Faith Formation of Youth and Young Adults

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Middle School and High School Parish Youth Ministry

“Human development and growth in faith is a lifelong journey. Renewing the Vision builds upon the growth nurtured in childhood and provides a foundation for continuing growth in young adulthood. Effective ministry with adolescents provides developmentally appropriate experiences, programs, activities, strategies, resources, content, and processes to address the unique developmental and social needs of young and older adolescents both as individuals and as members of families. This approach responds to adolescents' unique needs, focuses ministry efforts, and establishes realistic expectations for growth during adolescence.”

“The parish community has a special role in promoting participation in the life, mission, and work of the faith community.”

“First, parishes ‘should be a place where [young people] are welcomed, grow in Jesus Christ, and minister side by side with the adults of the community’ (A Message to Youth). In parishes, young people should feel a sense of belonging and acceptance as full-fledged members of the community. Young people are more likely to gain a sense of identity in the community if they are regarded as full-fledged members.”

“Second, parishes ‘should have programs for [young people] that recognize [their] special talents and role in the life of the Church. [They] bring to the parish community youthfulness, energy, vitality, hopefulness, and vision’ (ibid). In parishes, young people need to have a wide variety of opportunities to use their gifts and to express their faith through meaningful roles. They will develop a spirit of commitment within a community only through actual involvement in the many ways the Church exercises and carries out its mission. Especially crucial is the interaction with those who have made a lifetime commitment to serving the Church as priests, sisters, brothers, and deacons; young people need to know that such service is both rewarding and fulfilling.”

“Third, if parishes are to be worthy of the loyalty and active participation of youth, they will need to become ‘youth-friendly’ communities in which youth have a conspicuous presence in parish life. These are parish communities that value young people—welcoming them into their midst; listening to them; responding to their needs; supporting them with prayer, time, facilities, and money. These are parish communities that see young people as resources—recognizing and empowering their gifts and talents, giving them meaningful roles in leadership and ministry, and encouraging their contributions. These are parish communities that provide young people with opportunities for intergenerational relationships—developing relationships with adults who serve as role models and mentors. In short, ‘youth-friendly’ parish communities make a commitment to young people and their growth.” 
        

-- Renewing the Vision, USCCB