Tools for Pushing Through the Post-Frassati Blues
I'm not sure about you, but the days immediately following Frassati Fest have been a little rough for me. After all the joys of our weekend Kalahari "mountaintop" experience, my descent back down to my day-to-day life has been pretty rocky - much more like a "Princess Bride"-esque tumble than a graceful hike. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation catching up to me or the alarmingly high number of unread e-mails in my inbox. Maybe it's withdrawal after setting a personal caffeine record on Sunday, except, perhaps, for day 5 of LBH, or that one time in middle school when my friends and I thought it would be cool to drink an entire case of Mountain Dew. Maybe it's even some level of spiritual attack. After all, I imagine that nothing angers Satan more than hundreds of people pouring their heart out for God at an event like Frassati Fest, and he probably wants nothing more than to knock us all back a few steps from our journey towards holiness! Old habits call out to us, our dirty laundry piles grow steeper, and the spiritual high of the weekend begins to fade as we settle back into the busyness of our daily lives. Truly, the struggle is real!
I pray that your past couple of days have been much more peaceful and fruitful than mine, but if you find yourself feeling the post-Frassati blues, you're not alone! God's goodness and grace will prevail. Keep taking the time to process and to recover from the weekend, and keep your eyes fixed on the bigger picture that God is growing in your heart, in the teens who gathered this weekend, in our community, and in our world. Keep rising up to meet the challenges around you, trusting that beautiful seeds of faith have been planted. Whenever you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself that all things are possible through Christ!
As you take this time to transition back into your daily life, keep in mind that it's equally challenging (perhaps even more so) for our youth to make this transition and to integrate the Frassati experience into their usual routines. This week is a critical time for us to reach out in an intentional way to our teens, and to invite them into opportunities to continue growing in faith in the year ahead.
Here are some concrete tips on how you can help cement the good work God did in the hearts of our teens in the days, weeks, and months ahead! I'm not saying you should do each and every item I list below, but please prayerfully consider trying at least one or two suggestions from each “To Do” list.
TO DO TODAY
Send your teens a message!
This can be a quick text, e-mail, or Facebook message, but let your teens know that you're thinking of them and praying for them.
Write them all Thank You cards.
There's nothing like the joy of receiving a handwritten note or card in the mail. Even if you had twenty teens attend, take time to send a follow-up card to each one. It will mean the world to your teens, and be well worth the sore hand!
Fill in the teens' parents!
I know we love our teens with all our hearts, but let's be honest: communication is not always their strength. Oftentimes the beautiful moments that we, as adult leaders, are privileged to witness at Frassati Fest get lost in translation when parents ask their teens about the weekend. So send a message to parents sharing the impact moments you witnessed this weekend! Encourage them to affirm their teens and to keep asking follow-up questions this week.
Tell the stories.
Even beyond filling in the teens’ parents, this is a prime moment to share the stories from this weekend with your parish community. Consider posting to your parish’s Facebook page, or writing a summary for the bulletin/newsletter. Share the good news and Spirit-filled moments you witnessed this weekend!
TO DO THIS WEEK
Schedule a casual coffee shop or Culver's catch-up.
It doesn't need to be anything fancy - just an hour where teens can stop in to have a sweet treat and catch up with you and with one another. We want to help our teens stay connected to this faith community as much as possible, and the sooner we can offer a mini-reunion, the better.
Invite them to Mass with you.
If you're going to be at a particular Mass this weekend, let your teens know! Invite them to come sit together with you. Again, this week is a critical window of time for us to keep our teens connected to the community they encountered at Frassati Fest. So invite them to join you at Mass or a Holy Hour, and help keep them connected to one another (and especially to the source and summit of our faith).
Post to social media!
The teens love to see photos of themselves and their friends, and will love seeing some latergrams from the weekend. Post those memories! The more inside jokes, and the more ridiculous hashtags, the better!
Request their feedback.
While it's still fresh in their minds and hearts, ask if any of your teens are willing to write even a few short sentences on their experience, or to speak about Frassati Fest at your parish’s faith formation classes. Their words can often have a much further reach and deeper impact on their peers than ours do, so ask them to be witnesses to the teens of your parish.
Some potential questions to ask your teens when you see them: What was the high point of the weekend for you? Who is one person who inspired you at Frassati Fest, and why? What is one concrete thing that you are doing differently this week because of your experience there? (If they don’t have one, challenge them to think of one!
TO DO IN THE MONTHS AHEAD
Invite teens to join the Frassati Planning Team!
Adopting a leadership role is one of the best ways we can empower our youth to take ownership of their faith for the long run. We have some incredible opportunities for youth formation in our Diocese, and we would love for more teens to be part of them! Keep reminding them of the opportunities available to them, both at your parish and at the Diocesan level, and be persistent with your invitations.
Invite teens to LBH or NCYC!
Some of the teens may not be ready to take the plunge of taking on a leadership role, so for them, I’d recommend offering a glimpse at some future “mountaintop” experiences to look forward to in the months ahead. Invite them to register for a Love Begins Here mission trip, or to consider attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis in November! Always remind them of the next opportunities on the horizon.
Form a Small Faith Group.
Invite your teens to join a small faith group so that they can continue to grow in discipleship. The more personal the invitation, the better! Reach out in particular to those teens who stood out as leaders at Frassati Fest, and who seem ready to dive deeper into their faith.
Keep following up and keep on praying!
Now is a good time to jot down a few of your own thoughts from the weekend, including quotes or Scripture verses that stood out to you from the talks. In the next few months, refer back to these lessons from Frassati Fest at youth events/retreats/gatherings. Continue to reach out to the teens who attended in an intentional way, and keep them in your prayers!
Thank you all for giving so freely of your time, your sleep, and your love to the teens of our diocese! It’s such an honor to be part of this community, and I’m in awe of the incredible work that God is doing through your open hearts. You will continue to remain in my prayers, and those of the entire Frassati Fest Planning Team, in the months ahead – may God bless you all!
Sarah King | Youth Minister, St. Albert the Great - Sun Prairie
(To learn more about Frassati Fest from the perspective of the teens, check out the blog post the Emcees wrote this week!)