February 19, 2014 // Local

YDisciple training coming to diocese

FORT WAYNE — YDisciple is a Catholic Youth Ministry initiative powered by the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colo. It is the institute’s firm conviction that the future of the Church depends on good youth ministry. Future priestly and religious vocations, future marriages and families, future strong Catholics … all grow exponentially when a solid foundation is experienced during the formative teenage years.

Many parishes desire a strong youth ministry program, but scarce finances and limited staff resources make it seem like an elusive goal.

YDisciple offers a solution — one that is possible for every parish in the country, regardless of demographics, financial resources or even staff.

“We advocate an approach to youth ministry that models the strategy of Christ Himself — intentional discipleship,” says the ministry’s website, www.ydisciple.org. “And for such a model to be effective in our modern times, it must engage parents as the primary driver for the overall ministry.”

YDisciple is a process for youth ministry that empowers parishes to bring the vision of the New Evangelization to life through a comprehensive approach to youth ministry that includes adult leader training, curriculum resources, ongoing support and parent resources.

A spirituality retreat, led by YDisciple, will be held March 1, from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Msgr. John Kuzmich Life Center at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne. The retreat is open to all priests, youth ministers, volunteer youth leaders and parents of teens.

Cindy Black, director of diocesan Youth Ministry explained, “Years ago when I first began ministry to high school teens, they wanted to be part of something big — big group, big event, big screen, big music … because their circle of close friends with whom they regularly interacted was relatively small and they desired to see what others were doing, thinking, etc. So we tried to get as many teens to come to events as possible so there was anonymity and they could check things out in non-socially threatening environment.”

“Now with virtually every high school teen having a cell phone and access to social media,” Black added, “they have this huge network of people that they have superficial contact with and spend very little time in face-to-face intimate interactions with peers and adults. Now they long for authentic community.”

Black said, “YDisciples provides a model and resources for filling that need for ongoing meaningful relationships where we come together and share our joys and struggles as Christian community. YDisciple really models the method Jesus and the early Church used for sharing the Gospel.”

An ongoing challenge in youth ministry is finding well-formed adults gifted in teaching aspects of the faith in order to catechize teens. Black said that it is easier to find adults with good hearts, seeking holiness through their relationship with Jesus, to walk the journey with teens.

“YDisciple produces quality resources in teen-friendly formats so adults can spend more time relating to teens and less time preparing a teaching,” Black noted. “YDisciple also emphasizes parents’ responsibility to disciple their own teens and provides resources for them to integrate the Gospel into their home — the domestic Church.”

For more information about the YDisciple retreat, contact Black at [email protected]
or call 260-399-1436 or Aaron Seng at [email protected] or 574-968-2423.

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