Ascension and St. Edmund Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry Matters

I hope this letter finds you well and blessed in your faith journey. Since my arrival on October 31, 2023 I have been busy getting to know and building relationships. Your presence and support are sincerely appreciated as an integral part of our Oak Park Catholic community.

Ministry with adolescents helps young people learn what it means to follow Jesus Christ and to live as his disciples today, empowering them to serve others and to work toward a world built on the vision and values of the reign of God. - "Renewing the Vision" (USCCB document) As we begin Comprehensive Youth Ministry for the Catholic Parishes in Oak Park, I am working with a team of leaders to develop a vision and mission under the auspices of Spirit and Light. Youth ministry is the parish community's response, in our case, the Catholic Community of Oak Park, Ascension and St. Edmund Parish, and St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish and Family Mass Community to the needs of its young people by responding through Accompaniment and Relationships. To help you understand what comprehensive youth ministry is, consider this: The Comprehensive Model links all the ingredients encompassing a holistic youth ministry with youth. This model broadens the scope of ministry beyond the traditional approach, which often focuses only on youth group programming. The Comprehensive approach emphasizes Accompanying them and going beyond a preconceived framework, encountering young people where they are, adapting to their times and pace of life, and taking them seriously. Multiple program formats with various content are offered in different time formats and settings, with numerous forms of participation based on interests and freedom of choice. This is following what Bishop Cupich has asked of us in Renewing my Church. As we begin, I am taking time to listen to the parish leaders, parents of the youth, and, of course, the youth themselves.

Definition of Catholic Youth Ministry – Renewing the Vision (USCCB document)

Catholic youth ministry is the response of the Christian Community to the needs of young people and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community. Catholic youth ministry is not limited to participation in a particular program or having a youth group; youth ministry is the relationship young people have with the Church.

Three Goals of Catholic Youth Ministry

1. Empowerment- to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
2. Participation- to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community
3. Growth- to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person

I am excited to share with you a developing Adult Youth Ministry Team (included will be the teen's input) to help create a Mission and Vision for our Oak Park Catholic Youth Ministry. Our mission will consist of creative ways to nurture our young parishioners' spiritual growth, providing them with a supportive community where they can deepen their faith, build meaningful relationships, and discover their unique gifts and talents. Another goal is to have the Adult Youth Ministry team assist with the various engaging activities offered to the teens.

If you are interested in learning more about our developing Youth Ministry program or would like to get involved as a volunteer, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or 708-370-3674 Your participation and support are invaluable as we continue to nurture this and the next generation of faithful disciples.
Thank you for your dedication to our Oak Park Catholic church community and for your prayers for our youth ministry.

[email protected]
Your Director of Youth Minister for the Oak Park Catholic Parishes
Spirit and Light: A Catholic Collaborative for Living Faith