Youth Ministry & Catechesis

What is youth ministry?

If Christ is presented to young people as he really is, they experience him as an answer that is convincing and they can accept his message, even when it is demanding and bears the mark of the Cross. For this reason, in response to their enthusiasm, I did not hesitate to ask them to make a radical choice of faith and life and present them with a stupendous task: to become “morning watchmen” (cf. Is 21:11-12) at the dawn of the new millennium. - Pope John Paul II (Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte #9)

Youth ministry seeks to enable young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, to draw them into responsible participation in the life and mission of the Church, and to foster their personal and spiritual growth. 

Youth ministry must include knowledge of the core content of the Catholic faith through comprehensive and substantive catechesis based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

Youth ministry should be able to lead and guide young people to grow in the knowledge of the Catholic faith, in the practice of that faith in light of the principles of Christian morality and social justice, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in the development of their spiritual lives.

(Taken from the National Directory for Catechesis)

What is catechesis?

Catechesis is the transmission of God's Word to invite people to personal faith.

The word catechesis comes from a Greek verb that means to "re-echo" - the emphasis is on transmission, the passing on of a message received. We listen to and accept God's Word and this is the fundamental dynamic of catechetical ministry. It is a ministry in service to God's Word and to the faith of the people.

"This is what I received from the Lord and what I handed on to you."
--St. Paul (1 Cor 11:23)

"The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, 'the mystery of Christ.' Catechizing is in a way to lead a person to study this mystery in all its dimensions: 'to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery...comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth ...know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge...(and be filled) with all the fullness of God.'(Eph. 3:9, 18-19) It is therefore to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God's eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ's actions and words and of the signs worked by Him, for they simultaneously hide and reveal His mystery. Accordingly, the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity."
--Catechesi Tradendae, 5