Youth Discipleship Blog
Saint Vincent Basilica Parish Youth Ministry
By RORY MITRIK
At its core, youth ministry is an opportunity to create friendships in Christ. We do this with consistent fellowship, spiritual accompaniment, and fun, where teens have the ability to encounter Jesus in their hearts. Put simply, youth ministry is a place to come meet Jesus.
As children get older they start to become more “friend-dependent”. So far in their lives, you have been the majority of influence. At the cusp of adolescence, a change begins: teens look to be validated by other people. As they grow they begin to forge ahead in areas that interest them, intellectually, physically, and socially– all with special consideration of their peers. They experience this new phase of life with family and friends in an amazing way, and growing their faith in Christ should be no different. Just like learning a new skill, teens need to make a decision for themselves on whether or not to continue an activity. In this stage, they do it best with the support and camaraderie of their peers. A girl that really enjoys playing soccer may continue to play, but with more interest and success with the support of family and friends. A boy who has an interest in scouts would be encouraged to push for the next badge because of the positive influence of his peers. Why is our Catholic faith any different? We know that Jesus wants us for salvation. He desires for us to be with him in heaven with God, Our Father. We have been given a very specific instruction about this:
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 6.
Nonetheless, the faith-life of our teens can be put into a box on a shelf. The job of our youth ministry is to bring our young people, alongside their friends, together to invite them into deeper relationship with Jesus. Through relationship building with mentors and each other, our teens can build a faith that is too significant to be put away.
My hope is that we invite our teens, arm-in-arm (figuratively, of course), to stand up for their Catholic faith, to help those in need in our community, worship, to see God in all we do, and of course, to pray. Thankfully, our teens get to witness how committed to the faith YOU are. Our families at Saint Vincent are fantastic. While communal interaction is the essence of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Youth Ministry at Saint Vincent, we cannot have that element this Fall in our typical manner.
If I were the parent reading this, I’d wonder “Well then if we can’t have that element then how ARE we doing it?” We will be moving to hybrid models with alternating schedules, online learning, detailed video series, and small groups via Zoom. It is also my hope that you and I will be able to talk consistently about your child’s faith journey and have discussions that bring God’s Kingdom to Saint Vincent.
I trust that if we follow His Way and accept the Truth that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, then we will have Life within us. The Holy Spirit will guide us as we make disciples of our teens.
In 6th grade, the focus is on how Jesus revealed himself in the Old Testament. We will also look at the Mass to truly understand Christ’s role in our lives – here’s a hint … it’s everything! 7th Graders start to get really specific in their relationship with Jesus. We dive deeper in our identity and in the gifts that Jesus gave us. Aligning our spirit towards Christ’s is the essence of 8th Grade, as the Holy Spirit descends upon us in the Sacrament. The Sacrament of Confirmation is the moment that your child says yes to the faith and becomes filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you are new, Welcome to Youth Ministry! And if you are back for another year, welcome back! Please know that we are always here to answer any questions as we begin this journey of faith together, all the while navigating the social distancing and the ever-changing climate of our world.
Please read the email that was sent to all Youth Ministry families very carefully, as we continue to determine the safest and best way to move forward in our journey of faith! (Especially for the resource Formed.org) Safety Details for in-person meetings are detailed in our Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan that has been submitted to the Diocese of Greensburg. Please let us know if you have any questions or need clarification for anything. We are here for you!