"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." - Revelation 21:1.2
Question: Why would the end times and the connection of a new Heaven and earth be depicted as a city?
We know that in the beginning the perfect place was Eden, where Heaven and Earth met beautifully and this is to described to us as a garden. However as we follow through scripture time and time again, it seems that when Heaven and Earth meet again it will be a City.
A City is a place where all kinds of people meet, live and dwell. It contains all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities. It is the place where things move at a quicker pace, and there is so much more to do and see. A city has all kinds of smells, and sounds, and is filled with a constant moving of life. Cities are cultivated by us, and built up big and strong.... The weak seem to not be able to survive in the city.
Somehow however in ministry, it seems that our urban areas all across the country are frowned upon and most in leadership are afraid to engage. Perhaps because cities are dirty, and no matter where you come from, or what you have you will always be seen on the same level. And maybe it is because in places especially like my city New York, there is no prediction of what can come next.
Pope Francis back in 2015 had this to say ....
"Living in a big city is not always easy. A multicultural context presents many complex challenges. Yet big cities are a reminder of the hidden riches present in our world: in the diversity of its cultures, traditions and historical experiences. In the variety of its languages, costumes and cuisine. Big cities bring together all the different ways which we human beings have discovered to express the meaning of life, wherever we may be....."
Whatever the case is Lord, I love my city. I love the people. I love the battle. I love the constant speed and movement. Help me Father to be the light of your presence dwelling here in these streets leading all back to you. Jesus this is your place. If it's your will, make me your Saint of this city. Amen.
- The Symbol
- All is Love
There are many times over the years I have been criticized for my actions and how I approach all that I do. These things have been as severe as rumors spread about my intentions, and even internet threats.
If I had sought my own glory or did this for any kind of acclaim, "Catholic Hip Hop" would not be my approach... For most Catholics I have encountered(especially in leadership roles), they would argue that Hip Hop is "inappropriate" and "not proper" in everything from its style of dress, to the language, etc. For most who would consider themselves "Hip Hop", the church "limits people" and "judges".
The truth is... I catch heat from both sides. I love my culture, and the people in it, but more importantly I love God, and all that I do is to bring souls to Heaven. Whatever it takes(obviously, with it being morally just) it is to be a Saint... Nothing less.
In the words of the Founder of the Idente Missionaries, Fernando Rielo . . .
"I promise you Lord, to live and transmit the Gospel with the sacrifice of my life and my reputation; faithful to the greatest testimony of love ... To die for you."
- The Symbol
- All is Love
Creating art... music; film; dance; etc. with the young people is what I was put here to do. Look at what these young people in Queens are creating and subscribe to their channel.
- The Symbol
- All is Love
November 18th, 2017
Sacred Heart Church
215-35 38th ave.
Bayside, Queens, New York 11361
9AM - 6PM (Ending with vigil mass)
"Unplugged" Youth Rally
A full day gathering for teens with live performances, skits, music, and electrifying talks that will energize your teen’s faith in a way that is relevant to their daily lives.
- Jesus and the Gospel Message
- Dignity of the Human Person
- Theology Of the Body
- Prayer and Worship
- Vocation, calling, and mission
We invite you and your young people ages starting in the 7th grade through High School, to join us, get fired up, and have your youth get “plugged back in” to the Church and to our faith.
Registration is $15 per person, and includes lunch and t-shirt. Registration closes October 24th, 2017
To register, send email with your name, the amount of people coming with your group and their t-shirt sizes. You will then be sent an invoice on how to make payment as well as how to submit permission forms.
For more info:
- The Symbol
- All is Love
(Click the above image to go to the link from the original post from the Office of Youth Ministry)
Creating Catechetical Moments by Brandon Morel
It was a Sunday morning, and my wife had gotten up to make a big breakfast. On our table we had, eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit and the only thing for me to wait on was for the coffee pot to finish. It was at this time that my 8 year old son Christian randomly begins to ask questions about death.
What could have been an awkward topic was actually one that made a father like me proud. On his own he began asking about the intricacies of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Just the night before during our prayer time and scripture reading, we read about the Kingdom of Heaven. This conversation must have stayed with him overnight and compelled him to want to explore a little more. I explained to him the difference between the three spaces, and how we get there, as well as the need to pray for the souls in purgatory, and the answers seem to have been good enough for his questions. Later on at Mass, I ended up with another proud moment when after receiving Holy Communion he knelt to pray and I overheard him say “Jesus, I want to pray now for the souls in Purgatory.” Not only did he explore his faith, but immediately put it into practice in a way that an 8 year old could.
Working in Youth Ministry has us always yearning to create these sorts of moments, not only with our friends and family, but especially with the young church we serve. The question is how? Sometimes it seems that many of our youth ministry programs are limited to a once a week gathering that does not develop into further dialogue throughout the week. In this case with my son, he was able to ask his questions because of our relationship. I can think of many instances where this has happened with teens and with their parents over the years.
In the Gospel story of the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), Jesus meets two of his disciples and walks with them for miles, hearing their concerns, teaching, and then sharing a meal with them. Youth ministry should very much look like this – building relationships with the young people and families that we serve. We must walk with them in their daily lives and ultimately in the end bring them back to the “breaking of the bread” or the Eucharist.
My ministry has 2 parts that I like to call “The Lounge” and “The Session”. The lounge is simply a place where teens can “hang out”, playing video games, doing homework, creating art, and just having a safe space to be with friends. It is during this time that I am able to intentionally sit with them and ask questions about their lives to build a bond deeper than a large group setting. The “Session” is where we directly teach, with topics, scripture, the lives of the saints, and sections from the Catechism. It is a program of talks, videos, music, prayer, and small group discussions that form the faith weekly. The two aspects work hand in hand to not only form in the faith but also create relational bonds.
Another thing I have done is asking my leaders/core members to each pick 2 students (and their families) that they will develop a deeper relationship with. Outside of “youth group” they are to reach out once or twice a week just to check-in with these young people and their families. Whether it is something serious like a parent in the hospital, or something simple like asking who won their soccer game, it creates a continuous bond that goes beyond the “program” youth ministry sometimes gets boxed into. In the past, I have attended kids’ basketball games and have been invited by families to their daughter’s Quinceañera. I have been to school plays, and recitals, and have written reference letters for jobs/colleges for teens. One of the parents of one of the teens was even the DJ at my wedding. It is during these encounters where some of the best teaching moments have occurred - outside of “youth group.” Of course this requires an extra time commitment, which is why I ask the leaders to only choose 2 teens.
For me, as an Idente Missionary, I am consistently challenged by my “Vow of Cathedra” and “Apostolic Vow.” One, to defend the Church or the Chair of Peter. And two, to consistently seek to be an apostle wherever I go. The two go together, as I must continuously teach and be formed in my faith in order to defend it, and also develop relationships in order to move the Gospel forward in today’s world. The key is that those we serve not only see us as “teachers” but as members of the family who stay rooted in their faith always. When they are able to witness our own moments of struggles and our perseverance in Christ, they will be more likely to come to us with their own questions and we can answer them in a way that is natural and not forced. But this only comes from building a relationship of trust.
I end this simply with a prayer that as we continue to bring souls to heaven with our work, we say yes to the graces necessary to be Saints and transmit that sanctity to all who we encounter; teaching the fullness of truth in Christ and his church. With the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, St. Joseph, and our guardian angels I pray for the young church of New York in Jesus name. Amen.
- The Symbol
- All is Love
I welcome you
When you wake
I see you during the days
And thought it seems
I depart at night
I leave reflection of myself
For you to see through those
Darkest of times
I blind you
When you least expect it
You hate me
Yet love me
You avoid eye contact
I hear you every day conversations
Even if you think I don't
I will continue to provide warmth
In the cold
I will never leave your side.
Life wouldn't be without me
I am everywhere
Especially within you
Please let me shine.
The Symbol's MUSIC :
These are my thoughts . . . My Beliefs . . . My Actions . . . Everything I do. This is the documentation of my quest towards creating more unity in the community by authentic #LOVE.
This blog was started at:
and continued at:
But now, as I have matured in my understanding as "The Symbol" and no longer Brandon Feel-X Morel you can continue my journey with me here.
(click above images to get download link)