Forming the “Martyrs of the Third Millennium”
In 1989, 500,000 young people from around the world gathered in Spain for World Youth Day. The world was stunned. Why had these young people come to see this Pope? What could have attracted them? A journalist asked the Holy Father how he had gotten the idea for World Youth Day. What had he come to see? His response was astonishing: “I have come to greet the martyrs of the third millennium.”
The Eagle Eye School of Evangelization draws its inspiration from this vision of young people. In a special way, it desires to make the summons to a New Evangelization issued by Pope Paul VI in his 1975 encyclical letter On Evangelization in the Modern World a reality for men and women of today. Through an incessant effort of conversion to Christ, the participants will gain the zeal and intelligence necessary to pass on the Church’s ancient Faith to modern man by modern means.
To this end, the School of Evangelization will strive to form young disciples of Christ, ready to spread the Gospel:
- By plunging them in a direct and intimate knowledge of the Person of Christ through daily silent prayer, Lectio Divina, Theological and Philosophical study, formation in the treasures of our Christian spiritual heritage, and a life lived in small community with their peers.
- By directly engaging them in the concrete work of the New Evangelization. Each participant will be entrusted with a specific opportunity for evangelization (leading Holy Hours, Children’s Adoration, organizing a teen pilgrimage to World Youth Day, Christian book publishing, etc.)
- By allowing them to bear witness to others through learning how to organize and lead retreats for Confirmation-age and teenage groups throughout the Diocese of Peoria.
- By providing a real formation in knowledge of the arts and culture – so necessary in order to reach modern man – through classes, cultural events, and weekly exposure to various arts and artists.
- By offering the opportunity to learn necessary skills for Youth Ministry (small group work, how to bear responsibility for others, helping teens in difficulty, etc.), public speaking, and logistics management.
The Eagle Eye School of Evangelization will form the young people according to the Word of God as held by the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church and expressed by the Church Fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, and lived according to the particular charism of the Congregation of St. John. This particular charism was given to the Church through the life and writings of its founder, Father Marie Dominique Philippe, O.P.
How Will This Happen?
Students enrolled in the School of Evangelization choose to live together within the context of the life of the Brothers and Sisters of St. John. Two Brothers in particular will work directly with the students, effectively providing them with the formation they seek. Space is available to up to four men and four women, who will receive the very best formation which the Brothers and Sisters can offer at the service of the New Evangelization.
Living together, working together, praying together, these young people will form a community of friends of Jesus, earnestly seeking to make him known and loved, like the first Christians. They will live a common life focused on hearing Christ’s cry of thirst so as to make known his merciful love in the modern world.
The students will be fully integrated into the life of the liturgical prayer of the Community, and agree to attend, to the extent possible for the good of each: daily Mass, Adoration, and the Liturgical Offices prayed by the Community.
Typically, our young men and women will attend the daily Liturgical Offices of the Brothers and Sisters (respectively). On Major Feast Days it may be possible to have a common celebration of the Office.
Also, there will be many opportunities for the students to organize various moments of prayer together to strengthen the bonds of Charity among them.
Twice a week (in the evenings, after dinner), a Brother will offer reflections on the spiritual life (prayer, the virtues, the Sacraments, etc.) in order to provide a spiritual formation truly grounded in revealed truth and presented according to a theological vision which assumes the riches of the Church’s spiritual patrimony and the charism proper to the Community.
Each student will have the opportunity to ask a particular Brother or Sister to accompany him in the personal questions he may encounter in his prayer life, if he so desires.
Philosophy and Theology Classes
All students will attend as many of the daily classes offered to the Brothers as possible according to the capacities of each. An effort will be made to have at least two classes for them per day alongside the novices of the Community. When this is not offered for the novices, it is possible that the Brothers will offer classes especially for them, such as: classes on the Catechism, Church History, the writings of the Saints, French, etc. In addition, regular sessions and conferences on specific Theological or Philosophical problems will be offered, according to the academic program offered for the Brothers and Sisters in formation with the Community of St. John.
Lectio Divina (Reading the Word of God)
All of the intellectual formation the students will receive is to help them better understand and live the Truth contained in the Bible. To help them, the Brothers and Sisters will teach them both to read the Bible alone and to study it together in small groups. Weekly small group Bible sharing will also be lead by the Brothers and Sisters.
Formation for Evangelization – 3 – 4 days per week
To the degree necessary – although always leaving place for at least one day of manual chores – each participant may spend his afternoon preparing for the various apostolates that will be confided to him. This is intended to help him receive a truly contemplative formation in his apostolic endeavors – giving him the experience of learning how to ground the real stresses and challenges the work of evangelization in a true life of Charity. As much as possible, this preparation will be done with other members of the School, in order to allow for the fullest possible measure of Charity and cooperation.
The Apostolate at Princeville
Many opportunities for evangelization already exist in Princeville. Participants will join with the apostolates already done at the Priory: helping make high-quality recordings of talks, sessions, retreats; helping lead groups of Children’s Adoration; planning Adoration prayer services for retreats and sessions given at the Priory; helping with the various tasks (cooking, making the beds, cleaning) involved in welcoming large groups; preparing slideshows, DVD’s, and PowerPoint presentations for uses with various groups, etc.
Formation for Youth Ministry
Participants will receive formation in the various skills needed in youth ministry: how to lead small group work; computer skills (making flyers, updating websites, etc.); how to effectively exercise authority; icebreakers and games, etc. This will enable them to participate as chaperones and leaders in future youth ministry positions. This formation will be given from time to time by specific afternoon workshops consecrated to specific skills. In conjunction with the Brothers, laymen with competence in the areas in question may give these workshops– e.g. basic accounting; basic computer skills; child pedagogy, etc. In addition, the students will also be able to learn through hands-on experience by giving retreats to confirmation groups throughout the year.
The Saint John Summer YouthFest and World Youth Day Preparation
Students will engage in the various dimensions of planning and bringing about the Summer YouthFest for between 200 and 300 youth – registration, creating flyers, effective advertising, coordinating the various practical elements implied in setting up and breaking down, etc. Also, students will actively help World Youth Day preparations – registration, communications, mailings, organizing monthly retreats, maintaining contacts, etc.
The School Has Needs, Too!
The School is starting as an act of Faith in God and His Providence. We stand in certain and rapidly-desperate need of: computers, computer software, office equipment, and many other things you may well imagine. All donations are gratefully accepted!
Rooms and practicalities
Male students will be able to stay in individual rooms in the Priory; whereas female students will be able to share their rooms in four-person apartment space (with kitchenette, shower, and living space). This apartment is already furnished with couches dressers, desks, bunk beds, a refrigerator, microwave and table settings for eight. A washer and dryer will be available for the students whenever needed. Although participants will mostly use the cars of the Community, they may bring and use their own cars, provided they are willing to share them with others who may need to use them.
In general, the young men will eat meals prepared by the Brothers with the Brothers, and the young women will eat meals prepared by the Sisters together in the Guesthouse. The young men will have a table reading every day at lunch with the Brothers, and the young women will either listen to a spiritual cassette in the apartment or talk freely, as they decide to do on a monthly basis. Three evenings per week, however, the young men and young women can enjoy a fraternal dinner together in the apartment during which they may speak freely, and, one additional night per week they will enjoy a fraternal meal as part of a longer, more festive evening.
The principal education of the school is an education in fraternal Charity — accepting and gradually choosing one another on behalf of Christ.
One day per month, the whole school will enjoy an outing together with one or two Brothers.
One weekend per month will be considered “personal time” for the participants – they may leave for the weekend, or have a day with more time for rest, study, sports, etc.
Every week, there will be a meeting to plan out the next week’s activities.
Also, there will be regular meetings to share openly with one another about the life in community and how to improve it.
Relation to the Community
The Eagle Eye School of Evangelization rests upon the authority and guidance of the Brothers of Saint John, but it cannot be effective without the willing cooperation of those involved. Care will be taken to only accept as participants in the school, those young people who really desire to be full members of it, are actually capable of living out what is asked of them, and commit to it fully. Even though the School of Evangelization is an excellent experience of the life lived by the Brothers and Sisters, it is not intended as a preparation for religious life. All participants are free to choose their path as they discern God’s call in their lives.
All students must have health insurance, dental insurance, and car insurance (if they drive). They will be expected to pay for this on their own, in full. In addition, each student will be asked to contribute $250 per month to the Brothers or Sisters for the general costs of the daily living in the program – outings, food, photocopies, electricity, and the costs associated with the classes, the recordings, etc.
In order to keep their hearts free to experience the love of Christ in all its power, the participants will voluntarily commit themselves to a non-dating policy for the course of the session.
For More information
or if you have Questions, please contact us: Father Nathan Cromly, CSJ St. Joseph’s Priory 11223 West Legion Hall Road Princeville, Illinois 61559 (309) 385-1193 email@example.com
Eagle Eye is entirely consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Totus Tuus, Maria!
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