My dear friends, follow the example of Paul and be witnesses to the Risen Christ! Make Christ known, among your own age group and beyond, to those who are in search of “the great hope” that would give meaning to their lives. If Jesus has become your hope, communicate this to others with your joy and your spiritual, apostolic and social engagement. Let Christ dwell within you, and having placed all your faith and trust in him, spread this hope around you.
-Pope Benedict XVI, Message on the Occasion of the Twenty-Fourth World Youth Day
The vision and purpose of Catholic youth ministry in the Diocese of Portland is to participate in the mission of the Catholic Church by advocating for and supporting Catholic youth ministry on the diocesan, cluster and parish levels. As such our first priority is to serve those who serve the young Church in delivering comprehensive youth ministry, as articulated in Renewing the Vision, with catechesis being the foundation upon which such ministry is developed.
Additionally, the diocesan office exists to provide leadership, resources, services, retreats and conferences for the education, formation and evangelization of youth ministers, young people and parents. We will advocate for the roles and needs of young people in the Church and in society and promote the role of the Church and the Gospel in the lives of youth.
Goals of Comprehensive Catholic Youth Ministry
From Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry
Three interdependent and equally important goals guide the Church's ministry with adolescents. These goals state what it means for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community. They express the Church's focus for ministry with adolescents, while encouraging local creativity in developing the programs, activities, and strategies to reach these goals.
The goals for ministry with adolescents are:
- To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
- To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community.
- To foster the total person and spiritual growth of each young person.
Vital Role of Parish
"The parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to the renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place where God's people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church's life." (Communities of Salt and Light, p.1)
"The most effective catechetical program for adolescents are integrated into a comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth that includes catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service, leadership development, pastoral care, and prayer and worship. Such programs aim to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today; to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community; and to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person." (National Directory for Catechesis, p. 201)
Contact Shawn Gregory, diocesan Coordinator of Youth Ministry, for more information.