Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization

This month’s formation meeting will conclude a six part series on the process of evangelization. The foundation for this series was laid in August with a presentation on “The Mission of the Church.” It gave an overview and introduction to the process of evangelization according to the mind of the Church.

The subsequent sessions have focused on a particular stage in the process of evangelization and drawing out, on a practical level, what these different essential moments look like in youth and campus ministry today.FID

Much of what will be covered during this series will be supplemented by reading Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. As the upcoming topic for each month is introduced we will note sections from this book that correspond with the topic.

This month’s formation is called “Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization” and will be presented by Lindsay McDermott on February 28, 2017. We will begin with Mass and Evening Prayer at 7:30pm.

The full list of topics in the series are as follows:
1. The Mission of the Church (Overview)
2. Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens (Pre-evangelization)
3. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
4. Proclamation of the Gospel through Personal Testimony (Evangelization)
5. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
6. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Post-meeting update (3/1/17): Lindsay was able to share FOCUS’ vision for discipleship and spiritual multiplication. She encouraged us to look ways we can live this out in community and in ministry. Click here for an overview from FOCUS of the path to becoming a spiritual multiplier. What would it take for us to have this kind of impact in youth ministry?

Delivering the Fullness of Faith

At formation meetings we are winding down a six part series on the process of evangelization. The foundation for this series was laid in August with a presentation on “The Mission of the Church.” It gave an overview and introduction to the process of evangelization according to the mind of the Church.

The subsequent sessions are focusing on a particular stage in the process of evangelization and drawing out, on a practical level, what these different essential moments look like in youth and campus ministry today.FID

Much of what will be covered during this series will be supplemented by reading Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. As the upcoming topic for each month is introduced we will note sections from this book that correspond with the topic.

This month’s formation entitled “Delivering the Fullness of Faith” will be presented by our brother Mike Filamor. In preparation for this meeting on January 24, 2017 we encourage everyone to read this selection from Catechesi Tradendae. We will begin with Mass and Evening Prayer at 7:30pm.

The full list of topics in the series are as follows:
1. The Mission of the Church (Overview)
2. Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens (Pre-evangelization)
3. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
4. Proclamation of the Gospel through Personal Testimony (Evangelization)
5. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
6. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Post-meeting update (1/30/17): The presentation from this formation night is available for download in PowerPoint or as a pdf. Mike both showed how catechesis is an essential moment in the process of evangelization and more practically how to determine the essential components of teaching a particular doctrine. The Association for Catechumenal Ministry has a great blog that recaps this process and is a helpful starting place for determining what to teach and some examples.

Proclamation of the Gospel Through Personal Testimony

At formation meetings we are halfway through a six part series on the process of evangelization. The foundation for this series was laid in August with a presentation on “The Mission of the Church.” It gave an overview and introduction to the process of evangelization according to the mind of the Church.

The subsequent sessions are focusing on a particular stage in the process of evangelization and drawing out, on a practical level, what these different essential moments look like in youth and campus ministry today.FID

Much of what will be covered during this series will be supplemented by reading Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. As the upcoming topic for each month is introduced we will note sections from this book that correspond with the topic.

December’s formation night is entitled “Proclamation of the Gospel Through Personal Testimony.” In preparation for this meeting on December 20, 2016 we encourage everyone to read Ch. 8-10 from Forming Intentional Disciples. Please note: due to unforeseen conflicts there will not be Mass at this meeting. We will begin with Evening Prayer at 7:30pm on Tuesday, December 20th.

The full list of topics in the series are as follows:
1. The Mission of the Church (Overview)
2. Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens (Pre-evangelization)
3. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
4. Proclamation of the Gospel through Personal Testimony (Evangelization)
5. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
6. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Apologetics

During formation meetings we are in the midst of a six part series on the process of evangelization. The foundation for this series was laid in August with a presentation on “The Mission of the Church.” It gave an overview and introduction to the process of evangelization according to the mind of the Church.

The other five sessions will focus in particular on each of the stages in the process of evangelization. And we will draw out, on a practical level, what these different essential moments look like in youth and campus ministry today.FID

Much of what will be covered during this series would be supplemented by reading Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. As the upcoming topic for each month is introduced we will note sections from this book that correspond with the topic.

The topic for October’s formation meeting is “Apologetics.” This will be the second night we spend on the stage of pre-evangelization, which encompasses everything prior to proclamation of the Gospel. In preparation for this meeting on October 25, 2016 we encourage everyone to read Ch. 6-7 from Forming Intentional Disciples.

The full list of topics in the series are as follows:
1. The Mission of the Church (Overview)
2. Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens (Pre-evangelization)
3. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
4. Proclamation of the Gospel through personal testimony (Evangelization)
5. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
6. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Post-meeting update (10/28/16): After brief introductory remarks we broke into small groups to spend time talking through ways to handle three typical questions. These discussions bore a lot of fruit in helping us stretch to consider different perspectives or beliefs people may have that would lead to the particular question. There were scenarios in  which simply offering different facts or truths could be seen as a help and others that seemed to required more awareness and understanding before heading down a specific path to answer the proposed question.

There are many questions we could have used but the three we spent time unpacking how to address were:

  • Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest?
  • How do you know God is real?
  • Why does the Church hate gay people?

It was interesting to see how often the discussion steered itself back to an answer to these questions beginning with another question, one that could engage the questioner and hopefully lead to mutual understanding. Ultimately addressing people’s questions is a craft that requires both content and interpersonal insight. This night was a chance to grow in both areas. And we handed out a streamlined listing of these apologetics resources from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology anyone who wanted to strengthen their knowledge to answer these or many other common question about the Faith.

Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens

Over the next couple months during formation meetings we will be taking a deeper look at the process of evangelization. The foundation for this series was laid in August with a presentation on “The Mission of the Church.” It gave an overview and introduction to the process of evangelization according to the mind of the Church.

In upcoming sessions we will focus in particular on each of the stages in the process of evangelization. And we will draw out, on a practical level, what these different essential moments look like in youth and campus ministry today.FID

Much of what will be covered during this series would be supplemented by reading Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. As the upcoming topic for each month is introduced we will note sections from this book that correspond with the topic.

The topic for September’s formation meeting is “Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens.” This will be one of two nights that we will spend on pre-evangelization, which encompasses everything prior to proclamation of the Gospel. In preparation for this meeting on September 27, 2016 we encourage everyone to read Ch. 5 from Forming Intentional Disciples.

The full list of topics in the series are as follows:
1. The Mission of the Church (Overview)
2. Relational Ministry and Building Trust with Teens (Pre-evangelization)
3. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
4. Proclamation of the Gospel through personal testimony (Evangelization)
5. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
6. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Essential Moments in the Process of Evangelization

Summary of our formation topic from August 2016 and the first presentation in our new formation series on the process of evangelization.

Last week’s formation was entitled “The Mission of the Church.” It was the first in a series during which we will reflect on the process of evangelization. Having looked at the underlying principles given by the Church, in upcoming sessions we will focus more practically on what this looks like in youth and campus ministry today.


This first talk was an overview of the Church’s understanding of the process of evangelization and can be summarized in the following 5 points.

1. The Church “exists in order to evangelize”
The Church’s mission flows directly from Christ who gave her it to her before his Ascension (Matthew 28:19-20). Blessed Paul VI expressed this reality when he wrote:

“Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14).

Here we see that evangelization is not one task among many for the Church. It is the reason for her existence. And therefore everything that she does, and everything we do as a community, must be evaluated in light of this mission.

2. This plan is born of the Father’s heart
God the Father desires for us to be united in relationship with him. This is the reason why he created us. Even in the moment of our first sin, he immediately responded, promising a Savior. Time and again he reached out to his people through covenants.

The Son makes the Father’s plan possible. Our salvation, our being brought back into communion with the Father, is possible because of the Incarnation and Paschal Mystery.

The Holy Spirit effects the plan through the Church. In some way, it is not enough that Christ rose from the dead. Grace has to be communicated to us and Christ promised to do so through the Church. In the words of St. Paul:

“To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that ht manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church” (Ephesians 3:8-10).

It is breathtaking, and humbling, and incredibly encouraging to see God’s willingness to allow us to cooperate with his plan for salvation.

3. Evangelization has 5 essential elements
According to the General Directory for Catechesis the essential elements of evangelization are: witness, proclamation, teaching, sacraments, and love of neighbor (GDC 46).

Through witness we are present to people and demonstrate, more through actions than words, a new way of living. Proclamation is sharing the basic Gospel message of God’s love and a call to conversion. Through teaching we make explicit the fullness of what God has revealed in Christ. In the sacraments we have access to the grace won by Christ on the cross and the community is built up. And through growing in love of neighbor people learn to share the love they have received from Christ.

“And while each of these essential elements are crucial, we cannot reduce the dynamism and richness of evangelization which calls for them to be implemented in totality” (GDC 46).

We cannot reduce evangelization to primarily one of these elements. For example, there is the all too popular phrase that St. Francis of Assisi never actually said: “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.”

A singular focus on witness that is ultimately opposed to the proclamation of the Gospel creates a false dichotomy. Of course this is often an overcorrection to the negative reaction garnered when Christ is proclaimed with words separated from a life of witness. In both cases there is a flattening and distortion of the “complex, rich and dynamic reality which is called evangelization” (EN 17).

4. Evangelization unfolds in progressive stages
The essential elements of evangelization follow the basic structure of the Great Commission. “Go (be present and witness), therefore, and make disciples of all nations (proclaim Christ), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (sacraments), teaching (teaching) them to observe all that I have commanded you (love of neighbor).

This postcard was created by our diocesan Office of Youth Ministry to give a visual overview of the stages of evangelization.

The General Directory for Catechesis summarizes this progression: “The process of evangelization…is structured in stages or ‘essential moments’ (Catechesi Tradendae 18): missionary activity directed toward nonbelievers and those who live in religious indifference; initial catechetical activity for those who choose the Gospel and of those who need to complete or modify their initiation; pastoral activity direction toward the Christian faithful of mature faith in the bosom of the Christian community” (49).

These stages are not rites of passage that we complete and, as a result, never revisit. In our practice of youth ministry we must be attentive where our teens are in process of evangelization and accomodate our work with them to help them move toward the next stage. And we must keep in mind that these essential moments “may be repeated, if necessary, as they give evangelical nourishment in proportion to the spiritual growth of each person or of the entire community” (GDC 49).

Developing a greater understanding of each of these stages and discerning how to help our youth and youth communities grow in their relationship with Christ is the main reason for this formation series.

5. Marked by liturgy
Finally, as we seek to help young people come to understand the fullness of truth, we must rely on the fullness of grace communicated to us through the Church’s liturgy. The liturgy is the source and summit of the Church’s life. Therefore we must seek to enliven the grace already given to youth in the sacraments they have received and help them prepare for renewed and deepened encounters of Christ in liturgy.

Formation punctuated by discerned, prayerful moments of commitment is a powerful means for growth in relationship with Christ and community. We have seen this in our own journey of becoming members of Women Youth Apostles. And therefore, whether it is offering a more structured model of stages of commitment such as Catholic Life Communities or CLCs, or simply a focused preparation for encountering Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation or the Eucharist, ultimately we must place our trust in the work and grace of Christ made most directly available in the Church’s liturgy.


In contrast to the popular misquote of St. Francis of Assisi cited above, there is a true quote from him that can inspire our efforts in evangelization.

“Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.”

He was a saint, and as such a person filled with hope and joy. So this is not as much a critique of past action, but an expression of urgency in light of God’s greatness, glory, and the mission given to the Church. So with that in mind we look forward to diving into the following topics for this formation series on the process of evangelization:

  1. Relational ministry and building trust with teens (Pre-evangelization)
  2. Apologetics (Pre-evangelization)
  3. Proclamation of the Gospel through personal testimony (Evangelization)
  4. Delivering the Fullness of the Faith (Catechesis)
  5. Accompanying Teens in Prayer, Charity, and Evangelization (Discipleship)

Mary, Queen of Apostles – pray for us!
St. John Bosco – pray for us!
St. Therese of the Child Jesus – pray for us!

November’s First Tuesday

This month our seminar and discussion topic is “Inviting the Act of Faith” and will be led by Jim Schuster, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Bernadette in Springfield.
With Jim at the helm, we will explore ways in which we can present our teens with what an Act of Faith is from a Catholic perspective, and challenge them to ponder the significance of making an explicit Act of Faith. Jim will also offer us some foundational, practical steps for actually doing this — all within the context of our ongoing conversations this year about the New Evangelization and Evangelii Gaudium.
We look forward to seeing you at Youth Apostles, and as usual, you are very welcome to join us for 7:30 pm Mass, 8:30 pm seminar, and some snacks & fellowship after that. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
 

October’s First Tuesday and Second Saturday Reminders

Just a quick reminder about our monthly youth ministry First Tuesday seminar, which will take place tomorrow, October 7. We look forward to seeing you at the Youth Apostles House! As usual, please join us for 7:30pm Mass, 8:30pm seminar, and refreshments afterwards. Eduardo Azcarate will be leading our discussion focusing on Romans 7: the Flesh vs. the Spirit. We’ll look at how to deal with this struggle in order to grow in virtue, emphasizing to our youth the need to focus on their giftedness and recognize their “fundamental option.”

This month’s Second Saturday topic will be on the “Call to Marriage, Family, and Community.” Mike Paquette will be our speaker. Please read this article on the parents of one of our patron saints (St. Therese, whose feast we just celebrated!), Louis and Zelie Martin. Happy reading! And as always, Mass will begin at 8:30pm, followed by breakfast and formation.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

September 2014 Formation

We look forward to seeing you this Saturday, September 13 for Mass and breakfast followed by formation.  This month’s formation is being led by each of you…your thoughts, prayer, questions, insights on Chapters 2-3 of The Joy of the Gospel (EG 50-175). Here’s a link to the start of that section. Kelly will prepare a brief summary and facilitate the discussion. It is encouraged for everyone to see themselves as bringing something significant to the discussion.

April 2014 Formation

We’re excited to let you know that formation on Saturday, April 12th will be a talk on the vocation to marriage given by our brother in community, Mike Paquette.  In preparation, please read the attached selections from Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World). These attachments are also uploaded onto the shared drive.
 
I was so encouraged by JPII’s humility and great sense of the Lord’s close presence to our lives – at the end of this Apostolic Exhortation he presented the hands and hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and prayed that they would be the ones to open our hearts up to what it contains.  I know more than ever he is praying  that the world’s heart be opened to the Good News the Lord has for us in marriage and family, so I encourage you to spend time with some time with the text.  If you’d like to go even deeper here’s a link to the entire text:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_19811122_familiaris-consortio_en.html
 
Also a reminder that all families from YA and WoYA are invited to Mass followed by a pot-luck dinner at George Mason that evening.  Please contact Brian Abrams if you have not already received the invite.
 
God bless,
Tiffany