- Updated Website! I’ve been busy updating www.garyoyya.org to better serve as a tool for your ministry.
- There’s now a tab for “Young Catholic Resources.” The Young Catholic Ecclesial Commission compiled a loooong list of resources just for you. Find websites, programs, videos, apps, podcasts, and more.
- There’s also resources to help you dive into Christus Vivit. We have the video from our discussion with Paul and Sarah Jarzembowski and a link to the NFCYM resources, including the audio version of the document.
- Keep coming back because more resources will be added soon.
- You can help keep our website fresh! We are always in need of current pictures that we can use on line. If you have some pictures from recent events, please feel free to email them to me. Also, we are putting together a list of local speakers. If you have any suggestions, please pass them my way!
- Young Catholics Ecclesial Commission: After the Diocesan Synod, the Diocese created ecclesial commissions to help pray for and assist parishes as they developed and implemented their goals. The Young Catholic Ecclesial Commission is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who have strong backgrounds of youth and young adult ministries. The Young Catholic Ecclesial Commission is ready to talk with parish synod teams and other ministries as they serve the Young Catholics in their communities. Parishes who have not immediately identified Young Catholics as a Synod goal can also reach out to the Young Catholics Commission for assistance. For more information or to request support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to pass this information along to your Synod Goal Champions, too!
- Totus Tuus: Missionaries Wanted. Totus Tuus is a week long summer program for kids. Kids learn about Mary, the Eucharist and their Catholic faith in fun and engaging ways. Missionaries, college aged young adults, travel from parish to parish teaching the faith and being role models for the kids who attend. If you know any college student who would be interested, please share this link with them or refer them to Sean Martin, Director, Office of Evangelization and Formation at email@example.com. The deadline to apply to be a Totus Tuus missionary is Feb. 1.
Youth Ministry Events and Formation:
- The next DYC Meeting will be February 9, 1-4:00 at Nativity of our Savior, Portage.
- Conference Opportunity: Called & Co-Responsible: Exploring Co-Responsibility for the Mission of the Church. March 4-6, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, $125+ In Christus Vivit, Pope Francis said: “[Young Adult] ministry has to be synodal; it should involve a “journeying together” that values “the charisms that the Spirit bestows in accordance with the vocation and role of each of the Church’s members, through a process of co-responsibility… Motivated by this spirit, we can move towards a participatory and co-responsible Church, one capable of appreciating its own rich variety, gratefully accepting the contributions of the lay faithful, including young people and women, consecrated persons, as well as groups, associations and movements. No one should be excluded or exclude themselves”.” Called & Co-Responsible is an academic and pastoral conference dedicated to exploring what the idea “co-responsibility” for the “Church’s being and acting” might mean, both for the laity and for the ordained. This conference will try at least to glimpse the full potential of the idea of co-responsibility and its fruitfulness for the life of the Church going forward. Invited speakers include Bishop Frank Caggiano (a huge supporter of young adult ministry), Archbishop Rino Fisichella (the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and president of the International Council for Catechesis), Colleen Moore (program director for Echo, a two-year graduate service learning program, helping young adults form in faith and theology to best serve the Church). To for more info or to register, click here.
- TAPT XXXII: Save the Date! March 27-29 at Camp Lawrence. Time to start getting ready for TAPT 32! After a year away, TAPT will be back at beautiful, Camp Lawrence located in Valparaiso, IN. We’ll send out applications for teens during the early part of December, but start telling your teens to save the date now! TAPT is open to any high school student who has not already been on a TAPT weekend.
- Adult leaders: If you are interested in serving on the TAPT team, please contact Jamie Sandona and the TAPT Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Adult leaders must be able to serve on the TAPT weekend, as well as attend three formation meetings (March 1, 8, 22). Formation meetings are important because they help bond the retreat team, review super important information, and receive training on small group facilitation.
- SAVE THE DATE: St. John the Evangelist will be hosting their biannual Youth Conference on November 7, 2020. They would like to invite every high school student in the diocese to attend. Youth Conference will have two amazing keynote speakers: Fr. Agostino Torres and Jackie Francois. Fr, Agostino was one of this year’s NCYC emcees and Jackie Francois was the emcee in 2015. Jackie also hosts a YouTube series with her husband for Ascension Presents about marriage, dating, and living a Catholic life. More info about Youth Conference 2020 will be coming out later, but we wanted to let you know so you can mark your calendars now. Teens can register on their own or through their parish.
- Save the Date: National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry, December 10-12, 2020, New Orleans. On the off years of NCYC, there’s a conference just for adult youth ministry leaders (aka YOU). It’s a few days of networking, learning and socializing. NCCYM is the largest adult conference for Catholic youth ministers in the country. It gathers and forms adults to inspire, strengthen, and nourish those who accompany young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ. If the 2020 conference is anything like the past, participants will register on their own, and estimated costs, including travel, hotel, and registration will be a little over $1000 per person.
- While registration doesn’t open until June, I wanted to start seeing who would be interested in attending. That way, I can make sure to keep you in the loop. Email me or fill out this quick form.
- Also, there will be a pre-conference forum on ministry with young adults on December 9-10. Let me know if that is something you would also be interested in.
- Other Diocesan Opportunities to put on your calendar:
Last week, I read an article titled: ” How economic uncertainty is taking a spiritual toll on today’s young adults.
” The article discusses how, because of current economic situations of many young people, their faith life can suffer. High cost of living, student debt, medical issues, and more has lead to young people having a need to devote more time to work, and less time to building relationships with peers or devoting time to their spiritual life. It also quoted a study that showed that 20% of young people experienced workplace depression ( they linked to this article
that also described other studies about the mental health of young adults).
The original article went on to say that, while young people might want to turn to their faith during times of stress or anxiety, their current situations might not be allowing them time to do so. Many young adults are required to work during the evenings or on weekends, their commutes might be long, their employers might take advantage of them by asking them (more like telling them) that they have to work when they are not originally scheduled. When asked if they want to do something at their parish, it’s no wonder when they say, “I can’t right now. My life is crazy.”
While I originally read the article because it’s important for young adult ministry (and, full disclosure, I know many of the people interviewed for the article and wanted to support my friends), it got me thinking that this pressure doesn’t start when young people graduate college. It starts now, as young people. You all know this. Young people want to do something for the parish, but they have sports, and work, and family life, and clubs, and friends, and college interviews, and so much more. Oh yeah, they also need time to rest. What are we to do?
In Renewing the Vision, the number one goal of youth ministry is “to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.” We are called to help them be disciples while at church, but also on the field, in the classroom, when they are hanging out with friends, when they are with their families, and when they are making decisions. If we don’t understand where they are at in life, we can’t help them. As Renewing the Vision , says, “young people need to know and be known by the Church’s ministers if they are to better understand how God is calling them to live as disciples.” (RTV 11)
To get to know our young people, there are a few things all parish members can try:
- Know their name. Your relationship with someone changes once you learn their name. You start seeing them as a full person, not just a body in a crowd. Learn their name. Read here for more insights on getting to know our young people.
- Be open to a conversation. You don’t have to know how to use TikTok or what is the latest update to Fortnight. You just have to be open to a conversation. Taking an interest in the thing that the young person values can help them feel seen.
- Point them in the direction of good resources. We know young people are on their phones and on social media. Introduce them to Catholic influencers, so when they are on the bus to a volleyball tournament, they are seeing positive role models as they scroll through their feed and are reminded to pray.
- Give them options. If they can’t attend Mass because they are at a tournament or have work Saturday night and Sunday morning, let them know other Mass times in the area.
Pope Francis wrote in Christus Vivit: ” In this outreach, we need to use above all the language of closeness, the language of generous, relational and existential love that touches the heart, impacts life, and awakens hope and desires . Young people need to be approached with the grammar of love, not by being preached at. The language that young people understand is spoken by those who radiate life, by those who are there for them and with them. And those who, for all their limitations and weaknesses, try to live their faith with integrity. We also have to give greater thought to ways of incarnating the kerygma in the language of today’s youth.” ( Christus Vivit , 211)
My ministry has been greatly affected by witnessing you ministering to young people (or because you had ministered to me when I was a teenager or early young adult). I have seen over and over again that many of you know your young people so well and that you have a willingness to do whatever you can for them. You can definitely speak the “language of generous, relational and existential love” that reaches your teens.
Share these tips with other members of your parishes to start creating a space that feels welcoming to young people when they walk through your doors. Help them see that their behavior towards young people can make a huge difference. In the original article I mentioned
, one young adult minister noted that she had to have these kinds of difficult conversations in her parish: ““I hear a lot from the older generation, ‘Well we made it work.’ I think it’s easier to just kind of cast the blame and say, ‘Oh, well [young people] just don’t care. They’re not into their faith. They’re not interested’,” Ms. [Diana] Hancharenko, [young adult ministry coordinator for a parish in Youngstown, OH] says. “A conversation I’ve had to have many times with some of our older parishioners, as well-meaning as they are, is: How are you approaching our young people if you haven’t seen them here in a while? Are you doing it with, ‘Hey, it’s nice to see you?’ or the attitude of ‘Where have you been?’ ””
Please feel free to share with me the things your parish is doing to make it a more youth friendly place or any tips to pass along to people to help them learn how to really know the young people in their community.
Peace and all goodness,
Ministry Consultant for Youth and Young Adult Ministry