Yesterday afternoon, I was blessed to attend a gathering out in Langley hosted by my good friend Kathleen. It was a great day of fellowship under the warm sun, as over 50 people (ranging from the age of 13 months-old to 50-something years-old) ate, drank, laughed, sang songs, and swam.
I knew the majority of attendees through youth and young adult ministry in the archdiocese. We had a wonderful afternoon of connecting and catching up. Topics ranged from my missing family to my concussion to what they had been doing all summer to what kind of jump off the diving board makes the biggest splash.
I’m not sure how many of them knew (or cared) that I was going to be there as many of them seemed pleasantly surprised when I arrived. Or at least they did a great job in faking it.
It was 12 years ago today, on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 that I replaced Father (now Bishop) Mark Hagemoen as the Director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. I was excitable, passionate, and eager to learn. And I had no idea what the Lord had in store for me.
As an aside, I can’t really remember why I started on a Tuesday and not the Monday prior. Maybe it had to do with my former employer PricewaterhouseCoopers. Or perhaps it had to do with staffing issues at the Archdiocese. But I digress.
I inherited a staff consisting of Gerard Garcia, Pat Gillespie, Analyn Perez, and Rob Mascitti. We quickly hit it off, as I knew all of them reasonably well – and in Gerard’s case, very well – through my involvement with the archdiocese while I was serving as the parish youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul Parish in Richmond.
What impressed me right away was the dedication and commitment that the staff had to their work and their ministry. It truly was a dream job to be paid to do what I loved: youth ministry!