On Monday, March 23rd,
Roy Petifils kindly offered some tips on Accompanying Families with Teens During this Time of Social Distancing through the NFCYM. Below are just a few notes that I jotted.... however, you can register to watch a recording by visiting:
Also, if you are reading this prior to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, you can participate in another webinar opportunity on the same topic. Visit: https://nfcym.org/resources/webinars/
All the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic equate to a TRAUMA for us, and many people are in shock.... perhaps the adults are having the harder time dealing with the shock.
We need to be real about the situation -
and acknowledge that they are/can be resilient
Offer encouragement and hope
Enjoy time with your kids!
Pray as a family
Have a routine for each day, but mix in some variety as well
Exercise - move - go for a walk
For graduating seniors:
Validate the disappointment, but then add perspective
Focus on next steps
Recognize that this will be "processed" over time
- perhaps a year or two
Find ways your can commemorate
Do not make false promises
For young people dealing with abuse, reading "You Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins may help (be aware of adult language, but he shares his persona story of abuse and healing)
Help teens articulate their feelings/experiences
as Dr. Bob McCarty often states (based on Dr. Christian Smith's Study on Youth and Religion), teens are often experience rich but language poor.
For parents who are Essential services personnel:
Be upfront about your job with your child, sharing only what is appropriate to the level of the child
Highlight how you are being helpful/social hero
Give as much reality as necessary but make sure the child latches on to hope
ASK FOR HELP as needed, many family/friends/neighbors would love to feel like they can contribute, so ask!
When stressed, remember:
Roy has a number of free podcasts posted on his website for your reference: https://roypetitfils.com/
I invite others who were on the call, or who listen to the recording, to add more notes in the comments below....
Stay safe and remain faith-filled!
Here is a random list of ideas I brainstormed of ways to help you as a Coordinator of Youth Ministry to spend your time NOT purchasing food, setting up tables/chairs, and other programmatic tasks for the next couple of weeks while we follow the pandemic prevention protocols:
1. Sort through old files - reorganize, recycle and toss!
2. Wipe down everything in your office with disinfectant so that you can keep healthy.
3. Read Christus Vivit (again)
Free online at: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20190325_christus-vivit.html
4. Pray... really, take some intentional time to pray, perhaps in your Church or chapel. Consider trying a prayer style that you do not typically pray.
5. Write out old fashioned cards/notes to your ministry team members and mail them.
6. Take time to plan out summer activities for your ministries.
7. Make videos or search for videos to share with your teens and their families to watch while they are home from school. (Share any good ones with fellow youth ministers at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/89462880376/ )
8. Take a day off to be with your family (like a snowless snow day!)
9. Complete any of the diocesan reports you may have forgotten to do (OK, I had to take the opportunity while I had it, right, I mean at least I didn't specifically say the Parish Youth Ministry Report or the Child Protection Compliance sheet, ha!)
10. Send your teens snail mail with some spiritual tips during this time off school.... and perhaps add a personal note to that they know the parish is thinking about them and cares for them!
11. Where possible/applicable, have one-on-one conversations with your pastor, parish leader, and colleagues just to get to know him/her better and learn more about his/her ministries and life! (We often seem too busy to do so, but now we may have time!)
12. Read (or reread) Evangelii Gaudium to remind yourself of the Joy of the Gospel, even in trying times
-- free online at: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html
13. Update your "Community Services List" (a Worksheet to assist with creating this list if you do not yet have one has been posted on: https://youngstownoyyam.weebly.com/helping-young-people-during-grief-or-tragedy.html
Call counselors in the area to see if you would like to add them to the list and if they are accepting new patients.
14. Pull out the Diocesan "Curriculum for Catechesis" and make sure you are covering all the high school objectives. See binder in your or DRE's or pastor's office, or check online at: https://youngstownoyyam.weebly.com/adolescent-catechesis.html
15. Review textbooks and resources you are not currently using but in which you may be interested (at this time the diocesan offices are open as usual, so you can call Carla for ideas or come to the library to look over some options.)
16. Prepare a list of social media posts for the next couple of months so that you have them ready to go when things get busy again.
17. Meet with fellow ministers in your region or area, if everyone is healthy and able, to really work on some collaborations and/or tweak current collaborations.
18. Bring Cindee lunch.
Ha, just joking, that was just to see if you were still reading.... however, see who in your parish really might NEED assistance. Invite a small group of folks (like young adults who often are seeking service opportunities) who can assist with meal service, or a trip to the store for RXs, food or supplies, or other tasks that high-risk parishioners might need taken care of during this time.
19. If most of your teens (or their parents) have tablets, computers and smart phones with video, audio and internet, host a virtual prayer meeting/Bible study/quick learning session... if you/your parish does not have paid accounts for virtual meetings, there are free options such as:
-- Zoom, can be up to 40 minutes free (unlimited time for one-to-one calls, if you want to touch base with one family at a time)
-- Facebook Live (but would be open to all with whom you are friends or who is part of the Group page you use)
-- Google Hangouts (through Google+, so people need to join that, then they say up to ten people, but I've found that once you get over 5, it freezes up)
-- Google Meet
(Note for many of these, there is also an option for some to just call in from any phone, so they may not see what is happening, but can hear and talk with the group!) -- Let me know of others!
20. Preview some of the videos and movies you have considered using for ministry, but haven't had time to watch... be sure to create discussion questions as you watch!
21. If you are not already a member of a national ministry group, look into a few to consider joining:
a. National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) as an Associate Member, https://nfcym.org/members/associate-membership/
b. National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), https://nccl.org/membership/
-- then contact Barbara Walko about joining through the diocesan package, email@example.com
c. National Association for Lay Ministry (NALM), https://nccl.org/membership/
22. Speaking of national organization, check out any archived webinars they offered that you may have missed, the NFCYM has several posted at:
23. Pull out copies of the Catholic Exponent that you had thought "I'll read that later" and actually read them now!
24. Check your desk and storage area to inventory then order any supplies on which you are running low.
25. Add to this list!
Seriously, post a "comment" below with more ideas that may be of assistance to our fellow youth ministers!
Oh, and wash your hands!
Lent is a good time for us to pause and see what keeps us from being in a deeper, more loving relationship with God. Bishop Murry reminded those participating in the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral that we have to face our sin, and truly be sorry for the sins and repent. To help prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent, bishop encouraged us to reflect upon the Ten Commandments.
As soon as he said that, I knew that I had an Examination of Conscience on the Commandments somewhere in my computer.... I was able to locate that and am sharing it here in case if may be helpful for you.
Thank you United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for preparing and sharing this resource.
Ministry Day 2019
Workshop B22: “Christ is Alive with (and for) our Teens and Young Adults”
Cindee Case, MAPS, Director
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Youngstown
Find links to Christus Vivit, the Final Document of the Synod, the Preparatory document, and numerous articles from through the three-year process at:
The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry also had a series of blog-posts about the process including findings of our diocesan surveys, find them posted at:
Christus Vivit Contents:
Chapter 1: What Does the Word of God Have to Say about Young People?
Who are some of the young people you recall are mentioned in Scripture?
(Exploring the young people Pope Francis highlighted....)
Chapter 2: Jesus, Ever Young
A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum. How then will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people? (§ 41)
Chapter 3: You are the “NOW” of God
we cannot just say that young people are the future of our world. They are its present; even now, they are helping to enrich it. (#64) … Each young person’s heart should thus be considered “holy ground”, a bearer of seeds of divine life (§67)
Chapter 4: A Great Message for all Young People
The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: “God loves you”. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved. (§112)
For him, you have worth; you are not insignificant. You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands. (§115)
Christ, out of love, sacrificed himself completely in order to save you. His outstretched arms on the cross are the most telling sign that he is a friend who is willing to stop at nothing (§ 118)
Finally, there is a third truth, inseparable from the second: Christ is alive! We need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because we can risk seeing Jesus Christ simply as a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago. (§ 124)
In these three truths – God loves you; Christ is your Savior; he is alive – we see God the Father and Jesus. Wherever the Father and the Son are, there too is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who quietly opens hearts to receive that message. He keeps alive our hope of salvation, and he will help you grow in joy if you are open to his working. The Holy Spirit fills the heart of the risen Christ and then flows over into your lives. When you receive the Spirit, he draws you ever more deeply into the heart of Christ, so that you can grow in his love, his life and his power. (§130)
Chapter 5: Paths of Youth
Keep following your hopes and dreams. But be careful about one temptation that can hold us back. It is anxiety. Anxiety can work against us by making us give up whenever we do not see instant results. Our best dreams are only attained through hope, patience and commitment, and not in haste. At the same time, we should not be hesitant, afraid to take chances or make mistakes. Avoid the paralysis of the living dead, who have no life because they are afraid to take risks, to make mistakes or to persevere in their commitments. Even if you make mistakes, you can always get up and start over, for no one has the right to rob you of hope. (§ 142)
Friendship is one of life’s gifts and a grace from God. Through our friends, the Lord refines us and leads us to maturity. Faithful friends, who stand at our side in times of difficulty, are also a reflection of the Lord’s love, his gentle and consoling presence in our lives. The experience of friendship teaches us to be open, understanding and caring towards others, to come out of our own comfortable isolation and to share our lives with others. (§ 151)
But I would also remind you that you won’t become holy and find fulfilment by copying others. Imitating the Saints does not mean copying their lifestyle and their way of living holiness… You have to discover who you are and develop your own way of being holy (§162)
Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourselves in the reality of life, as Jesus did”. Above all, in one way or another, fight for the common good, serve the poor, be protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism. (§174)
Wherever we are, we always have an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. That is how the Lord goes out to meet everyone. (§ 177)
Chapter 6: Young People with Roots
If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands. (§ 199)
Chapter 7: Youth Ministry
(reminder, ages 16 – 29 were surveyed, so he means teens and young adults)
requires two courses of action: outreach and growth (§209).
A mentor should therefore nurture the seeds of faith in young people, without expecting to immediately see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit. This role is not and cannot be limited to priests and consecrated life, but the laity should also be empowered to take on such a role. All such mentors should benefit from being well-formed, and engage in ongoing formation. (§ 246)
Chapter 8: Vocation
The word “vocation” can be understood in a broad sense as a calling from God…that everything in our lives can become a way of responding to the Lord, who has a wonderful plan for us. (§ 248)
Chapter 9: Discernment
I would remind you of the most important question of all. “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’” Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts, and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you. (§ 286)
Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the fact of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive at where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.( § 299)
Learn more about the timeline of the Synod and process towards Christus Vivit at the
Dinner and Presentation on November 4th
and learn more about the practical implications of the document during
the In-Service Day on November 5th.
(See flier in your Ministry Day folder or contact the OY&YAM for more.
It is also posted on the office Synod on Youth webpage.)
I read the following joke recently:
"One Sunday a minister preached about shepherds. He explained that sheep need lots of guidance, and that a shepherd's job is to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals, and keep them from wandering off. He said that the people of the church were God's sheep. Then he asked, "If you are the sheep, who is the shepherd?" (He was pretty obviously indicating himself.)
After a few seconds, a young boy piped up: "Jesus! Jesus is the shepherd."
The minister, caught by surprise, asked, "Well, then, who am I?"
The boy frowned thoughtfully. "I guess you must be a sheep dog." "
Cute story, right?
But it was also a strong reminder to me to remember that I am NOT "the" shepherd....
I am a sheep dog...
and when I start to think that I am the leader,
then trouble follows....
Sure, I need to put in the effort and might be called to help with any of those roles
but my ego cannot take the lead.
I cannot think that I do these things for my own glory (accolades, awards, titles, etc.)
But it must be my willingness to show Christ to others,
the share Church with others,
to be one-with-Christ as I serve others.
As the Gospel of John reports that John the Baptist said:
He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
In Galatians, chapter 2 verse 20, we read:
"I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me."
Dear Lord, please help me lessen my own ego,
to allow more and more room for your love to fill my heart so that
it spills out to all those around me...
and I can help others see the love you have for them as well.
Help me to help you "round up your sheep"
and keep them safe in your loving protection and guidance.
Help me to be one of you sheepdogs!
In preparing for the Ministry Day workshop on Christus Vivit and planning to host Paul Jarzembowski from the USCCB office to help us delve more into the document in November, I happened across this short article from the other side of the world that I wanted to share:
Isabella McCafferty from Wellington archdiocese’s Family and Young Church Vicariate was one of 300 young people who gathered in Rome on March 19-24, 2018 for the pre-synod meeting which was a precursor to the October synod of bishops on “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation”. Before that, Ms McCafferty and Auckland diocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry team leader Teresa McNamara were chosen as NZ delegates to an international meeting in Rome from April 5-9, 2017 organised by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The theme of that meeting was “From Krakow to Panama — The Synod Journeying with Young People”.
by ISABELLA McCAFFERTY
This document as a whole reads almost like a compilation of Pope Francis’ trending quotes from the past seven years. In many places he re-emphasises them in response to the last two years of listening intentionally in the lead-up to and during the synod of bishops. I mean that in the most positive sense, as throughout his pontificate, these words
have been a constant source of encouragement in my own faith journey and have inspired me in my ministry.
It has been interesting to read a document that both speaks to me personally as a young person as well as in my professional world of pastoral ministry in the Church. The first few chapters of the document address young people directly.
The second part focuses more on the practical and practitioner approach; to youth ministry, vocation and discernment. I can feel Pope Francis’ desire for young people, for me, to encounter daily the love of God and the living person of Christ. Our Shepherd shows how much he
cares for his people and points us back to what is most essential.
Many of the key themes that have become central to this synodal journey and, indeed, my own experience of this
journey, are certainly reflected in this document. These include the importance of accompaniment, a synodal approach and listening, being able to acknowledge the sociological context in which young people find themselves, focusing on discernment and vocation. Finally, there is always a call to action and renewal on the part of young people and the Church.
A great document, a gift to the Church and a solid acknowledgement of the importance of our young people. But the challenge remains. This document (and indeed all of the work leading up to it) cannot be the closing of the door on the last two years of active listening and journeying with young people. Pope Francis’ final words address young people directly once again, urging us to keep running since “the Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them!” [CV299] May the Church in Aotearoa make radical room for this momentum to move us forwards.
Here are a few practical suggestions to consider in light of this document and the journey that has brought it here. Some of these I have already been suggesting to those I have discussed these themes with over the past twelve months. As with anything, these suggestions are only a drop in the ocean of what we need to be open to if we are really to see substantial change as a result of this document and what it offers us.
Constantly return to our source — “God’s Word, the Eucharist, the daily presence of Christ and the power of the Spirit in our lives” [CV35] .
Come together — gather young people and the elderly to exchange dreams, with a look to the future [CV192].
Don’t get stuck asking “who am I?” or even “who are we?”, rather be bold enough to ask “for whom am I?” or who are we being called to live for — always our lives must look to the other [CV286].
Risk some time to engage with the document — but don’t let it stop there; be willing to listen, accompany and be moved into action as a result of what you encounter.
Thank you for allowing me to share this, NZ Catholic!
A joke goes:
The minister's little six-year-old girl had been so naughty during the week that her mother decided to give her the worst kind of punishment. She told her she couldn't go to the Sunday School Picnic on Saturday.
When the day came, her mother felt she had been too harsh and changed her mind. When she told the little girl she could go to the picnic, the child's reaction was one of gloom and unhappiness.
"What's the matter?
I thought you'd be glad to go to the picnic," her mother said.
"It's too late! the little girl said.
"I've already prayed for rain."
This jokes carries a few lessons it seems,
#1 - Patience...
In Youth Ministry circles, it is often taught that God
responds for our prayers FOR things with 3 results:
1. No... that request is not good for you in my plan,
so I will not give that to you/allow it/etc.
God may have something MUCH better planned for you!
2. Yes... that is a worthy request and I will honor it.
3. Yes, but not yet... either you or others involved are not yet ready,
or it is not the appointed time, so please be patient.
We are told that "patience is a virtue"
and that it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In the case of this joke, the girl was not patient,
and may have had a negative impact on her day.
So, what a good reminder to stay patient!
#2 -- be careful what you pray for...
Have you ever wanted others to suffer if they caused you to suffer?
Of course, it is a basic human reaction.
Making requests out of hurt, anger, retaliation, revenge,
or anything other than love will not be
the way to imitate Christ.
God wants good things for each and every one of us.
So, enjoy the laugh, but also work on patience and
wishing loving things for others as well as yourself!
Have a blessed day!
Likely, you now a person or two (or twenty)
who were raised Catholic but that no longer practice the faith.
(After all, research now claims that "Nones" are 23.1% of the U.S. Population! Roman Catholics are 23%, per General Social Survey data analyzed by Ryan Burge of Eastern Illinois University. "Nones" are Americans who state they do not affiliate with any religious tradition,
i.e. on surveys when asked what religion they are,
they would check NONE.)
Some have been hurt by the Church...
others have just wandered away...
some may disagree with specific Catholic teaching....
others may have misunderstood (or been taught un-truths)….
many did not feel loved, needed, accepted by or like they belonged to a parish....
others say they just don't have time...
and I am sure there are many more reasons.
Have any of these folks asked you why you are still Catholic?
Or, have you ever just shared (in a loving, caring conversation),
why being Catholic is important to you?
While it may not change their minds at the moment,
or it may start a discussion (hopefully, not an argument),
it might make them think....
It is possible that no one ever talked about why the faith
is important to them and how being Catholic impacts
So, WHY ARE YOU CATHOLIC?
What do you like most about being Catholic?
Your response should be shared with the youth
(and the families)
with whom you serve.
Hearing the answers from others will help the
teens to formulate their own answers.
Take some time to thing about it and pray about.
Also consider who your answer may have changed over time.
If you need any inspiration, below, you can find what the 2019 Eagle of the Cross Recipients said when asked why they like about being Catholic. A few of these high school juniors and seniors are VERY insightful! (Others affirm many of the things we do in our youth ministries and parish life!)
What Eagle of the Cross 2019 Recipients Like about being Catholic:
Things to Pack as a
Mission Trip Group Leader
Ideas from fellow youth ministers
for your consideration
(After reviewing this list,
please comment with anything
you would ADD to the list!)
First Aid Related
Recreational items (depending on your facilities and free time)
(Note: This is posted on the Justice and Service Page of this website
for reference as well… but I will take any of the comments made
to this blog post with additional items to the list...
thanks for help making it a better resource to use in the future!)
Best wishes for a blessed and safe Mission/Service Experience!
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.