Acquire the Fire Concerns


I don’t know if this is the appropriate forum, but, here it goes. My dad’s former parish is sponsoring a trip to San Antonio, Texas to attend the Acquire the Fire Conference for youth to be held on the first weekend of Lent. Here is how it is billed in the bulletin:

Acquire the Fire 2008-90

Here Comes Trouble: What if Jesus walked the Earth Today?
ATF has existed for 17 years as a catalyst to youth ministries’ growth and discipleship. Through a life-changing weekend experience, teens and youth workers are inspired in their faith to ignite a generation for Christ.

ATF comes to the San Antonio Freeman Coliseum February 27-28, 2009. Please call XXX to reserve your spot if you want to attend with St. X’s Xodus Youth Ministry.

There is nothing indicating that this group is, from what I understand, Protestant Evangelical. Furthermore, there are also no provisions made for the kids to attend Mass that weekend.

I am not against ecumenism; however, the kids do not have the spiritual maturity to be able to discern the correct teachings of the Church. Someone told me that this was basically a Christian rock concert event. Nonetheless, I do have my suspicions.


I’d be concerned too. Children should not be a vehicle for ecumenism. There is absolutely no excuse for their attendance at an evangelical rock concert, which is geared to proselytizing. What in the world are the parish priest and youth director thinking? Do they WANT to lead Catholic youth astray??

I’ve noticed since crossing the Tiber that the ones most eager to accuse someone of being “anti-ecumenical” are fellow Catholics. Personally, I didn’t go through hell and high water to become a Catholic just so I can be told that it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Argh. I’m starting to see red.


I submitted the bulletin announcement (hard copy so that they would know that this was a real announcement) to the Chancery and I also emailed it to the chancellor. She thanked me and is in the process of having the interim youth ministry coordinator check it out.

I also called the Archdiocese of San Antonio and my suspicions were confirmed. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why the pastor, who has an STD in Liturgy and brags about how close he and Pope John Paul II were (to the point of concelebrating Mass together whenever the former was in Rome), could subject the parish youth to something like this.

The interim diocesan youth ministry coordinator told me that he had warned the person handling this issue in the parish that Acquire the FIre was not in line with Church teaching. In fact, the former diocesan director of youth ministry had the same conversation. I do not know what is going to happen, but, I hope that the person who had this idea comes to his senses.


My step-daughter attended a program by this name. It was definitely evangelical (she’s an Independent Baptist). You are right to be concerned.


You go Benedictgal!


do some checking with the YM Young adult ministry office of the AD of SA, they do offer a very excellent youth conference each spring themselves, which is highly orthodox and an excellent experience, make sure this pastor is not confusing two events around the same time.


It is basically a Christian rock concert with a few additive afterwords. I haven’t went to one but several of my high school classmates were excused for the day to go there back when I was in school. If you have some suspicions, don’t send them


when i was younger (i’m now in my late 20’s), i attended these acquire the fire events and other programs that its parent, Teen Mania, has hosted. they are built around extremist evangelical ideas of christianity and are filled with political messages. now, after becoming older and looking back on the experiences, i realize how immature i was and how quick i was to buy into the luring and attractive messages they were selling. they basically tell youth that if you don’t believe exactly what they believe, then you’re not really a christian. i would never recommend someone to attend their programs unless they were just curious about learning more about this manipulative and judging ministry.

i will say that i am grateful for the experiences Teen Mania has provided me and the friends i’ve met through working with them, but when i failed to meet the standards this ministry presented to me when i was a teenager and a young adult, i was full of confused feelings that God was angry with me and that i wasn’t actually “saved.”

if i were a parent, i wouldn’t allow my children to attend anything to do with Teen Mania. and i will say that it is more than just a christian rock concert… they’re great at marketing to kids with flashy media and always follow up every overly-emotional talk with a call for the attendants to run up to the stage and “recommit their lives to christ” as the music swells and the other teens begin to cry, realizing how ‘sinful’ their lives are.

just my two cents speaking from years of experience with this organization. i encourage all of the rightly concerned parents to look into Teen Mania’s web site to get a better idea of what this group is really about.


Thank you. The attorney handling the youth program in the parish in question is still bent on taking the kids to the event, even though I believe that the Chancellor has spoken against the idea.

From what I was told about the movement, those Catholic kids who had gone had to undergo weeks of “unpacking” becasue of what they experienced, not unlike what you described.

The attorney, who thinks he has a vocation to the priesthood, will not, in the bulletin announcements, note that this is not a Catholic event and he is even encouraging the parents to attend. The parents also lack sufficient catechesis to make the right choice. I do believe, in my honest opinion, that he is leading these folks down the wrong road. :mad:


benedictgal - please keep us all updated on the developments!

also, if you (or anyone at the parish) have any specific questions about this ministry, please feel free to ask me - i know it pretty well and i’m happy to give you or anyone else information so you can prepare beforehand. good luck!


AND - i remember the leader once saying that he believes only 4% of americans are ‘christian.’ and i can assure you that this tiny number doesn’t include Catholics (or most protestants either)! but what it does include are fellow fundamental evangelical christians. you might want to do a youtube search to find clips of Acquire the Fire or Battle Cry events to show to those who are in support of taking the youth there.

closed #12

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