The mission of St. John the Evangelists Youth Ministry is to assist parents in leading teens to meet Christ and abide in Him (John 14-15). We seek to teach the Catholic faith through catechesis, Bible studies, the Sacraments, service to others, discipleship, and fellowship.
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. (CCC 2223) Since you hare the primary educators of your teens we want to give you opportunities be there for your teens in learning the faith and give you the materials you need to teach them.
The word catechesis is from a Greek word meaning "to echo, or resound." Catechesis is the act of resounding or bringing the Church's teachings to the world. Our job is to bring the Church's teaching to your teensso that they may then be able to echo that to the world around them.
"Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ"- St. JeromeWhether we know it or not our Catholic Faith is rooted in Scripture. It is through the scriptures, which are is the story of salvation, that we come to know and understand Jesus. When referring to the Scriptures as the story of salvation we are not talking just about the historical story of how God brought man back to him after the fall, but to how "God speaks to man in a human way" (CCC 109) in order to call all of us back into relationship with him. Because of this is important to show our teens that God is actively searching them out and it is through the scriptures that we can interact with Him
The Sacraments are visible signs instituted by Christ of an invisible reality. These sacraments are then the life of the Church and rooted in the Scriptures. It is important that we look to participate in the sacraments as often is possible. Most of all we should partake in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, at least on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
A disciple is one who follows another and spreads their message. A Disciple of Christ is one who follows Jesus and helps in his mission to spread the Gospel and "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Matthew 28:19. As disciples we must therefore grow in a relationship with God. That is the ultimate goal of the youth ministry here at St. John's. Create disciples who are in relationship with Jesus and want to help make disciples of others.
Service to Others?
"Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works" James 2:18 Our faith is more than just showing up every Sunday for an hour for mass and then coming to youth group or Religious Ed for and hour and a half during the week. Our Faith must lead us to serve others around us. To truly have faith we must have Love and to love is to serve others as Christ served others. Pope St. John Paul II in talking to youth had a great way of expressing the importance of having a faith that is rooted in the sacraments and prayer but also in service to others. "Look to Mary to see how to respond to Jesus' call. First she kept all things, pondering them, in her heart. She also went in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. Both attitudes are essential parts of our response to the Lord: Prayer and Action. That is what the church expects of her young people."
Just as our faith is rooted in prayer and service to others, our faith can also not be lived alone. "Man was not meant to be alone." Genesis 2:18. It is important that as we grow in our faith and relationship with Jesus that we grow with others along side of us. It is the community and fellowship around us that we call us to a greater holiness in our life. Without that community we can grow complacent in our faith and we then stop growing in our faith. The faith is a life long journey that we are constantly learning and growing in and when we have others around us that share our faith we keep striving to go deeper in that faith
YOU are the expert youth ministers! "The family is the domestic Church. In it, parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children" (Lumen Gentium 11). Through your marriage vows and having your children baptized, you have been given the GRACE and responsibility to bring your children to faith and life in Jesus Christ. What a GREAT and AWESOME responsibility.
Myself and the core team here at St. Johns are here to help assist you in this beautiful task and we want to equip you as best we can and come alongside you to be another positive influence for your teens. In order to do this there are two things I would ask that you consider.
- Just as you encourage your teens to come to youth ministry, I would also encourage you to continue learning and growing in faith. We have ample opportunities with Formed and Families of Character Adult Faith Formation here.
- I would also ask that you prayerfully consider assisting with the youth ministry programs. We have many different needs that you might be able to assist with from helping out with food/ snacks to being part of the team that leads the teens every week or on retreats.
Often it is seen that only young adults can lead the youth in our parishes but it must begin with parents and those who are older in the faith. So please consider offering your time on a weekly basis to help lead your teen and others closer to Christ. We have many resources available to help you in this great task of forming the youth whether at home or here at the parish. You are welcome to use the YDisciple resource that is put together as several short, yet interactive video clips on various subjects - from catechesis to hot topic issues. Click on the button above or the link on this page to sign up!
Please let me know how I can be of service to you and your family this year!