Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Youth Ministry Leader References

Re-engaging the Young Church 

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!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE “Re-engaging The Young Church In Parish Life” Document

Returning to Grace: Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R
Some Resources for You … 

“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.

Consider using some of these sessins with your young people
Top 10 Reasons to Go to Mass!

Real Presence: Jesus is Really Present in the Eucharist.  Am I?

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

New Directory for Catechesis

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 GaudiumLaudato 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.

About the New Directory

Video series on the New Directory

Webinar on the New Directory 

Social Media Photos for You

Lenten Resources

Daily Lenten Reflections and more for You 

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

Assorted Resources for Lent 

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 – Several Lenten Resources from St. Mary’s Press that you can download.Lenten Resources – from Loyala Press that you can download and use.

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

Resources from the USCCB
  • Lent 2023 – The USCCB’s page on Lentwith resources, FAQ’s and more
  • Journey to the Foot of the Cross – Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, former chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, offers “10 Things to Remember for Lent”
Lenten Videos and Video Reflections 

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, Prayer and More 
Social Media and more to share

Synod Resources

Youth Ministry Leader Resources for running a Listening Session 
Christus Vivit & the Synod 

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.

Read Christus Vivit by clicking here

Resources from the NFCYM on Christus Vivit

Resources from the USCCB on Christus Vivit

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.

From CRS and NFCYM

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

From St. Mary’s Press

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.
Solidarity eLearning



Responding to Racism

Statements in response to death of Mr. George Floyd

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

Open Wide Our Hearts – Bishops Pastoral Letter 

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.

View the Webinar and Resources by Clicking Here

2 page insert/ summary of Open Wide Our Hearts

Copies of the Pastoral Letter can be found online here or by ordering copies through the USCCB bookstore. 

USCCB Resources on Combating Racism 
Webinars held on Racism with Young Adult Leaders 

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.

Some Blog Posts on Racism 

“Getting Honest and Uncomfortable about Race and Discrimintation”
View the Lifeteen Blog by clicking here

“Healing after Racial Discrimination”
View the Lifeteen Blog by clicking here

“Why We Must Start Talking about Race in our Childrens Ministries”
An article from Group Children’s Ministry 

Prayers For Peace & the Sin of Racism  
Additional Ideas and Responding to Racism 

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).

Understanding Racism – A free lesson on racism by Saint Mary’s PressSocial Justice Resources – Knights of St. Peter Claver

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

Video: What you can do about racial injustice


**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

USCCB Oración para abordar el pecado del racismo

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

Disponibles están el resumen y documento completo

Video: Overcoming racism and injustice

Questions? Contact Us

Rich Donovan

Associate Director, Office for Youth & Young Adult Minisrtry
201-998-0088 ext 4150