Many people think that youth ministry is “just” Religious Education (Catechism, CCD, Formation, or whatever you want to call it) but actually Youth Ministry is much more than preparation of a Sacrament. Over the next few weeks we will print our goals and objectives for working with teens in the parish.
Goal 1: Empowerment -- To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
Goal 2: Participation -- To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community.
Goal 3: Growth -- To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
Eight Components of a Comprehensive Youth Ministry Program outlined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
The ministry of Community Life builds an environment of love,
support, appreciation for diversity, and acceptance that models
Catholic principals. It develops meaningful relationships; and
nurtures Catholic faith.
● Promotes and engages young people in the life, activities, and
ministries of the parish in meaningful and age-appropriate ways.
● Provides avenues for young people to participate as members
of their faith community.
● Guide’s young people in developing healthy perspective of joys
and pains of relationships and skills that promotes positive and
healthy interaction. What can the parish community do to support
our youth? Be models of caring adults who accept teens who
might be “just a little different” in their style of hair or dress.
Perhaps remembering how you might have dressed back in your
“day”. A parish picnic might not be as appealing to teens as it is to
Social, Justice & Service,
● Our faith calls us to work for justice and serve those in need.
● The ministry of Justice & Service empowers young people to
work for justice by concrete efforts to address the causes of human
suffering; and infuses the concepts of justice, peace, and human
dignity into all areas of our youth ministry efforts.
What can the parish community do to support our teens in the
area of Justice and Service? Be aware of the Catholic Social
Teachings of the Catholic Church. Many of the teachings are
counter cultural and we sometimes ignore the teachings we don’t
like…and turn to the service (or charity) part of Justice and Service.
Our teens are involved in many aspects of this ministry. Justice
and Service is more than collecting food and giving away clothes
we don’t like anymore.
● The ministry of Evangelization is the energizing core of all ministry
with young people. All of the relationships, ministry components,
and programs must proclaim their faith. They must invite young
people into a deeper relationship with our Lord and empower them to live as disciples.
Evangelization of our young people includes:
● Witnessing our faith in all aspects of OUR lives – offering ourselves
and our parish community as living models of the Christian faith in practice.
● Reaching out to young people by meeting them in their various life
situations, building relationships, providing healing care and
concern, offering genuine responses to their needs and inviting them
into a deeper relationship with our community and our Lord.
● Invites young people personally into the life and mission of our
faith community so that they may experience the support, nurture
and care necessary to live as Christians.
● Challenges young people to follow Jesus in a life of discipleship,
shaping their lives in the vision, values and teachings of Jesus and
living His mission throughout their daily lives.
● Calls young people to evangelize to other young people, their
families and communities.
What can the parish community do to help support our teens in
the area of Evangelization? Become an evangelizer! Don’t sit back
and complain about things, be an agent of hope and spread the
“Good News” of Jesus Christ and promote the parish.
● The ministry of Leadership Development calls forth, affirms,
and empowers the diverse gifts, talents, and abilities of adults
and young people in our faith community. Leaders must be
trained and encouraged. To do this we must have a wide diversity
of ADULT AND YOUTH leaders in a variety of roles.
● The ministry of Leadership Development empowers all young
people for leadership and ministry with their peers-in schools,
parishes, and civic communities.
● We affirm and support them by giving youth opportunities where
they can contribute.
What can the parish community do to help with Leadership Development?
Model good leadership and offer your skills to the
ministry whatever they may be. Help out financially with the festivals
and national conferences so our youth can attend no matter
what their family’s financial state is like.
The Ministry of Pastoral Care is a compassionate presence
in imitation of Jesus’ care of people, especially those who are hurting and in need.
● Collaborates with the wider community in providing
direct support or aid to the community and especially to
youth at risk in the form of programs, services, service
projects, and counseling.
● The Ministry of Pastoral Care develops life skills of
adolescents, such as relationship building, assertiveness’,
nonviolent conflict resolution, decision-making, and planning.
● Guide’s young people in making important life decisions.
● Fosters spiritual development of young people.
● Creates network of care and support for young people.
● Strengthens family life by assisting families to improve
family skills such as communication, decision-making,
problem solving, and reconciliation.
● Provides and connects adolescents and families to
support services, referral resources, and self help groups
to promote healing during times of loss, sudden change,
unexpected crisis, and problems, personal or family transitions.
Prayer & Worship,
● The ministry of Prayer and Worship celebrates and deepens
young people’s faith. Mass, prayer services, praying and more
awakens their awareness of the spirit at work in their lives;
incorporates young people more fully into the sacramental life of
The ministry of Prayer and Worship...
● Promotes participation of youth in liturgy.
● Provides opportunities for creative prayer with young people
in peer, family, and intergenerational settings.
● Allows music and song to express the vitality of young people.
● Provides young people with effective and intentional education
and formation for liturgy worship and sacraments.
● Apprentices and trains young people in liturgical ministries
(lector or Eucharistic training).
What can the parish community do to enrich Prayer and Worship with
teens? Attending Mass on a regular basis and fully participating by singing
and listening. Letting teens see you praying in restaurants and family
events. Taking time in Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament or to pray the
Stations of the Cross. Do we only find time to attend Mass if nothing else
is going on or want to sleep in on Sunday? Remembering that the
Eucharistic Celebration is the CENTER of our faith.
● Promoting and protecting the sanctity of human life as a Gift
● Promoting and supporting each individual within our
community of teens as well as the disadvantaged, the sick, the
elderly, the unborn, and the poor.
● Empowering our young people by giving them a voice and
calling them to responsibility and accountability around the
issues that affect them and their future.
How can the parish community be Advocates for the youth, the
parish? We must demand quality education and support our teachers
even if don’t have children/teens in public school. Be agents
of change with life from “womb to tomb”.
● The Ministry of Education of young people helps them to develop
a deeper relationship with Jesus and increase their knowledge
of the core content of the Catholic faith. It helps to enrich and
expand their understanding of the Scriptures and Sacred
Traditions and understanding of Faith.
● The Ministry of Education recognizes that Faith development
is a lifelong process. Therefore provides developmentally and
age appropriate content and processes around key themes,
interests, and concerns of young people.
● Education integrates knowledge of practical skills for living
our Faith in the world today.
● Education promotes young people and family faith development
through a variety of program approaches.
What can the parish community do to support Education/
Catechesis? Try to remember that the “message” doesn’t change,
but the delivery of the message. Many people grew up with black
and white TV and the Baltimore Catechism and now our kids have
many visuals on their mobile devices. We need to reach teens in
new ways with the same unchanging Gospel Message. Faith
formation and education is LIFE LONG. Drop the idea of preparing
for a Sacrament then exiting until the next Sacrament is needed.
The parish community is a family and we need each other, young
and old, to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.