Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry Events Coordinator: Loretta Putorti – parent, parishioner, coordinator of events for Youth Ministry
Email Loretta at smcym@nycap.rr.com.

 

What is youth ministry?

I am often asked, “What is youth ministry?”  At this point, after many years of parish ministry, I am no longer surprised when folks assume that a youth minister’s sole responsibility is to plan social activities for young people.  While such activities might indeed fall under the umbrella of “Comprehensive Youth Ministry,” that is a far cry from what ministry TO, WITH, BY & FOR adolescents is all about.

The Youth Ministry Program (Grades 6-12) at St. Mary’s Church, Crescent is built upon the principles set forth by the United States Catholic Conference, Department of Education, as expressed in the document A Vision of Youth Ministry (1976).  It defines Youth Ministry as…

“the response of the Christian community to the needs of young people, and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community.”

Seems straight forward, pretty simple –  doesn’t it?  Well… the mission of the A Vision of Youth Ministry document was a little bit more!  It articulated the PHILOSOPHY, GOALS, PRINCIPLES, and COMPONENTS of a new direction in the Church’s ministry with youth; and in 1997, Renewing The Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry built upon the foundation of the original document to include the importance of the young person’s call to personal discipleship, evangelization, and leadership.  This new document highlighted the call to make ministry with youth a concern of the ENTIRE faith community – not just that of a parish youth minister, faith formation director, or pastor.

 

So – again – what is COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH MINISTRY?

GOALS
  • Goal 1 – to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today (ie. live as Jesus would want all of us to live);
  • Goal 2 – to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community;
  • Goal 3 – foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person. (Renewing the Vision, 1997)
THEMES                                       

  IT IS…

  • Developmentally Appropriate
  • Family Friendly
  • Intergenerational
  • Multicultural

 IT EMPHASIZES…

  • Community-wide Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Flexible and Adaptable Programming 

Ministry with young people integrates each of the church’s ministries  – “Components” – in an effort to achieve it’s goals.  Each ministry component supports and enhances the others. A comprehensive ministry with youth provides balance among all eight components.

COMPONENTS OF YOUTH MINISTRY

  • Advocacy – empowers young people by giving them a voice
  • Catechesis – promotes the faith development
  • Community Life – builds an environment of love & support; develops meaningful relationships; and nurtures Catholic faith
  • Evangelization – the energizing core of all ministry with young people; invites them to a deeper relationship with Jesus
  • Justice and Service – nurtures in young people a social consciousness & empowers them to work for justice
  • Leadership Development – calls forth, affirms, & empowers the diverse gifts, talents & abilities of youth
  • Pastoral Care – a compassionate presence in the image of Jesus’ care of people, especially those in need
  • Prayer and Worship – celebrates young people’s relationship with Jesus & incorporates them more fully in the sacramental life of the Church; nurtures personal prayer and fosters family rituals

Youth Ministry Happenings at SMC

In an effort to engage the parish in a comprehensive model of youth ministry, Loretta Putorti – Coordinator for Youth Ministry Events – has initiated a Youth Ministry Team.  This team –  comprised of youth and adults – serves to promote youth ministry in the parish.

To date, the Youth Ministry Team (in addition to running games at last summer’s parish picnic – 2018) has sponsored several service opportunities that have benefitted the residents of Bishop Hubbard Senior Apartments and retired priests living in the area.  In October, 2018 young people gathered to make 60+ Halloween goodie bags; decorate 28+ dozen sugar cookies at Christmas; and make 60+ handmade, old-fashioned Valentines (2019).  And plans are now in the works for a Spring gathering at Bishop Hubbard Senior Apartments.

Youth opportunities don’t end at the parish level, however.  Summer 2019 the Diocese will offer three different opportunities for youth at Pyramid Life  Center, Paradox, NY.  The “Breakaway” program will offer three different 5-day experiences –  for   high school and  middle school age youth, as well as a program for high school age musicians.   And this fall (November, 2019) the National Catholic Youth Conference – a biennial conference for high school youth –  will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. St. Mary’s, Crescent hopes to have representatives at all of these amazing opportunities.

So, then, what is our responsibility to the young people of our parish?  Be present… invite… support… challenge…nurture… share… pray… Do not assume one youth minister or pastor can solely meet the needs of every young person in a parish.  We all play a part!

For more detailed information about “Comprehensive Youth Ministry”, our new Youth Ministry Team, or the variety of offerings available to middle school and high school age youth (Grades 6-12), please contact Loretta Putorti (smcym@nycap.rr.com).