[Archdiocese of Regina website/Youth Ministry]
Creating Youth Friendly Parishes
Last Updated on April 26, 2012
“Creating a youth friendly parish is not optional,” said Archdiocesan Youth Coordinator Michelle Braden, speaking to a workshop held April 21 in the Chancery Boardroom. Young people often disappear after receiving Confirmation rarely to be seen again in church and that needs to change.
Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan has made the subject a theme in many recent homilies and discussions with parish priests, pastoral councils and other groups and individuals. He believes the Pastoral Plan is a vehicle than can help show the way to reach out to young people and have them become engaged in church life. The Archbishop in a recent letter to all priests encouraged all parishes to develop or extend a program of faith formation for children this Fall.
The April 21 workshop was brought together by Braden to discuss ideas of how young people can become engaged in their faith and parish.
The workshop featured presentations by diocesan youth coordinators from Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina and the Saskatoon Eparchy.
Braden said encouraging youth to become involved should really be called “youth evangelization.” “Jesus showed us that children are to be welcomed, not tolerated,” Braden said in her presentation. “The key to success is our young people have to be loved and valued and they will bring others.”
The workshop discussed various ideas of involving stakeholder groups. They were identified as the usual; Catholic Women’s League, Knights of Columbus, Pastoral Council but other stakeholders identified were seniors’ homes, school boards, music and some even suggested the possibility of a prison ministry. Parents, of course were also included in that group and there were suggestions that sometimes parent’s needs are not addressed. “Parents should be seen as allies. They love their children more than we do,” said Braden. Suggestions were made of offering programs so parents can learn more about their faith along with their children.
There was also a need to raise awareness of what is happening within the parish community. An example was given of a hockey team that provided help to the family of one of their players. “The hockey team did it, not the parish,” suggesting the parish may not have been aware of the family’s plight. There was also a suggestion that opportunities for youth leadership within the parish and reaching out to youth should be encouraged. Recognize success stories and brag about them within the parish. Parishioners should be encouraged to talk to youth not just the people that sit around them in the pews. “Do something out of your comfort zone.” “It’s all about relationships,” said Braden
Participants were encouraged to make a list of ideas and suggestions from the workshop to be used in their own parishes.
Nathan Labatt was in attendance. That’s him with glasses, paper in hand, white shoes and blue plaid shirt over black T-shirt with white lettering .