Evangelizing Our Youth

“I think in particular of our need to speak to the hearts of young people, who, despite their constant exposure to messages contrary to the Gospel, continue to thirst for authenticity, goodness and truth. Much remains to be done, particularly on the level of preaching and catechesis in parishes and schools, if the New Evangelization is to bear fruit for the renewal of ecclesial life in America.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

I had the privilege of watching and listening to a friend and youth minister share the Gospel with half a dozen teenagers in the RCIT program tonight.

I’m still sort of in shock — not because I was surprised by how authentically and passionately he delivered his message, but by how blown away the teens seemed to be! They were intensely engaged in what he was describing… as if the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a new story. They had admitted less than five minutes before that it was a story they all knew, yet here they were: leaning forward in anticipation, mouths slightly open, and brows furrowed in deep thought.

We broke open Scripture — John 3:16. We discussed the four reasons for the Incarnation (CCC 457-460). He told the story — he shared the Gospel. Then, the real Truth: this is what it’s all about. There is nothing else, this is what matters. He spoke to their hearts, he spoke with authority, and he catechized.

“Authentic catechesis is always an orderly and systematic initiation into the revelation that God has given of Himself to humanity in Christ Jesus, a revelation stored in the depths of the Church’s memory and in Sacred Scripture, and constantly communicated from one generation to the next by a living, active traditio.” (Catechesi Tradendae 22)

I have never seen the faces or heard the almost inaudible gasps as people have heard such a solid Christian witness. I heard their questions and understood their desire to know indisputable Truths, the credibility of our faith, the greatness of Mysteries, and the beauty of the Passion and the Cross. They continue to thirst for authenticity, goodness, and truth.

It’s so beautiful, to see how God can open hearts. Pray that our youth will be open to hearing the Gospel anew, and that the Spirit will give us the words to share what we have been privileged to know!

Our teens are living in darkness. We’ve got work to do. Let’s go, people!!

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The Greatest Teacher

As I continue to study for my teaching certification, I frequently find that my eyes have wandered off my textbook, wondering how these ideas, theories, and methods apply to catechesis and the classroom of the Church.

Specifically, I was studying a unit on learning styles — how students prefer to explore information, complete tasks, and gain knowledge. My first thought was very basic: What are some ways we can incorporate all these very necessary and valid topics for education into our youth ministry programs? Sacramental preparation classes? General religious education? There are so many possibilities for creativity in the classroom, and the Church has a wealth of teaching that our youth need to know!

Then, I realized that the Church has known this all along. She’s brilliant in that fact, knowing that our universality is not just about ethnicity, language, culture, or geography. It’s about age, education, mental development, learning ability, and all the inbetween pieces like intelligences and learning styles.

Our Church is made for learning!Read More »