Establish youth ministry with catechesis in 60-65 parishes by September 30, 2015
Upon learning of the goal to establish youth ministry with catechesis in 60-65 parishes by Sept. 30, 2015, we established a leadership team to work on the goal.
In June 2013, we gathered nearly 40 people from across the Archdiocese for a series of three listening sessions. We had pastors, assistant pastors, religious sisters, a deacon, high school principals, elementary school principals, teachers, campus ministers, PREP coordinators and teachers, pastoral council chairs, parents, and of course, youth and young adult ministry coordinators.
The purpose was to learn from their collective wisdom and expertise and to get an idea of their current sense of youth ministry in the Archdiocese.
In the fall and winter of 2013, the OYYAM surveyed parish youth ministry coordinators as a follow-up to the listening sessions. In particular, we asked them questions about their current youth ministry practices and in particular their methods and resources to catechize young people in the parishes.
Throughout the first few months of 2014, the OYYAM continued to compile information from parishes with respect to youth ministry in an effort to solidify some statistics.
Rebates are awarded to parishes that meet certain criteria including pursuing comprehensive youth ministry, taking steps to ensure training of leaders, and attendance at OYYAM meetings and other OYYAM offerings.
- Of 74 parishes reporting, 59 received the youth ministry rebate from the collection taken in December 2013.
- Of the 59 parishes, 37 do some sort of intentional catechesis (63%).
- Resources include Life Teen, Edge, Youth Alpha, YOUCAT, CCO’s faith studies, Total Faith Initiative by St. Mary’s Press, and others.
We will research these resources and create profiles for each of them (history, mandate, content, key people, pros and cons, etc) by Aug. 31, 2014.
We will create a list of recommended resources to present to Archdiocesan leadership for approval.
Upon receiving approval, we will provide recommendations to parishes and pastors by Sept. 30, 2014, giving them a full year to implement one of the recommended resources.
We are very confident that we will meet our goal and we are excited for the opportunity to help parishes strengthen their youth ministries.
Director, Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Reach a 90-95% rate of parishes offering at least 4 adult faith formation opportunities annually by December 31, 2015
Our first step was to define and communicate to pastors what is meant by “adult faith formation opportunities”.
From a broad perspective, “adult faith formation opportunities” can be understood to include initiatives beyond RCIA, Holy Mass, and the parent component of sacramental preparation – all of which are already in place in parishes – that help people grow closer to Christ and share their faith are considered.
While not an exhaustive list, here are some examples: Bible study, catechetical programs for adults, men’s and women’s groups, book clubs, faith-sharing groups, parish missions, retreats, guest speaker initiatives, Catholic media distribution (such as a CD or book distribution initiative), programs offered by movements to the whole parish, faith formation for catechists, and evangelization training.
Our next major undertaking, which began in the summer of 2013, was to meet with pastors to learn what kind of initiatives are already under way in parishes, gain wisdom from their experience, and discover their needs. We learned about a great variety of initiatives under way in parishes, coupled with the shared challenge that it’s very challenging to attract adults to faith formation opportunities.
As a first step towards supporting the parishes working towards the adult faith formation goal, we have identified 5 “turn-key” adult faith formation options that parishes can consider, and for which we can offer support at this time.
A few are established resources that have proven to be effective in many parishes – Great Adventure Bible Studies by Jeff Cavins, and the Catholicism video series and other resources by Fr. Robert Barron. These are studies which can be run in a variety of ways and are of varied length.
Also, we are suggesting that parishes acquire a Catholic media kiosk from Lighthouse Catholic media and creatively promote great Catholic CDs and various print materials to parishioners. This tool is one way to reach people who don’t come to programs – everyone can listen to a compelling talk on CD during their morning commute.
Among the five are two new options:
- a stunning new DVD series on the basics of the faith called “Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained” by the Augustine Institute. Parishes can also purchase a parish subscription, enabling all parishioners to access the content online via any digital platform—another way to reach people who don’t attend programs.
- Project Timothy, an archdiocesan small-group project using the proven materials of Catholic Christian Outreach which evangelizes people and equips them to evangelize others.
Connecting with pastors working towards to goal to see how we can support them with one or more of the five options listed above. A resource person is available to visit parishes to assist them with brainstorming and implementing the above options.
- Surveying AFF leaders, and publishing the findings with AFF leaders, in order to facilitate sharing of support, ideas, and resources.
- Developing a webpage with a focus on the five opportunities, and potentially an online communication mechanism for leaders.
- Meetings July 9 and 12 for those sent by their pastor who are interested in participating in Project Timothy starting in the fall.
Director, Adult Evangelization & Discipleship Office