January 7, 2020
Hello Dear Friends!
And just like that, it’s the start of a brand new year. How is that possible? We have many things to tell you, so let’s get to it!
New Updates:
  • Youth Ministers Retreat: January 24-25, 2020. Lindenwood Retreat Center, Donaldson, IN $100 ($140 for single room). Once a year, youth ministry leaders gather from around the diocese for a retreat to pray together, learn together, and grow in fellowship with each other. This is not a teen event! It’s just for adult leaders and youth ministry volunteers. Our theme this year will be “Journeying Together.” We will look at how to best accompany young people, how we can invite the parish to walk with teens, and how we can help and support each other. We’ll be diving into Christus Vivit and learning from each other. Register here! The deadline to register is This Friday, January 10, 2020.
  • TAPT Peer Minister and OATs Applications are due January 9! Do you know of a high school student who participated on past TAPT retreats who would benefit from learning leadership, peer ministry, or service skills? Encourage them to apply to be either a peer minister or OATs member for the 2020 TAPT retreat! Applications can be found here. Want to recommend a young person to serve on team? Send over their information and we will reach out to them! Make sure you are also connected to TAPT on Facebook to share applications with parents of TAPT alumni!
  • 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!
  • Webinar: What About The Teens Who Never Come? NFCYM is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, January 21. “As ministers we are responsible for bring Christ to all youth and families, not just the ones who always come or who’s parents read the bulletin. To reach the teens who are registered, but never attend requires a whole different approach to ministry and will require you to lead your ministry very differently so you don’t burn out. Join us for this hour webinar as we unpack the details of how to engage those who never come and what may need to change in your ministry and parish to do so.” Register here. If you can’t watch it when it is live, you will receive a link to the recording, so make sure you register!
  • Note about NFCYM webinars: I noticed on their website, that starting in February, “NFCYM Membership will be required to access all webinars. One free community formation webinar will be offered each quarter. Become an NFCYM Member prior to February 1, 2020 so you don’t miss out on any offerings in the 2020 webinar series. Cost is $75 [each year] and comes with numerous member benefits and discounts.” Any individual can apply for associate membership. Members do get perks like being able to have access to other webinars, discounts on the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (an adult only conference every other December), and access to a large directory of peers and national organizations. For more information about applying for membership, click here.
  • 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.
  • Webinar: “National Young Adult Ministry Webinar on Ministry with Young Adults in Support of Life” January 21, 1:00 PM, online. Pope Francis, in his 2017 address to the United States, urges us to resist succumbing to a “throw-away culture” asking people to understand that “Respecting life cannot be about simply resisting the aggressive violence of throwaway culture but also confronting the violence within its social structures.” Instead, we are encouraged to create a culture of encounter that brings us “face-to-face… with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction” (Evangelli Gaudium #88). This free webinar is hosted by the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry and the Loyola Institute for Ministry, Loyola University New Orleans.
  • 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.
  • 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 youngcatholics@dcgary.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 smartin@dcgary.org.
Youth Ministry Events and Formation:
  • The next DYC Meeting will be January 12, 1-4:00 at Holy Spirit, Winfield.
  • TAPT XXXII: Save the Date! March 27-29 at Camp Lawrence. (ok, not a new update, but it’s still super important, so please make sure you spread the word!) 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 garytapt@gmail.com . 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.
Just a Thought:
If you are a Catholic social media junkie like I am, you probably have seen a strong reaction to a certain moment that occurred during the Golden Globes Awards this week. In her acceptance speech, actress Michelle Williams used her time to talk about her “right to choose” and how because she was able to have an abortion, she was able to succeed in her work space. Before going any further, it is important that we keep Michelle and women who have felt the same as she has in our prayers. Women who have not felt supported and cared for during their time of need and are told that the only way they can make it in the world is to end their pregnancy. And instead of attempting to bring about a cultural change to help support pregnant women in need, such as fighting for a living wadge, paid maternity leave, and access to medical care and emotional support, it is easier to fall into the lie that abortion is the only way to solve the problem. We need to pray for our culture, and especially pray and help mothers (and fathers).
January is a month recognized in a special way the dignity of all people–those born and those yet to be. Some of you will be going to Washington DC or Chicago to use your voices and bodies to stand up for the unborn and their parents. We will be praying for you! Email me if you are going so we can gather your stories from the events.
As we get ready for the 9 Days of Life, a novena for the protection of human life sponsored by the USCCB, January 21-29, take some time to do some reading, listening, or reflecting on issues surrounding protecting the unborn and their parents.
One of the most impactful articles I’ve ever read regarding helping women who are considering having an abortion is called “What Women Considering Abortion Need,” from the website FemCatholic.com. The authors of the article sent out a survey to women who had considered seeking an abortion or went through with one. Listening to these women (and some fathers), was really heartbreaking. One respondent said, when asked what could have been done to change her mind: “Being told I was strong enough to be a mom… I had no support. Not a single person around me told me it would be ok to have the baby. No one showed any confidence in me.” It made me take a look at how I respond to people in need. How can I be more loving and compassionate when someone is experiencing fear, shame and doubt?
A few years ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and caught myself getting so wrapped up in the conversation, I didn’t leave my car until the conversation was over. Claire Swinarski, the host of “The Catholic Feminist Podcast” interviewed Sr. Virginia Joy, a Sister of Life. Sr. Virginia Joy spoke about how we can talk about women who are considering abortion or who received one in a loving and truthful way. Her advice when talking to a woman thinking about getting an abortion, is to “delight in her,” loving her so much and genuinely supporting her. When we tell a woman she is strong enough to be a mother or give the child up for adoption, we are telling her she is loved. When, instead of judging her or hating her, we decide to walk with her and to giver her care and guidance, we are saving two lives—the woman’s and her child’s. I’ll be honest, I cried during this episode.
Also, if you don’t know who the Sisters of Life are, you should learn about them! The sisters, who are centered out of New York City, Sister Bethany Madona, a key note speaker at NCYC, is a Sister of Life. Their calling is to uphold human dignity by working to care for pregnant women in need and walking with them.
I also watched a great video from Catholic author and speaker Emily Wilson. Her video, “How can someone be pro-woman AND pro-life?” Emily jumped right in and talked about how we can respond to people who say that if you are pro-life, you aren’t looking out for women. Emily, though she doesn’t explicitly say it, talks about the feminine genius, which includes women’s calling to be mothers (physical mothers as well as spiritual mothers), nurturing others.
Blessed is She, an online community for women, has a helpful reflection on “What (Not) to Say to Your Pro-Choice Friends: An Exhaustive Resource for Pro-Life Arguments.” If you (or your teens) are ever in a situation where you need to stand up for our faith and defend the rights of the unborn, it’s helpful to have a game plan to so you can get your message across in a loving way.
If you are looking for places that support women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy in NWI that you can support, here are a few:
If you know of others, let us know. We would love to share those resources.
Peace and all goodness,
Vicky Hathaway
Ministry Consultant for Youth and Young Adult Ministry