Blog/CYM Blog

One Family, Many Parts

This year, the Life Teen movement is made up of 1753 parishes in 28 countries. How could one possibly feel at home in so many different locations?

As a U.S. Military Brat (one who grew up as a son or daughter of a military parent, a term of endearment, really), we have a phrase “Home is Where the Heart is.” Truly, this is what it is like to describe the Life Teen movement. The Life Teen family.

Although spread literally around the world, no matter where you go, United States, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, or on a U.S. Military Instillation, you feel a sense that you are “home.”

The hospitality, joy, and love for Mary and the Eucharist are evident in the teens, the priests, and the youth leaders.

On my recent journey to support the annual Life Teen training, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Cape Town Youth Chaplaincy Office, I encountered this same sense of family. Participants from all over South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Botswana gathered to learn from one another. Gaining wisdom on how, together, we can reach and bring our young people in Africa closer to Christ.

Laughter, smiles, radiant joy, and prayer are all words to capture the community of believers gathered with one purpose — to lead teens closer to Christ. Not because we are talented or have it all together, but because we have first encountered our risen Lord and can do nothing but say yes to His calling, for in Christ we are truly at home.

Do we bring this same sense of “home” to the youth of our town? Not just to the ones at our weekly youth gatherings, but to all the teens in our city?

How can we more intentionally bring the joy of the cross and Resurrection to our community? To bring reconciliation to those whom we need to forgive or to ask for forgiveness. To show those who desperately need to know the love of God — the lonely, lost, and marginalized.

“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out the workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).

May our daily “yes” radically follow our risen Lord out onto the water for the sake of the Gospel, for we are one body with many parts.

Welcome home.

About the Author

Marlo Dowdy

After receiving first communion at a Life Teen parish, Marlo hasn't looked back as she enjoys sharing the movement of Life Teen with all whom she encounters. Marlo focuses on serving parishes outside the United States and US Military Installations. She served as a missionary for 5 1/2 years overseas in Heidelberg, Germany ministering to American military youth and families stationed in Europe. As a military brat Marlo enjoys experiencing new things and different cultures. "Life Teen transformed me as an elementary student. Where ever my Dad was stationed with the US Army, we couldn't wait to share Life Teen with other military families."