Christ the Redeemer’s Youth Ministry seeks to create a safe haven for students from grades 6 to 12. This is an age of great struggle, in which we move from passive acceptance of that which is offered to us to deeply-held personal convictions.
Youth need a safe place, free from judgment or unhealthy pressure, to freely wrestle with the big questions: “What is real?” “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “How should I live?”
We seek to offer our youth opportunities for integration and growth.
We live in a time in which youth are incredibly isolated from the rest of society. Schools, movies, music, stores, clothing brands, even foods are offered to our youth as if they are a separate culture that runs parallel to the broader culture. It is little wonder that youth and adults are so unable to understand each other. We do not wish to feed into this unhealthy separation by creating “youth church.” Rather, we seek special, age-appropriate opportunities to help our youth to take their place in the life of the larger church. Our youth participate in ministry side-by-side with our adults in several ministry areas, including:
- Liturgical Ministry (Acolytes, Crucifers, Thurifers, Altar Guild, etc.)
- Ministry to younger children
- Church Government (Youth Delegate at Synod)
Junior High Youth Group
Students in grades 6-8 meet together every other Sunday afternoon in a home setting. After a short presentation or Bible study, they have an extended period of time to creatively respond to what they have heard and received, and end with a student-led time of worship.
Training for Godliness: The Catechumenate for Youth
Starting in the beginning of 9th grade, students are invited into an intentional time of spiritual training, designed to prepare youth for a lifetime of following Jesus as adults, and for the Sacrament of Confirmation, in which they are invited to make that adult commitment late in high school.
Each youth is invited to develop a relationship with a mentor. The mentor is a friend and guide whose character and Christian commitment are trusted by youth, parents, and priests alike. Mentors meet regularly with youth throughout this time of training to study the Scriptures, pray, and talk through the questions and challenges that arise in these years.
This training period also involves some specific challenges, opportunities for youth to spread their wings and try things they have never tried before. There are three kinds of challenges:
- UP: Aiming to strengthen our personal relationship with God
- IN: Aiming to contribute to the renewal of our minds with the truth
- OUT: Aiming to love our neighbors through acts of service and sharing our faith
Some of these challenges may be done individually, but youth are also invited to meet together to brainstorm what challenges to do together as a group and to begin working toward those challenges. While guidance is given, youth are given considerable freedom to choose, plan, and execute these challenges.
Here are some comments from Father Brian:
"Youth ministry had a major influence on my life. In Junior and Senior High School, I enjoyed youth pastors and volunteers who took a personal interest in my life. I knew that these people truly and personally cared about me. The relationships of trust that developed made them very influential characters as I went through those years of discovery and decision. They helped to set my life on a healthy and exciting course.”
"When I graduated high school, I began volunteering to serve in youth ministry virtually immediately, and have never stopped. My hope for our entire youth ministry is that we can be a caring presence that our youth can count on, and that we can somehow help them navigate through these exciting and formative years and prepare for a lifetime of following Jesus.”