The Office of Youth Ministry is part of the Intergenerational Ministries Offices which includes Family Life and Young Adult and Campus Ministries. Youth ministry, broadly defined, refers to the total efforts of the Christian community to lead young people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, in and through the life of the Church, especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist. If in the past, the faith of the family was passed on more or less automatically to children, today there are so many messages that vie for teen's attention that a personal encounter with Christ can never be taken for granted.
It is not uncommon that even after years of religious education and/or Catholic schooling, a relationship with Christ is still missing and basic tenants of the Church remain foreign ideas. One thing is for sure, it is not for want of loving and passionate catechists and teachers. Nevertheless, one of the greatest blessings and advantages of youth ministry is that it provides a space and time where the youth are welcomed exactly as they are, they don’t need the right answers or have to feign faith. It is a place where faith-filled adults can show unconditional love and acceptance to teens who may be in the midst of doubts and brokenness. They don’t need the right answers. They don’t need to measure up. They just have to be themselves.
In our sound bite, Twittering culture awash in superficiality, the surefire way to make disciples is same as it was 2000 years ago: the gift of the time, attention and love of one person to another as a concrete expression of God’s love and presence. In the earliest book of the New Testament, St. Paul wrote: "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us" (1 Thes 2:8). Pope John Paul II, commenting on the fruits of the World Youth Days, summarizes the mission and path of youth ministry today:
[Young people] ask us to lead them to Christ, the only One who has words of eternal life (cf Jn 6,68). Listening to young people and teaching them, requires attention, time and wisdom. Youth ministry is one of the Church's priorities on the threshold of the third millennium.
This is the basis of evangelization. Of course, youth ministry consists of more than evangelization. Other essentials include: catechesis, community life, justice and service and all the components listed in Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry. Committed to this mission and work, the Office of Youth Ministry is dedicated to helping parishes “proclaim Jesus Christ to the next generation” through: 1) Advocacy 2) Training and Resources and 3) Direct Services.
1. Advocacy for Youth Ministry
a. Parish Consultation
b. Employment opportunities
c. Cooperation with High Schools
2. Training and Resources
a. St. John Bosco Youth Ministry Certification
b. Y-NET Monthly Youth Ministers meeting
c. New Youth Minister Retreat
d. Pastor Training Day
e. Confirmation Training
f. Resource Library
3. Direct Services
a. Kansas City Youth Conference
b. National Catholic Youth Conference
c. NET (National Evangelization Teams) Ministries
d. Totus Tuus Summer Catechetical Program
e. Concerts, Speakers and Workshops