Friday, August 27, 2004

Letter from a "Homeboy"

My eldest daughter has a "Mary is My Home Girl" t-shirt.

When she told me about it, I questioned the propriety.

But, in thinking it over, I realized it's no different than singing "What a friend we have in Jesus." Homeboy/homegirl is just a currently popular way of saying "good and valued friend."

And, I know my daughter. She is a serious Christian and has a real devotion to the Mother of God. She is part of a great fulfillment of St. Gabriel's prophecy that all generations would call St. Mary the Virgin blessed.

When such t-shirts are worn for secular or profane reasons, they give those of us who are Christians a great opening to share our Faith. When those of us who Christians wear such shirts, they give others an opening to allow us to give an account of our Faith.

Though the phraseology is not what I would have chosen, I see no problem with the thought.

I am far less concerned about kids' t-shirts than I am about the myriad "Christian leaders" who have deconstructed and continue to deconstruct Christ's Holy Faith.

By the way, I think your youth minister has the right idea--de-emphasizing "youth" and emphasizing the Christian life of the parish at large. That, historically, has been the Catholic way, which is why Catholics today are so bad at "youth ministry," which, is essentially a protestant invention.

Be warned, though, that unless your parents are the types that will require their older children to attend church even when they don't want to, that those youth may be siphoned off into "good" youth groups that go bowling a lot. Growing up, I saw many Methodist kids go to the Baptist Training Union for that reason, and, today, I see many Catholic kids uninvolved because their parents don't want to make decisions for them.

There are no youth groups in the New Testament that I can find. Otherwise, that kid in Acts would have been playing paintball instead of falling asleep and out the window during St. Paul's long-winded, and, in all probability, somewhat tiresome, sermon that hot summer night.

Your homeboy,


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