What is Catholic Youth Ministry?
Catholic Youth ministry is the response of the Catholic community to the needs of young people and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community.” (from Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry 1997 by the USCCB.)
So what does that Mean for You?
By the definition offered by the US bishops, you can see that Catholic Youth Ministry is much more than just programs. It is about reaching out in relationship to the young people in the community, and giving them opportunities to use their gifts within the community. It is goal-driven, rather than program driven.
This vision of youth ministry defined by the bishops is much broader in scope than any previous model and may require a new way of thinking and ministering to youth. “All ministry with youth must be directed toward presenting young people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, and inviting and challenging them to become his disciples.” (CMD—Celebrate Youth!)
What are the Goals of Catholic Youth Ministry?
In Renewing the Vision, the bishops identify three interdependent and equally important goals that are to guide a Catholic ministry for young people:
- EMPOWERMENT - To help young people live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today
- PARTICIPATION - To invite youth to responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community
- GROWTH - To encourage the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person
How can Parish Youth Ministry Achieve these Goals?
- By calling the church to see youth as gifted and growing members of the community, and asking the church to actively respond to the needs of youth.
- By calling young people to grow as Catholic people of faith: to voice their needs, to share their gifts and talents as disciples in the world, to participate in the life of the parish and the mission of the church – to live with a purpose!
- By offering a variety of programs, opportunities and activities for youth such as community building, recreational and social, prayer and worship, faith formation, leadership development, service learning, outreach, and mentoring.
- By providing programs for families, and supporting parents, youth and families in their daily living.
- By creating ways for youth to become involved in the various ministries of the Church, and helping parish organizations to invite and involve youth in their programs.
- By encouraging and strengthening youth in living out their faith beyond the parish by supporting youth in the wider community, and by supporting youth-serving organizations in the community.