Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Inaugural Convocation Connects Youth Ministers throughout the Diocese

The Diocesan Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry offered its inaugural convocation for volunteers and employees who minister to young people in various programs throughout the Diocese.

The event drew youth ministers to the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg on Saturday, March 9, for a daylong gathering that included panel discussions, small group discussions, presentations about various aspects of youth ministry, logistics pointers on communications and youth protection, a Holy Hour and a vigil Mass.

Presenters featured Zack Haney, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Rachel Bryson, MS, Executive Director of Public Relations; and Michelle Shae, Safe Environment Director for the Diocese.

“The primary purpose of the event was to bring youth ministry workers from across the Diocese together in one place. Often times, a life of ministry can feel very lonely. I wanted our ministers to see that they are part of a larger community that also includes us here at the Diocese,” Haney said. “That community is ready and willing to hold them up and help them out.”

The presentations on youth protection, communications and various aspects of youth ministry were based on observations Haney made during deanery visits with youth ministers.

“The presentations were based heavily off of things I observed during these meetings. This included topics like areas of struggle, misconceptions they or others had about youth ministry, managing expectations, models for effective ministry, and networking/idea sharing,” Haney explained. “There were also more practical things like Safe Environment training or social media usage. In a world where expectations can run wild, my goal was to bring our ministers back to the basics using the discipleship model that Jesus showed us in the Gospels.”

Haney said he intends that the convocation will be an annual event to help bolster and support the men and women who minister to young people.

“Overall, I hope that the day provided a sense of community for our youth ministers along with an encounter with Christ,” he said. “As adults, we can forget that it is important to look to Christ and allow ourselves to be filled spiritually so we can better feed others. I hope our ministers can go home with a renewed sense of mission and peace.”

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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