Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Youth Ministry Leader References
In September of 2020 the Pew Research Center released data that about a third of teens in the United States identify as religiously unaffiliated, higher than teens’ parents. The number of teen “nones” – those that mostly identify their religion affiliation as “nothing in particular” continue to grow. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the stay at home orders only have helped to add to this growth. Now, almost a year after our parishes were reopened it is time for us all – Youth Workers, Coaches, Scout Leaders and more to look at how are we going to re-engage our young people back into the life of our parishes!
“The Summit,” is Lifeteens Curriculum Guide that leads teenagers into a rich understanding of the Mass, and challenges them to make worship at Mass the source and summit of their lives. A renewed understanding of the liturgy will transform the lives of the teens you serve, as well as transform the life of your parish.
The headlines were alarming: “Only 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence.” A report on a recent survey from the Pew Research Center seemed to indicate that few Catholics accepted this basic doctrine. Many of those who responded to the report pointed accusatory fingers at us, the catechizing church. Take a look at this interesting Journal Article from Sister Kieran Sawyer.
Watch these videos:
Why People Don’t Go To Church
Motivation to Go to Catholic Mass
Fr. Mike Schmitz: “The Hour That Will Change Your Life” | SEEK2015
What if Catholics Find the Mass Boring? (#AskBishopBarron)
5 Ways to Draw Young People Back to God
This summer, the Holy See released its new edition of the Directory for Catechesis, which serves as the Church’s global framework for the evangelization and formation of all people. This edition has been updated with references to Pope Francis’ key works including Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, Amoris Laetitia, and Christus Vivit.
Those working with youth and young adults and pastoral juvenil hispana will find much in the new Directory that is applicable to their ministerial field(s). It is highly recommended that all ministry leaders get a copy.
To guide pastoral leaders as they read through the new Directory, the USCCB has released and continues to produce videos, articles, and resources on this important document.
Busted Halo Pray.Fast.Give Calendar for Lent 2023
Fast, pray, and give with Busted Halo this Lenten season! Their digital Lent calendar shows every day of Lent and Holy Week but doesn’t let you “open” each day and find out what’s behind the picture until that day comes along. Each link will lead you to a special new Lent-themed Daily Jolt and Microchallenge. Click here to learn more
Dynamic Catholic Best Lent Ever
Daily reflections from Matthew Kelly and others from Dynamic Catholic during Lent every day. Click here to sign up and learn more
Formed Daily Lenten Reflections from Dr. Tim Gray
This Lent journey with Dr. Tim Gray by signing up for Daily Lenten Reflections. Each day you will receive in your inbox a short video which features Dr. Gray commenting on the daily Mass readings, explaining the Scriptures, and providing you with concrete ideas on how to apply them to your life. Click here to sign up and learn more
Lenten Resources – Several downloadable PDF’s in English and Spanish from RCL Benzinger that you could possibly use for your program.
Lenten Resources — Downloadable Lenten resources from Sadlier that help disciples of all ages make special efforts to pray, do penance, and do good works
Lenten Resources – Group Children’s Ministry has put together a Lenten activity for families. 40+ days of Jesus-centered family conversations and fun. They’ll help kids and families spend intentional time with Jesus and each other
25 Great Things to Do for Lent – Busted Halo presents 25 ideas you can try this Lenten Season
A Catholic Guide to Holy Week Symbols — Ever wonder what exactly the palm branches used on Palm Sunday represent? Or why the Easter Vigil begins with a fire? This guide explains all of that and more.
Living Lent 2023 — From the Diocese of Des Moines, an array of digital resources designed to support families in their faith journey through Lent, including reflections, printable aids, educational resources, and more.
An Illustrated Guide to the Triduum — Print out and hang up this poster that explains the basics of the Triduum in colorful illustrations!
40 Ideas for 40 Days — Ideas for catechists to use with children during Lent from Catechists Journey
Holy Week in Three Minutes — This video describes the different days throughout Holy Week – focusing on the Triduum – and why Catholic traditions stand as they do.
Go Into the Desert This Lent Looking for a way to “do” Lent a little differently this year? We’re inviting you into the desert: a quiet place with less of us and more of God. The desert offers solitude as well as temptation. And it means something a little different to everyone. Watch this short, meditative video.
Preparing for Lent — In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three pillars of a spiritually fruitful Lent. He then challenges us to try new ways to exercise these Lenten practices, sharing several simple strategies for drawing closer to God during this holy season.
Where Jesus Walked — In this video, learn where Jesus traveled as He spread His word. Explore geographical locations that played important parts in Jesus’ life and ministry, from His birth in Bethlehem to His final walk in Calvary. Recommended viewing for families.
Catholic history of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Lent and Ash Wednesday — The historical roots of Carnival and Mardi Gras lie in the Catholic calendar. It is the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home. Learn about how these are all connected in this video.
This Time of Forty Days — Lent is approaching quickly! In today’s culture and climate, we need every encouragement we can in order to test ourselves, to prove ourselves worthy to be disciples of Christ. Lent is a fantastic opportunity to die to oneself, and learn to cling all the more to Christ, who loves us and gave Himself up on the cross for us. And yet, Lent is not meant to be sad or depressing, but filled with joy. This comedy song is Nick Alexander’s attempt to inject some much needed joy into the Lenten season. May it encourage you and give you laughter!
4 Reasons for Fasting — Why do we fast? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains that it’s not about getting more love and attention from God. Fasting is about self-mastery, discernment, sacrifice, and being a co-redeemer with Jesus. In this video, Fr. Mike dives deeper into these four reasons, helping you make the most of your fasting this Lent
Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes (YouTube Video from BustedHalo) — A brief kinetic type video explaining the what and why of Ash Wednesday and Lent, from the history of wearing ashes dating back to the Old Testament, to the practices of Catholics and Christians during Lent.
The Significance of Ash Wednesday — They may just be ashes, but Fr. Mike points out that what they represent goes far beyond mere dust of the earth. With a simple cross on the forehead, we are recognizing that we are far from perfect, but that God loves and redeems us—not despite our brokenness, but in the midst of it. If you want to start off your Lent with a reminder of Ash Wednesday’s deeper meaning, listen to Fr. Mike’s heartfelt words in this video.
Palm Sunday — Video for teens from Outside Da Box Productions – a reflection on the crucifixion of Jesus and sacrificial love
The Prodigal Son Story — A contemporary rendition of the Prodigal Son Story, good for teens through adults
- Stations of the Cross for Children — Catherine Odell from Loyola Kids Book of Everyday Prayers offers a pdf guide and multimedia presentation of the Stations adapted for children.
- Scriptural Stations of the Cross — Scripted versions based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion
- Virtual Stations of the Cross – Busted Halo has put together a “virtual stations of the cross” that you can pray and or use.
- Busted Halo’s Guide to Confession Busted Halo has put together a Guide to Confession, which explains the Sacrament’s steps so you know what to expect. If it puts you at ease, feel free to print this guide and bring it with you to the confessional.
- Lectio Divina: A Beginner’s Guide Lectio Divina is a way of becoming immersed in the Scriptures very personally. Here’s how to get started.
- Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching — This resource is also available en español.
- Examination of Conscience on Civility — Pope Francis reminds us that in the Gospel of Matthew we are called to be “salt of the earth and light of the world.”
- Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments — A one-page PDF.Examinations of Conscience for various ages — For Children / Young Adults / Married Persons / Single People
- Beginners Guide to Adoration -Lifeteen put together this very simple article for teens
- InstaLent Challenge 2023 – Busted Halo once again is offering their daily Instagram Photo devotional that you join and post photos from their theme of the Day during Lent!
- Pope Francis 10 Tips for Lent – Pope Francis shares 10 tips of things you should during Lent
- Lent Ideas for your Youth Ministry – a Blog Post from the Fuller Institute
These links are for Youth Ministry Leaders looking to run a Listening Session for their Young People (Middle/ High School or even Young Adults)
The Synod on the Young
Many might remember in October of 2015 the Synod of Bishops – or as it was referred to as “The Synod on the Family” took place in Philadelphia, PA and included hundreds of people from around the world gathering with Bishops and the Holy Father to discuss the subject of the Catholic Family and the Church.
In June of 2016 the Holy Father – Pope Francis announced the that the XV General Assembly of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops taking place in October 2018 theme will be “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.
In preparation for this the Vatican released a letter to young people written by Pope Francis discussing the process of the upcoming Synod on Youth and Young Adults. You can READ THE LETTER BY CLICKING HERE .
The Vatican also released a Synod document giving background on the experience of young people today, and the questions for consideration. You can VIEW THIS DOCUMENT HERE.
Two of our Bishops in the United States that are USCCB chairmen – one being our very own Cardinal Tobin and also Archbishop Caput from Chicago released a joint statement in response to the preparatory materials and Pope Francis’ message on the Vatican Synod on “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” You can VIEW THAT RESPONSE HERE !
Pre Synod Meeting Recap
There was a Pre-Synodal Meeting in Rome from 19 to 24 March 2018, to provide the opportunity for young people to produce a document, which expresses their view on the state of things, their ideas, their feelings and their recommendations, to be presented to the Synodal Fathers, who will meet in October 2018 to treat the topic: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. Participating in this meeting were around 300 young people, representing young people from 5 continents.
READ THE Pre Synod Document that was created
Following the Youth Synod, Pope Francis has reflected and prayed upon the outcomes and released his Apostolic Exhortation to Young People entitled “Christus Vivit” – “Christ Lives!”
In a powerful call to all Christian young people the Holy Father encourages them to truly live life to the full, with Christ.
Young people and the Ukraine
With the internet and social media access, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is definitely something our young people are watching unfold and take place right before their eyes. At a click of their cell phone, they can see the stories, videos, and images as they are all taking place. Many of our young people might have questions. We share with you these curated resources to help unpack this ongoing tragedy.
Catholic Relief Services and the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry have shared several resources
A guide to help formation leaders discuss this difficult topic with young people.
Conflict and Youth & CRS Response Ukraine
A list of resources, statements, facts, and how you can help.
Resource List- Ukraine and Ministry Tools
A step-by-step guide as to how you can use your ministry with young people to activate a network of change.
Youth Ministry Toolkit
A guide to keeping young people safe, including a list of best practices.
Youth Safeguarding – CRS Guidance for Working with Minors
How Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are providing support to Ukraine refugees in Moldova.
Ukraine Emergency Response in Moldova
CRS’ Megan Gilbert interviews Caroline Brennan who is on the ground in Moldova as CRS works with our partner Caritas to help refugees seeking safety from the war.
CRS Facebook Live Recording
CRS Facebook Live Recording on YouTube
Catholic Relief Services works with organizations around the world to help poor and vulnerable people overcome emergencies, earn a living through agriculture and access affordable health care.
Main CRS Page
Main CRS Page En Español
St. Mary’s Press has shared several resources that you might find useful.
A prayer service you can edit and use in your parish or school.
Praying with and for the Suffering Body of Christ
Students enjoy participating in guided imagery. Work together to create your own.
Writing a script for a guided meditation
Making Scripture part of our lives is the task of every Christian.
Here are some simple step to help the Word become enfleshed in you.
How to pray with Scripture: Lectio Divina
A list of Scripture references that speak of justice and human dignity.
The Scriptures and Concern for Justice
This eLearning sampler course introduces students’ hearts and minds to the Catholic social teaching theme of solidarity.
- We’ve compiled a listing of various resources for you, your young people and their families as you walk with them during the upcoming Season of Advent.
- Advent Resources from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Various seasonal resources from the USCCB, including the Blessing of Advent Wreaths and Christmas Trees, Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene, Lectio Divina for Advent, Liturgical Notes on Advent, and the ‘O Antiphons’ of Advent.
- Making Advent a more holy season
A Catholic youth minister gives tips to make the season of Advent a more spiritual experience in this Catholic News Service video.
- Advent in 2 Minutes
A quick, two-minute video from Busted Halo that explains why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.
- Blogs Posts from Lifeteen on Advent
Various Blog posts from the past few years from Lifeteen
- Advent ideas and resources
St. Mary’s Press webpage with videos and suggestions for breaking open the Advent Season with teens.
- Advent Resources from RCL Benziger
Free downloadable and printable resources for celebrating the season of Advent from RCL Benziger.
- Advent Resources from Loyola Press
General information about the Advent season, a retreat, activities suitable for different grade levels, and a video reflection on a work of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures.
- Actively Waiting for Advent – Free Prayer Packet
Free prayer resources from Joe Paprocki of Loyola Press
- Journey Joyfully
Check out the variety of Advent resources from Saint Mary’s Press: Advent calendars, community building and outreach ideas, Scripture activities, prayers, and more.
- Seasonal Inspiration and Resources for Catholics
Including “Praying the O Antiphons”, “Sounds of Advent”, “Advent’s Quiet Grace”, “A Time for Watching & Waiting”, “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, along with a few items on celebrating St. Nicholas’ Day. Courtesy of Sadlier Religion.
- Advent Conspiracy Movement
A site dedicated to helping people avoid the consumerism of the Advent season and to focus on the true meaning of the season. A great video is embedded on the site that makes the point!
- Advent Resources from the Catholic Apostolate Center
This resource page includes SonRise Morning audio interviews, videos, a brief history of Advent, and more.
- The Advent Season
A detailed summary of the season of Advent with a list of suggested Advent music from the Catholic Lectionary Website.
- The Returning
A video musical reflection on preparing for Jesus’ coming in glory. Suitable for teens through adults.
- Jesse Tree reflections
Reflections on the Old Testament figures of the Jesse tree for each day of Advent. From Loyola Press.
- Advent Resources from IgnatianSpirituality.com
Ignatian contemplation and reflective prayer can encourage us in the season of Advent; check out these Advent resources in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality.
- Advent Resources from the Jesuit Institute
Various videos, articles, and Advent wreath blessings from the Jesuit Institute.
- Advent & Christmas Prayers & Reflections
Daily prayers and reflections to help you enter into the beauty and splendor of this glorious season.
- Pop-Up Catechesis: Advent Hope
In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, Joe Paprocki explores the joyful season of Advent.
- Advent Prayers for Families
Download and print out a series of Advent Prayers for families from Sadlier Religion.
- Strong Catholic Family Faith: Advent
Curated Advent resources for families and parishes
Responding to Racism
Seven U.S. Bishop that are chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a statement in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests which have broken out in Minneapolis and in other cities in the United States.
Read the full statement
Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued a statement on Mr. George Floyd and the protests in American cities that have taken place over the last several days.
Read the full statement
Cardinal Tobin this past week released a statement of the killing of George Floyd and the protests
Read the full statement here
The bishops of the United States of America, at their November 2018 meeting, approved “Open Wide Our Hearts, the Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.”
NFCYM collaborated with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, the United States Catholic Mission Association, and the USCCB on a series of webinars and resources to help address racism.
You can also watch and discuss the recent webinars on racism and ministry with young adults hosted by the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry (NATYAM) in collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans.
Watch the NATYAM webinar on integrating Open Wide Our Hearts within ministries with young adults (from Feb 2020)
Watch the NATYAM webinar on creating a culture of encounter with young adults across racial and ethnic lines, even in a post-COVID world (from April 2020)
Watch a post-webinar dialogue on race and ministry with young people, addressing additional questions from the April 2020 webinar.
A simple Prayer Service that can be used developed by Catholic Charities USA
Click here to view
Find out what you can do in your local context to combat racism and to take proactive measures to address the systemic racism that might be all around you – in your workplace, in your ministry, in your community, and in your family and at home.
Saint Mary’s Press has compiled a webpage with a listing of Resources for Responding to Racism Saint Mary’s Press has also put together an online eLearning course entitled “Understanding Racism. Learn more by clicking here
Consider a few of the action items and outreach activities provided by the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development (JPHD) on their special website, We Are Salt and Light. Consider also working with one of your local projects connected to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Four Courageous Conversations About Racism and Violence in America Participant Worksheet – from Mustard Seed Consultants
Racism in Our Streets and Structures: a Test of Faith, A Crisis for Our Nation – A webinar from Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life (recording and resources)
Top 5 Lessons from Pastoral Letter Against Racism (VIDEO) – Catholic Mobilizing Network
**NUEVO La justicia de Dios es much mejor por Café con Cristo Radio Show
**NUEVO La Enseñanza Social Católica video y recursos por el USCCB
**NUEVO Recursos por el V Encuentro
Un comunicado sobre George Floyd y las protestas que han sucedido en ciudades de Estados Unidos en los últimos días por el arzobispo José H. Gomez, de Los Ángeles, presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB).
Página de recursos sobre el racismo del USCCB. Algunos recursos disponibles en Español
Documento del Vaticano ‘La Iglesia ante el racismo para una sociedad más fraterna‘
Varias oraciones por la Paz