Most youth ministers and high school catechists discovered years ago that teens learn better by Doing and so have gotten very creative in ways to help youth apply learnings, but we often still have time for lecturing by the adult.
A few of us have moved to sending articles/chapters/booklets home to read or video links to view prior to meeting for class or session, adapting the teaching method of "flipped classroom" into religious education. (You can learn more about this below.) This is a great way to assure there is time to respond to questions and encourage discussion (so long as the students actually do the preparation and if all the youth have access to the media needed!)
I like this explanation of Jigsaw Learning as a way of perhaps using some Flipped Model, but giving another way for the youth to dive into the content. I think many of us have used this method in concept, but perhaps not with as much organization as this video describes:
This video lays out a game plan clearly. I really like the "expert group" portion where teens help each other understand the concepts (with adult advisors assisting when needed.) Then when the teens take the extra step to TEACH, we know they learn better.
Albert Einstein once said:
“I never teach my pupils,
I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
Can you see how the Jigsaw can provide conditions to learn?
I can envision a few ways to use this:
a. using The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth,
dividing up sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
or selecting by topic, such as:
Parts of the Mass...
Gifts of the Holy Spirit…
Fruits of the Holy Spirit…
Types of Books in the Bible....
The 7 Sacraments...
what other topics jump out for you to consider using Jigsaw?
b. having the above or YouCats for teens to look up topics that apply to the textbook you may be using for religious class
c. if using the Phlaum Weeklies, divide up sections, making sure teens have access to the teaching guide and supplementary booklets as well as Bibles and other resources to allow them to expand the information
d. even on a retreat, set aside some time for learning sessions on the theme of the retreat.
e. prior to a service/mission activity, cover Catholic Social Teachings or elements of the service project as connected to our faith.
What other ideas come to mind?
Reflection (feel free to share your responses as a Comment below)
Thanks for all you do to pass on the faith to the next generation.
We must ensure that young people are well equipped
for their special mission in the world.
-Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry
Quick overview of a Flipped Class:
Example of watching a Flipped Classroom
“Those who know, do.
Those that understand, teach.”
On March 1st, Tom East, Director of the Center for Ministry Development facilitated a one day training in Ravenna for about 25 parish and campus ministry leaders on Accompanying Youth on their Journey of Faith and Discernment.
After an opening prayer, we discussed the concept of accompaniment. We have to let go of preconceived frameworks for our ministries with young people, including our tendency to wait for the teens to come to our programs... we have to change our perspective.
When we read the Emmaus story (Luke 24: 13 - 35), notice that Christ LISTENED first to the travelers and allowed them to share their disappointments and hopes. He walked along side them and listened.
How can we better listen without judgement and walk along side the young people of our community? (We can also notice that Jesus was not waiting in a temple... he joined the travelers on the road...)
Mr. East reminded us that we are to reach out to all the young people of the parish community (and geography), not just those who show up at Mass and programs, and not even only those that have been Baptized.
One key to this ministry of accompaniment is to recognize that God is already part of each young people's life, since conception. We need to talk with them about the conversation God has been having in his/her life... they may need help recognizing it in themselves, and to see how God is at work in their daily lives, but we seldom "bring them to Christ" as Christ is and has been with them!
Tom shared many tools for accompanying, transforming our programs, and becoming a faith companion. It is important for parents, grandparents, godparents, catechists, teachers, youth ministers, coaches, group leaders, Confirmation sponsors, and even peers to take time to pray, connect, listen, empathize, care, and witness with young people.
The second session of the workshop was regarding ways to guide youth in discernment. One of the many resources shared on this topic was a "Simple Three-Minute Ignation Method" that can be used every day:
1. Spend the first minute thanking God the Father for all the blessings received that day.
2. Spend the second minute reviewing your failings and ask Jesus the Son for forgiveness.
3. In the final minute, ask the Holy Spirit for the strength and courage to live a better tomorrow.
One of the biggest differences we can make in the lives of young people is to foster a habit of daily prayer. Workshop participants were challenged to brainstorm ways to help youth pray. We also shared resources that can help. A great example that was shared was of a young man who set 4 alarms on his cell phone to remind him when the phone vibrated to pray.
Tom also shared ideas on breaking open the Synod Preparatory document, which can be found online at:
The key questions include:
> What should we do to transform our ministries using accompaniment as a model?
> What should we stop doing?
> What are some ways to encourage the faith community in walking with youth?
To learn more about the Center for Ministry Development,
visit their website at:
To read a blog post by Tom East on this topic, visit:
If you participated in the workshop, please comment below with any additional insights, ideas or strategies that you noted during the day!
At the Convocation of Catholic Leaders (July 1-4, 2017 in Orlando), I was honored to be one of the five delegates from the Diocese of Youngstown. The event included break- out sessions, one being "Youth on the Margins: Understanding Those Struggling with Depression, Suicide, Gangs and Discrimination." Obviously, the panel of speakers addressed each of those areas. They also discussed the opioid epidemic and how some of the heroin sold these days is immediately addicting. There is also an increase in reported anxiety issues with teens. It can be difficult to share the Joy of the Gospel (theme of the Convocation) when people are struggling to find joy in any area of their life!
In an interview with Antonio Spadaro SJ in August 2013,
Pope Francis said: “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds."
As adults called to work with and for young people, we need to be available to assist as needed. In addition to just being available to LISTEN to a young person, here are a few suggestions:
1. Continue to pray for young people and their families, knowing that everyone is going through something or has a loved one that they worry about that is going through something. Pray that they have the strength they need to get through it and to rely on God.
A few Scriptures to consider in your prayer:
• “The Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
• “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, thus declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).
• “Come to me, all who are heavy burdened...” (Matthew 11:28)
• “The news about [Jesus] spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:24).
2. Have a "Referral List" handy and updated.
To read more about how to create your list, see:
as well as an idea for helping parents connect for support:
3. Learn more about Pastoral Care so that you can better be of service. Once great option is called "Youth Mental Health First Aid." This is a quick course that covers the basics on identifying and working with youth who may experience anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders, suicidal tendencies, etc. It comes with a manual that you can keep on hand for reference over and over again. (Perhaps a good idea to reread a chapter each month as well as to have on hand as a certain situation arises.)
The diocese is looking into the possibility of hosting a training for parish ministers, but I also found that there is a FREE option offered by the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board. One training day is coming up on August 25th in Warren. The flyer can be found below. If you are unavailable that day, perhaps contact them for future dates.
What else might you add to this list?
Final thought, Pope Francis encourages us in taking the time necessary to journey with people as Church, "An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be." (Evaneglii Gaudium #24)
"Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties." (Evaneglii Gaudium #167)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
have been working on a fantastic video series that we can use for FREE to help share the
elements of our Catholic Social Teachings.
The videos are brief (3 - 5 minutes each), beautiful and informative.
They have been posted on YouTube, so can be
easily shared via social media or used in classrooms/meetings.
Below, please find direct links to the first few videos,
and look for future videos (and additional resources) to be posted at:
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
More on Rights and Responsibilities
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society -- in economics and politics, in law and policy -- directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
More on Call to Family, Community, and Participation
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
More on Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
More on Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Care for God's Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of Gods creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.
More on Care for God's Creation
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice.1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
More on Solidarity
> The Dignity of Work and the Rights of WorkersThe economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in Gods creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
More on Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
Descriptions shared from http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm - (c) USCCB
"The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus." (EG 1)
After months of preparation with the National Association of Catholic Youth Ministry Leaders (NACYML), I am so excited that the MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) has begun. We are now in week 2 and have already heard:
-- The Most Reverend Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport,
--Tom East,. Joan Weber and Angel Barrera with the Center for Ministry Development and
--Dr. Ansel Augustine from the Archdiocese of New Orleans
They discussed points from chapters 1 and 2 of the Holy Father's "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel).
There have also been Live Chat/discussions on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.
Furthermore, these presentations are breaking open in our Networking Learning Groups, including the "Ohio Dioceses" group.
And if that wasn't enough, quotes from the documents and speakers are being tweeted (#NACYMLMOOC), Pinned (https://www.pinterest.com/nfcym/fostering-a-culture-of-encounter-with-young-discip/ ) and Facebooked (https://www.facebook.com/NACYML).
There are participants from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, etc. as well as from all over the US. Some are new volunteers, others have been involved in ministry for decades. I LOVE the variety as the different perspectives are helping me expand my own understanding.
IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO GET INVOLVED!
We still have 3 full weeks of class,
and the past presentations and chats have all been recorded and posted.
You can do this work at any time you have available (i.e. 5 a.m. over coffee before the household is awake....on your lunch break.... midnight if you are a night-owl) and it is FREE!
Upcoming presentations will be by Fr. Joe Espaillat, Dr. Carolyn Woo and Bob Rice.
If you complete the Learning Journals and submit them to me (email@example.com) for review, you can also earn hours towards your Catechist certification.
Enroll now at: www.nacyml.org/moocRegister.htm
For those of you already part of it: THANKS for join in. I hope you have been able to enjoy the presentations, discussions and insights shared. There will be time at the May 27th Youth Ministers Gathering for you to share some of your learnings with the group face-to-face. So, jot down a few notes on what has been inspiring you and what practical ideas you have taken from the course.
As ministers, paid or volunteer, it seems as if we seldom have enough time to keep up on current information, trends, tools and trainings. While I fully endorse and encourage participation in our diocesan opportunities like YMOT (Youth Ministry Online Training Program), Christian Formation Series, Liturgy Day, Evangelization and Catechesis Day, in-service, etc., there are so many more opportunities for you -- some as close as your computer!
Webinars are online (web) seminars that allow students from all over the country/world to participate together with an expert, teacher, motivator, author, leader or facilitator. "Live" participants who join the webinar in "real time" often have the chance to ask questions, offer additional insights or respond to questions during the session. Many of the sessions are recorded and made available any time.
Key advantages of webinars are:
1. No travel time to and from the session.
2. Shortened commitment time then without the travel involved.
3. Can be done about anywhere you have an internet connection, so that can be in your office, at home, or (with earphones) while you wait for your child involved in a sport, dance, music, etc.
4. You can learn from speakers who may never come to this area. It is incredible to be able to ask an expert a question and get his/her direct response!
5. You can learn about almost ANY topic, if you search long enough.
6. Affordable -- most of offered inexpensively, and many are FREE.
7. You can interact with participants from all over the region, country or world, depending on the webinar.
So, check your internet connection (speed, bandwidth) and computer/tablet/smartphone sound,
and if they are compatible, then start looking for the topics you most want to learn about via webinar!
I shall offer a few suggestions:
+ Members of the National Association of Catholic Youth Ministry Leaders receive FREE access to monthly webinars with topics directly of interest to our ministries with teens. Membership is only $60 for the year and has additional benefits like discounts on conferences and resources, membership news, etc.
Check out the current webinar listing at:
For membership, click here:
+ For only $25 per session (discounted in bulk), the Center for Ministry Development offers monthly topics related to ministry with youth, young adults, and families. You can also review past sessions and get the handouts. See their listing at:
+ Paulist Evangelization Ministries (Paulist Fathers) offers sessions during this Year of Faith with helpful ways we can deepen our personal faith and share with others. Most (all?) have been free of charge, but you must pre-register. Check out upcoming topics at:
+ St. Mary's Press offers a number of webinars that help make use of tools they produce
See their offerings at:
+ Joe Paprocki offers insights on his Catechist's Journey site. While he has worked mostly with DREs and children's programs, there are topics of interest to those of us working with 'older children' as well.
+ Ave Maria Press offers free webinars for parish minister's professional development.
WHAT OTHERS MIGHT YOU RECOMMEND?
How have webinars helped your ministry?
How have webinars helped your personal growth as a minister?
What new things have you learned by participating in a webinar?
How have webinars helped you encourage continued formation with your team, vo
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.