition, and most importantly, God must be a part of your plan. No smart traveler would ever start out on a journey without a map, without knowing where he or she wanted to go, or without having some idea of how to get there. With a map, you lower the possibility of getting lost or possibly reaching the wrong destination. Without a map on your trip, you will find yourself having to constantly stop and ask for directions-sometimes from strangers.

You will find on your journey to success that the folks who are already lost will take comfort in your getting lost as well. Let God be your guide and the foundation of your plan. Do not be afraid to call on God through prayer and be patient; God works on His time-not ours. Through prayer, patience, and prudence, and with God by your side, you will reach your destination.

Third: Pay attention to the signs that are posted on your road to success. Choose your route carefully; some roads will lead you to a sense of false happiness; some will lead you to a life of failure, unhappiness, and resentment. Some signs will say stop, proceed with caution; others will say detour, bridge out, wrong way, or do not enter.

Many people who have traveled and tested the roads that lead to success believe that these signs are sent by God Himself to make them visible to us-people like our parents, teachers, pastors, wise members of our church community, loved ones, and friends. If you look for those signs and pay attention to them when you see them, you will be able to make better choices and decisions as you travel the road to success.

Fourth and most importantly, you must be careful in choosing the road you take on your journey to success. Always remember to ask God to be your companion. He will lead you, guide you, and show you the way. When you are tired, God will provide you strength and when you are lost, He will help you find your way.

Finally, always remember these words of wisdom from someone much wiser than me: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

Deacon Shelby Friend is married to Maxine G. Friend and is the father of three and the grandfather of six. Deacon Friend was ordained in the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, in May 1994. He received an Associate's Degree from Cuyahoga Community College and a Bachelor's Degree in Religious Studies from Ursuline College, where he is currently a graduate student.

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