This article was published in the Winter 2014 of The Pelican, the newsletter of North Coast Spirit TEC (Teens Encounter Christ). I was thinking about how grateful I am for the work of my intern, Jess, and I thought it was appropriate to share this article with everyone else. Thank you Jess for your endless love and support. If you are interested in making a retreat with TEC, visit for more information.

Jess Yurick (left) with Rachel Burkey

This past year I’ve been blessed to be working with one TECs finest leaders, Jess Yurick. Since September, Jess has been volunteering hours and hours of her time to St. Ambrose Parish as the “Youth Ministry Intern.” I can honestly say that I don’t know where our youth ministry program would be without her. She has dedicated countless hours creating spreadsheets, logging attendance, organizing permission forms, volunteers, and facilitating retreats. With the amount of work she has done, I could never ever repay her for all she has done for our teens.

Sometimes I take a step back and ask myself: What inspires someone to be so dedicated to spreadsheets, permission forms, and parent phone calls? The answer is Jesus. Jess Yurick is so profoundly, head-over-heels in love with Jesus and it is down right contagious. Sometimes parish ministry can get the best of you. You get so lost in the logistics and details that you forget the beautiful work that you’re engaged in. Jess’ simple enthusiasm never failed to remind me of the bigger mission of all our work. She has been one of my biggest blessings and has also been one the biggest blessings to our TEC community.

One of the most inspiring parts of Jess’ witness is her aching desire to do whatever God wants her to do. Jess’ calendar is booked. But it is a calendar that she has booked for the Lord. Whether its working in the Youth Ministry office, teaching PSR, teaching confirmation prep, leading a TEC, or going to Eucharistic Adoration–Jess listens
and follows the Lord’s call. I may not be sure of where exactly God will lead her in the future but I do know that Jess is listening and doing her best to serve the Lord.

So thank you Jess Yurick. I’m so blessed to know you and work at your side. You are an authentic disciple of Jesus and I hope I can live more like you. My continued prayer is that you continue to grow closer to Jesus, our God and lover. You are an inspiration for all of us.


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