Part One: The Growth and Development of the Church's Ministry with Adolescents
Part Two: Goals for Ministry with Adolescents
Part Three: Themes and Components for a Comprehensive Ministry with Adolescents
- Goal 1: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
- Goal 2: To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community.
- Goal 3: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
Part Four: A Guiding Image for Ministry with Adolescents
For the Spanish translation, "Renovemos la Visión," click "En Español" on the tool bar above.
Part One: The Growth and Development of the Church's Ministry with Adolescents
Signs of Hope
One of the most hopeful signs over the past two decades in the Catholic
Church in the United States has been the renewal of ministry with
A Vision of Youth Ministry initiated a transformation in the
Church's thinking and practice that has matured over the past two
decades. It emphasized the following aspects of ministry with
- Ministerial and pastoral. The pastoral, integrated
vision of Church, expressed through the eight components (ministries of
advocacy, cate-chesis, community life, evangelization, justice and
service, leadership development, pastoral care, and prayer and worship)
was grounded in a contemporary understanding of the mission and ministry
of Jesus Christ and his Church. A Vision of Youth Ministry made
it quite clear that ministry with young people was integral to the life
of the Church. Far from peripheral to the Church's concern, ministry
with adolescents was essential for helping the Church realize its
mission with its young members.
- Relational. Effective ministry with adolescents was built on relationships. The central place of the Emmaus story in A Vision of Youth Ministry demonstrated the primacy of relationships and of discovering God within those relationships.
- Goal-centered. In articulating two primary goals for ministry, A Vision of Youth Ministry
gave specific direction while encouraging leaders in local communities
to create a variety of ways to reach their goals. There was no longer
one way to minister to adolescents.
- Multidimensional. An effective ministry incorporated
eight components with their program activities so that the needs of all
the young people could be addressed and the resources of the community
could be wisely used. This multidimensional approach was a needed
response to social-only, athletics-only or religious education-only
- Holistic and developmental. A Vision of Youth Ministry
proposed an approach that attended to a wide spectrum of adolescent
needs and that was attuned to the distinct developmental, social,
cultural, and religious needs of adolescents.
A Vision of Youth Ministry
- People-centered and needs-focused. A Vision of Youth Ministry
focused on young people. It encouraged an approach designed to address
the particular needs of young people in their communities. A Vision of Youth Ministry
did not recommend program models or specific activities, recognizing
that the day had passed when one program structure could respond to all
the needs of youth.
was the catalyst for a dramatic
increase in new and innovative pastoral practice with adolescents. Since
the late 1970s, the Church has seen the growth of multidimensional
parish youth ministries throughout the country, the emergence of the
role of parish coordinators of youth ministry and Catholic high school
campus ministers, the development and widespread availability of high
quality youth ministry training programs and youth leadership training
programs, an increase in the number of quality youth ministry resources,
attention to the needs of families with adolescents, and expansion of
the scope of ministry to include young and older adolescents.
We are very encouraged to see that the renewal of ministry with
adolescents has had a positive impact on the lives of young people. The
1996 study of parish youth ministry program participants, New Directions in Youth Ministry
offers the first data on a national level specifically on Catholic
youth ministry. The study is good news for the Church because it shows
that adolescents who participate in parish youth ministry programs
identify faith and moral formation as a significant contribution to
their life, have a profound sense of commitment to the Catholic Church,
attend Sunday Mass regularly, and show continued growth while they
remain involved in youth programs. These are positive signs that the
Church's investment in ministry with adolescents is making a difference
in their lives and in the life of the Church.1
A New Moment
Two decades after the publication of A Vision of Youth Ministry
, the Church's ministry with adolescents is confronted by three new challenges.
First, the changes in our society present the Church with a new set of
issues. We are deeply concerned by America's neglect of young people.
The United States is losing its way as a society by not ensuring that
all youth move safely and successfully into adulthood. All across
America, far too many young people are struggling to construct their
lives without an adequate foundation upon which to build. We are also
concerned about the consequences of the social and economic forces
affecting today's families. The effects of consumerism and the
entertainment media often encourage a culture of isolation. Far too many
families lack sufficient time together and the resources to develop
strong family relationships, to communicate life-giving values and a
religious faith, to celebrate family rituals, to participate in family
activities, and to contribute to the well-being of their community. Too
many communities do not provide the economic, social service, and human
development infrastructure necessary for promoting strong families and
positive adolescent development.2
These new challenges can point to new opportunities for ministry. The
Church's ministry with adolescents and their families has an important
contribution to make in building healthy communities and in providing
the developmental and relational foundation essential to a young
person's healthy development. We need a vision and strategy that
addresses these contemporary challenges.
Second, new research has provided insight into the factors that make for
healthy adolescent development. Through its surveys with more than a
quarter of a million adolescents in 450 communities across the United
States, the Search Institute, a research organization dedicated to
promoting the well-being and positive development of children and
adolescents, has identified forty essential building blocks or assets
for positive adolescent development, reflecting the extensive literature
on child and adolescent development, resiliency, youth development, and
substance abuse prevention. These forty building blocks3
include external assets
provided by the community through families, schools, churches, and organizations, and internal assets
developed within the adolescent (e.g., commitment to learning, positive
values, social skills, and positive identity). The Search Institute
research on asset-building indicates that
- asset development begins at birth and needs to be sustained throughout childhood and adolescence;
- asset building depends on building positive relationships
with children and adolescents, and requires a highly consistent
community in which they are exposed to clear messages about what is
- families can and should be the most powerful generators of developmental assets;
- assets are more likely to blossom if they are nurtured
simultaneously by families, schools, youth organizations, neighborhoods,
religious institutions, health care providers, and in the informal
settings in which adults and youth interact;
- everyone in a community has a role to play.
This model of healthy adolescent development offers practical direction
for the Church's ministry today and in the future. Ministry with
adolescents will need to be more comprehensive and community-wide to
take full advantage of the opportunities presented by this research.
Third, the continuing development of the Church's understanding and practice of ministry since the publication of A Vision of Youth Ministry
in the late 1970s needs to be incorporated into a contemporary vision
and strategy for ministry with adolescents today. The following
publications provide a foundation upon which to build this enriched and
expanded vision and strategy: The Challenge of Adolescent Catechesis: Maturing in Faith
(NFCYM, 1986), The Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization: Called to Be Witnesses and Storytellers
(NFCYM, 1993), A Family Perspective in Church and Society
(USCC, 1988), Putting Children and Families First
(USCC, 1991), Follow the Way of Love
(USCC, 1994), Communities of Salt and Light
(USCC, 1993), and A Message to Youth: Pathway to Hope
In order to respond to these challenges and opportunities, the Church's
ministry with adolescents needs to enter a new stage in its development.
Renewing the Vision
is a blueprint for the continued development
of effective ministry with young and older adolescents. Its expanded
vision and strategy challenges leaders and their faith communities to
address these challenges and to invest in young people today. We are
confident that the Catholic community will respond by utilizing our
considerable creativity, energy, and resources of ministry with
adolescents. We are writing to inspire parish, school, and diocesan
leaders to continue the fine tradition begun by A Vision of Youth Ministry
—a tradition that continues to give birth to effective ministry with new generations of young people.
Part Two: Goals for Ministry with Adolescents
As leaders in the field of the youth apostolate, your
task will be to help your parishes, dioceses, associations, and
movements to be truly open to the personal, social, and spiritual needs
of young people. You will have to find ways of involving young people in
projects and activities of formation, spirituality, and service, giving
them responsibility for themselves and their work, and taking care to
avoid isolating them and their apostolate from the rest of the ecclesial
community. Young people need to be able to see the practical relevance
of their efforts to meet the real needs of people, especially the poor
and neglected. They should also be able to see that their apostolate
belongs fully to the Church's mission in the world (cf. Pope John Paul
II, Christ Invites, Reveals and Sends
Three interdependent and equally important goals guide the Church's ministry with adolescents.4
These goals state what it means for the Catholic community to respond
to the needs of young people and to involve
young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community.
They express the Church's focus for ministry with adolescents, while
encouraging local creativity in developing the programs, activities, and
strategies to reach these goals.
Goal 1: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
Ministry with adolescents helps young people learn what it means to
follow Jesus Christ and to live as his disciples today, empowering them
to serve others and to work toward a world built on the vision and
values of the reign of God. As we wrote in A Message to Youth:
As a baptized member of the Church, Jesus Christ calls you
to follow in his footsteps and make a difference in the world today. You
can make a difference! . . . In the words of the Holy Father: "Offer
your youthful energies and your talents to building a civilization of
Christian love . . . commit yourself to the struggle for justice,
solidarity, and peace" (Homily at World Youth Day, Denver, 1993).
The challenge of discipleship—of following Jesus—is at the heart of the Church's mission. All
ministry with adolescents must be directed toward presenting young
people with the Good News of Jesus Christ and inviting and challenging
them to become his disciples.
For this reason, catechesis is an
essential component of youth ministry and one that needs renewed
emphasis. If we are to succeed, we must offer young people a spiritually challenging and world-shaping vision
that meets their hunger for the chance to participate in a worthy adventure
. In the words of the Holy Father:
This is what is needed: a Church for young people, which
will know how to speak to their heart and enkindle, comfort, and inspire
enthusiasm in it with the joy of the Gospel and the strength of the
Eucharist; a Church which will know how to invite and to welcome the
person who seeks a purpose for which to commit his whole existence; a
Church which is not afraid to require much, after having given much;
which does not fear asking from young people the effort of a noble and
authentic adventure, such as that of the following of the Gospel (John
Paul II, 1995 World Day of Prayer for Vocations).
We are confident that young people will commit themselves totally to
Jesus Christ, who will ask everything from them and give everything in
return. We need to provide concrete ways by which the demands,
excitement, and adventure of being a disciple of Jesus Christ can be
personally experienced by adolescents—where they tax and test their
resources and where they stretch their present capacities and skills to
the limits. Young people need to have a true opportunity for exploring
what discipleship ultimately involves. This should include a partnership
between youth ministers and the Diocesan Offices of Vocations and
Family Life, offering young people an understanding of vocation that
includes Christian marriage, generous single life, priesthood, religious
life, diaconate, and lay ministry. Young people need to know and be
known by the Church's ministers if they are to better understand how God
is calling them to live as disciples. Faith-filled example by these
ministers and active encouragement and invitations to consider a
vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life will enable more to
respond. Our young people will become truly convinced that "No one has
greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn
15:13). Growth in discipleship is not about offering a particular
program; it is the goal
of all our efforts.
Goal 2: To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community.
Young people experience the Catholic community of faith at home, in the
parish (especially in youth ministry programs), in Catholic schools, and
in other organizations serving youth. Ministry with adolescents
recognizes the importance of each of these faith communities in helping
young people grow in faith as they experience life in community and
actively participate in the mission of Jesus Christ and his Church.
The Family Community—the Church of the Home
In Follow the Way of Love we wrote, "A family is our first
community and the most basic way in which the Lord gathers us, forms us,
and acts in the world" (p. 8). We believe that family life is sacred
because family relationships confirm and deepen family members' union
with God and allow God's Spirit to work through them. The profound and
ordinary moments of daily life are the threads from which families can
weave a pattern of holiness. In Follow the Way of Love, we called
families "to create a community of love, to help each other to grow,
and to serve those in need" (ibid). We identified this work as a
"participation in the work of the Lord, a sharing in the mission of the
Church" (ibid). Adolescents need to experience the Catholic faith at
home and participate in the Lord's mission with their families.
Adolescents enhance family life with their love and faith. The new
understandings and skills they bring home from parish and school
programs can enrich family life. Their growth in faith and active
participation in parish life can encourage the entire family to make the
Catholic faith central in their lives. The Church can contribute
significantly toward strong, life-shaping families for young people by
equipping, supporting, and encouraging families with adolescents to
engage in family faith conversations; to teach moral values; to develop
healthy relationships and use good communication skills; to celebrate
family rituals; to pray together; to participate in shared service
activities; to explore and discuss vocations to the priesthood and
consecrated life; and to nurture close parental relationships and
parental faith. One of the most important tasks for the Church today is
to promote the faith growth of families by encouraging families to
share, celebrate, and live their faith at home and in the world.
The Parish Community
The parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are
communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the Gospel
is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to
renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they
are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place where God's people
meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of
the Church's life (Communities of Salt and Light, p. 1).
The parish community has a special role in promoting participation in the life, mission, and work of the faith community.
First, parishes "should be a place where [young people] are welcomed,
grow in Jesus Christ, and minister side by side with the adults of the
community" (A Message to Youth). In parishes, young people should
feel a sense of belonging and acceptance as full-fledged members of the
community. Young people are more likely to gain a sense of identity in
the community if they are regarded as full-fledged members.
Second, parishes "should have programs for [young people] that recognize
[their] special talents and role in the life of the Church. [They]
bring to the parish community youthfulness, energy, vitality,
hopefulness, and vision" (ibid). In parishes, young people need to have a
wide variety of opportunities to use their gifts and to express their
faith through meaningful roles. They will develop a spirit of commitment
within a community only through actual involvement in the many ways the
Church exercises and carries out its mission. Especially crucial is the
interaction with those who have made a lifetime commitment to serving
the Church as priests, sisters, brothers, and deacons; young people need
to know that such service is both rewarding and fulfilling.
Third, if parishes are to be worthy of the loyalty and active
participation of youth, they will need to become "youth-friendly"
communities in which youth have a conspicuous presence in parish life.
These are parish communities that value young people—welcoming them into
their midst; listening to them; responding to their needs; supporting
them with prayer, time, facilities, and money. These are parish
communities that see young people as resources—recognizing and
empowering their gifts and talents, giving them meaningful roles in
leadership and ministry, and encouraging their contributions. These are
parish communities that provide young people with opportunities for
intergenerational relationships—developing relationships with adults who
serve as role models and mentors. In short, "youth-friendly" parish
communities make a commitment to young people and their growth.
The Catholic School Community
As a faith community, Catholic schools provide young people with
opportunities to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith, to
experience life in a Christian community, to participate actively in the
mission of Jesus Christ and his Church, and to celebrate their Catholic
faith. Catholic schools create a living faith community in which young
people are empowered to utilize their gifts and talents and to live
their faith through a variety of meaningful roles in the school, the
parish, and in the Church at large. Catholic schools provide a unique
opportunity for young people to experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and to bring Catholic beliefs and values into their lives and the world.
Campus ministry provides an essential element in the ministerial life
of the Catholic school community and campus ministry fosters the faith
development of young people and the entire school community through
effective religious education and a variety of programs and activities,
such as service projects, retreats, prayer services and liturgies,
spiritual formation programs, leadership training, peer ministry, and
vocation ministry that includes education, encouragement, and
In partnership with parents and parishes, Catholic schools prepare young
people to become full and active members of the Catholic Church.
Families, parishes, and Catholic schools continuously need to find ways
to strengthen this partnership so that the lives of all young people are
enriched and the resources of the Catholic community are wisely used.
Some of these activities can be adapted for parish youth ministry.
The Youth-Serving Organizational Community
Catholic leaders in certain youth-serving organizations,5
both within and outside of parishes, have a unique opportunity of
reaching Catholic adolescents and bringing them into communion with the
greater Catholic community. Through church-developed religious programs
and activities, Catholic lay leaders and chaplains/moderators guide
youth and act as mentors in their faith development, particularly in
learning the gospel message and the basic teachings of the Church. These
organizations are communities that help young people deepen their
relationship with God and develop a spirit of joyful giving. These
organizations afford an environment where adolescents can learn and can
practice leadership skills and can focus on ethical decision making.
Often, these organizations are able to reach at-risk youth and to
provide much needed care and support. Wherever possible, it is important
that these organizations provide adolescents the opportunity to
participate in the life of their parish and diocese.
Goal 3: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
Ministry with adolescents promotes the growth of healthy, competent,
caring, and faith-filled Catholic young people. The Church is concerned
for the whole person, addressing the young people's spiritual needs in
the context of his or her whole life. Ministry with adolescents fosters
positive adolescent development and growth in both Christian
discipleship and Catholic identity. Promoting the growth of young and
older adolescents means addressing their unique developmental, social,
and religious needs and nurturing the qualities or assets necessary for
positive development. It also means addressing the objective
obstacles to healthy growth that affect the lives of so many young
people, such as poverty, racial discrimination, and social injustice, as
well as the subjective obstacles to healthy growth such as the
loss of a sense of sin, the influence of values promoted by the secular
media, and the negative impact of the consumer mentality.
Research and pastoral experiences have demonstrated that there are
particular assets—knowledge, values, skills, and commitments—that can
make a significant difference in promoting the faith development of
young and older adolescents. These assets focus our ministry by naming
what the Church seeks to achieve in the lives of young people. They
provide specific directions for effective pastoral practice that is
guided by the three goals. These assets are nurtured in the home, in the
Catholic school, in the parish community, and in the community at large
through schools and organizations. We offer the following assets as a
foundation for healthy faith development and growth in adolescents.6
They are not intended as a final statement, but rather a solid guide to
nurturing adolescent faith development and achieving the Church's
The Church's ministry with adolescents seeks to
- guide young people in the call to holiness by developing a
personal relationship with Jesus Christ by meeting him in the
Scriptures, in the life and teachings of the Catholic Church, and in
their own prayer lives;
- empower young people with the knowledge and skills for active
participation in the life and ministries of the Church, including a
compre- hensive and substantive catechesis based on the catechism of the
- nurture in young people positive, Catholic values of love,
honesty, courage, peace and nonviolence, fidelity, chastity, generosity,
tolerance, respect for life from conception to natural death, care and
compassion, service to those in need, equality, social justice,
integrity, responsibility, and community;
- help young people apply their Catholic faith to daily life
experiences, nurture in young people a lifelong commitment to the
Catholic faith, guiding them in developing a personal faith and skills
for continuing their growth as Catholics;
- empower young people to live the moral and theological virtues and apply these virtues in making moral decisions;
- develop the biblical and doctrinal literacy of young people
and a deeper appreciation for the importance of the Scriptures and the
teachings of the Church in the Christian life;
- foster development of a personal spirituality and prayer life in young people;
- nurture in young people an understanding of and active
participation in the sacramental life of the Church, especially the
- help young people recognize that the Catholic faith calls them to work for justice and to defend human dignity;
- empower young people to serve those in need, to develop
skills that foster social changes to secure justice and equality for
every human being, and to live a life of Christian service modeled on
- empower young people to become healers and reconcilers when conflicts arise, to pursue peace, and to become peaceful persons;
- promote an understanding of and respect for people who are
different from the young people—different cultures, different languages,
different faiths, different ages—and develop the attitudes and skills
for overcoming racial and ethnic prejudices as i
- individuals and members of society;
- develop young people's critical thinking skills that empower
them to analyze contemporary life and culture in light of the Good News
of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church;
- promote Catholic sexual values and attitudes and the importance of valuing chastity and sexual restraint;
- promote positive self-image in young people, including an
appreciation of one's ethnic culture, a sense of self-esteem, a sense of
purpose in life, a positive view of one's personal future, and a humble
acceptance of one's self as lovable and loved by God and others;
- develop the life skills of adolescents including the skills
for entering into and maintaining meaningful friendships, planning and
decision-making skills, life-planning skills, appreciation and
understanding of a variety of cultures, and peaceful conflict resolution
- help young people recognize the movement of the Holy Spirit
in their lives and discern their particular Christian vocation in the
world—in the workplace, in marriage or single life, in the priesthood or
consecrated life, or in the permanent diaconate;
- cultivate the gifts and talents of young people, and empower
them to utilize these gifts and talents in leadership and ministry in
the Church and community including peer ministry and intergenerational
Part Three: Themes and Components for a Comprehensive Ministry with Adolescents
Comprehensive Ministry with Adolescents—It Takes a Whole Church7
Since the 1970s, the Church has learned a great deal about ministry with
adolescents. Through the hard work of countless leaders in parishes,
schools, and dioceses across the United States, we have discovered
effective approaches, strategies, programs, and activities. We also have
learned that no one strategy, activity, or program is adequate to the
task of promoting the three goals for ministry with adolescents and that
families, parishes, and schools cannot work in isolation if the Church
is to realize its goals. We have learned that it takes the entire Church
to achieve the three goals we have established for ministry with
Today, we propose a framework for integrating the Church's ministry with
adolescents that incorporates a broader, expanded, and more
comprehensive vision. First articulated in A Vision of Youth Ministry
and developed more fully over the past two decades, the comprehensive
approach is a framework for integration rather than a specific model.
The comprehensive approach is not a single program or recipe for
ministry. Rather, it provides a way for integrating ministry with
adolescents and their families into the total life and mission of the
Church, recognizing that the whole community is responsible for this
ministry. The comprehensive approach uses all of our resources as
a faith community—people, ministries, programs—in a common effort to
promote the three goals of the Church's ministry with adolescents. The
goals for ministry with adolescents help to keep our vision focused on
the objectives. The themes provide a continuous thread that ensures that
ministry with adolescents utilizes all available resources and is
all-inclusive. The components highlight specific areas of ministry for a
comprehensive approach. By offering this framework, we seek to provide
direction to the Church's ministry and to affirm and encourage local
The comprehensive framework for ministry with adolescents is designed to
- utilize each of the Church's ministries—advocacy,
catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service,
leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and worship—in an
integrated approach to achieving the three goals for ministry with
- provide developmentally appropriate programs and activities
that promote personal and spiritual growth for young and older
- enrich family life and promote the faith growth of families of adolescents;
- incorporate young people fully into all aspects of church
life and engage them in ministry and leadership in the faith community;
- create partnerships among families, schools, churches, and
community organizations in a common effort to promote positive youth
Themes of a Comprehensive Vision
Human development and growth in faith is a lifelong journey. Renewing the Vision
builds upon the growth nurtured in childhood and provides a foundation
for continuing growth in young adulthood. Effective ministry with
adolescents provides developmentally appropriate experiences, programs,
activities, strategies, resources, content, and processes to address the
unique developmental and social needs of young and older adolescents
both as individuals and as members of families. This approach responds
to adolescents' unique needs, focuses ministry efforts, and establishes
realistic expectations for growth during adolescence. The assets
proposed at the conclusion of Part Two are offered as a way to promote
developmentally appropriate growth during adolescence.
Ministry with adolescents recognizes that the family has the primary
responsibility for the faith formation of young people and that the
parish and Catholic school share in it. The home is a primary context
for sharing, celebrating, and living the Catholic faith, and we are
partners with parents in developing the faith life of their adolescent
children. The Church can contribute significantly toward strong,
life-shaping families for young people (see Goal Two). The changes in
family life, such as the increasing diversity in family structure, the
pressures of family time and commitments, and the changing economic
situation, challenge us to respond to family needs and to develop a
variety of approaches, programs, activities, and strategies to reach out
The home is the Domestic Church, the "first and vital cell of society,"
the primary educators of faith and virtues. Since the family is the
first place where ministry to adolescents usually occurs, the Church is
at the service of parents to help them enliven within their children a
knowledge and love for the Catholic faith.
The family has the mission to "guard, reveal, and communicate love." The
family is the central place where the community of life and love are
celebrated. Therefore, the Church's ministry with adolescents should
lead young people into a deeper faith life within their own families. In
other words, ministry with adolescents should not take adolescents away
from the family, but rather foster family life.
Ministry with adolescents becomes family friendly by incorporating a
family perspective into all parish and school policies, programs, and
activities so that all ministry enriches family life in a way that
affirms the sacramentality of Christian marriage and the mission of
Christian marriage and the mission of the Catholic family in today's
world and also is sensitive to the reality of families today. Ministry
with adolescents also helps families at home, individually, and with
other families by providing programs, activities, resources, and
strategies designed to enrich and to promote family life and faith.
Ministry with adolescents recognizes the importance of the
intergenerational faith community in sharing faith and promoting healthy
growth in adolescents. Meaningful involvement in parish life and the
development of intergenerational relationships provide young people with
rich resources to learn the story of the Catholic faith experientially
and to develop a sense of belonging to the Church. Ministry with
adolescents can incorporate young people into the intergenerational
opportunities already available in the parish community, identify and
develop leadership opportunities in the parish for young people, and
create intergenerational support networks and mentoring relationships.
Age-specific programs can be transformed into intergenerational
programming and new intergenerational programs that incorporate young
people can be developed.
Adolescents today are growing up in a culturally diverse society. The
perceived image of the United States has shifted from a melting pot to a
multihued tapestry. The strength and beauty of the tapestry lie in the
diverse colors and textures of its component threads—the values and
traditions claimed by the different racial and ethnic groups that
constitute the people of the United States. Ministry with adolescents is
multicultural when it focuses on a specialized ministry to youth of
particular racial and ethnic cultures and promotes multicultural awareness among all youth.
First, ministry with adolescents recognizes, values, and responds to the
diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and experiences that exist
among adolescents and develops culturally responsive and inclusive
programming to address these needs. A fully multicultural approach to
positive adolescent development and faith growth views ethnicity and
culture as core features of identity and behavior. It helps youth
identify and explore their own ethnic roots and cultural expressions in
order to understand their own and others' ethnic practices. It
recognizes that the specific content of adolescent tasks and
competencies varies by culture, such as the way young people attain
individual autonomy. It also recognizes the impact that family ethnicity
has on adolescent development in areas such as decision making and
social relationships. Ministry with adolescents helps young people
develop their identity by affirming and utilizing the values and
traditions of their ethnic cultures. Specifically, it welcomes and
empowers all young people; it develops leaders who reflect the
ethnic characteristics of the programs' participants; it trains all
staff to be competent culturally; it includes young people and their
families on advisory councils; and it develops program content that is
culturally appropriate and relevant to the needs of participants. In
stressing with our young Catholics the importance of multicultural
awareness, and awareness of difference and diversity, we should take
care to balance this awareness with the concept of their belonging to a
universal Church, that is, with the concept of unity in diversity that characterizes the universal Church.
Second, all ministry with adolescents needs to incorporate ethnic
traditions, values, and rituals into ministerial programming; teach
about the variety of ethnic cultures in the Catholic Church; provide
opportunities for crosscultural experiences; and foster acceptance and
respect for cultural diversity. This approach helps young people learn
about, understand, and appreciate people with backgrounds different from
their own. Ministry with adolescents needs to counteract prejudice,
racism, and discrimination by example, with youth themselves becoming
models of fairness and nondiscrimination. In addition, programs in
racism and oppression awareness are needed to foster effective
communication skills in a multicultural context and to help young people
develop skills for dealing with and overcoming social barriers to
The Church's concern for the civic community includes advocacy on behalf
of young people when public issues that affect their lives need to be
addressed. Ministry with adolescents involves creating healthier civic
communities for all young people. This involves networking with leaders
in congregations of diverse faith traditions, public schools,
youth-serving agencies, and community organizations to nurture a shared
commitment to promoting healthy adolescent development and a healthy
community; to develop mutual respect and understanding; to share
resources; and to plan community-wide efforts and programs. Building
these relationships can open doors for sharing resources and
co-sponsoring training, programs, and advocacy efforts. Community-wide
efforts are needed to serve the marginalized young people who lack the
support and nurture of congregations and community and who are often the
most vulnerable in our community. Community collaboration means
building partnerships among families, schools, churches, and
organizations that mobilize the community in a common effort to build a
healthier community life and to promote positive adolescent development.
Ministry with adolescents mobilizes all of the resources of the
faith community in a comprehensive and integrated approach: "Part of the
vision of youth ministry is to present to youth the richness of the
person of Christ, which perhaps exceeds the ability of one person to
capture, but which might be effected by the collective ministry of the
many persons who make up the Church" (A Vision of Youth Ministry, p. 24). This approach involves a wide diversity of adult and
youth leaders in a variety of roles necessary for comprehensive
ministry. Ministry coordinators have a central role in facilitating the
people, programming, and resources of the faith community on behalf of a
comprehensive ministry effort with adolescents. Coordination is
stewardship—overseeing the resources of the community so that they are
used wisely in ministry with adolescents. Ministry coordinators alert
the whole community to its responsibility for young people, draw forth
the community's gifts and resources, and encourage and empower the
community to minister with young people. Of special importance to
effective ministry with adolescents is cooperation among the leaders,
ministries, and programs in a faith community as they work together in a
common effort to achieve the three goals of the Church's ministry with
Flexible and Adaptable Programming
Ministry with adolescents creates flexible and adaptable program
structures that address the changing needs and life situations of
today's young people and their families within a particular community.
The comprehensive approach incorporates the following elements in
developing ministry programming for adolescents:
- a diversity of program settings
- age-specific programs for young and older adolescents
- family-centered programs for the entire family, for parents,
for foster parents, for grandparents raising children, adolescents
- intergenerational parish programs
- community-wide programs
- a balanced mix of programs, activities, and strategies that
address the eight components of comprehensive ministry described in the
- a variety of approaches to reach all adolescents and their families, including parish, school, and community-wide programs
- small-group programs and small ecclesial community experiences
- home-based programs, activities, and resources
- one-on-one and mentoring programs and activities
- independent or self-directed programs
- a variety of scheduling options and program settings to
respond to the reality of the busy lives and commitments of adolescents
and their families
- use of current technology to facilitate communication in program development and implementation
Components of a Comprehensive Ministry
Ministry with adolescents utilizes each of the Church's
ministries—advocacy, catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice
and service, leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and
worship—in an integrated approach to achieve the three goals for
ministry, discussed in Part Two.8 First articulated in A Vision of Youth Ministry,
these ministry components describe the "essence" of ministry with
adolescents and provide the Church with eight fundamental ways to
minister effectively with adolescents. Today, in light of our National
Strategy on Vocations, we add vocational discernment to the "essence" of
ministry with adolescents. These components provide a framework for the
Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve
young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community.
They provide a structure for the Church's ministry with adolescents,
while encouraging local creativity in developing programs, activities,
and strategies for each component. Each ministry component supports and
enhances the others. A comprehensive ministry with adolescents provides
balance among all eight components. This balance can be achieved
throughout a year or a season of programming. Even a single program or
strategy can incorporate several of the ministry components, as in the
case of a retreat program.9
The Ministry of AdvocacyThe Ministry of Advoca
Open your mouth in behalf of the [mute], and for the
rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend
the needy and the poor (Prv 31:8–9).
We seek to shape a society—and a world—with a clear priority for
families and children [adolescents] in need and to contribute to the
development of policies that help families protect their children's
lives and overcome the moral, social, and economic forces that threaten
their future. . . . As believers and citizens, we need—each of us—to use
our values, voices, and votes to hold our public officials accountable
and to shape a society that puts our children first (Putting Children and Families First, pp. 1, 7).
The ministry of advocacy engages the Church to examine its priorities
and practices to determine how well young people are integrated into the
life, mission, and work of the Catholic community. It places
adolescents and families first by analyzing every policy and
program—domestic, parish-based, diocesan, and international—for its
impact on adolescents and families. Poor, vulnerable, and at-risk
adolescents have first claim on our common efforts. The ministry of
advocacy struggles against economic and social forces that threaten
adolescents and family life, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of
access to affordable health care, lack of decent housing, and
discrimination. The ministry of advocacy supports policies and programs
that support and empower adolescents and their families and works to
overcome poverty, provide decent jobs, and promote equal opportunity. In
all advocacy efforts we must remember to focus on adolescents and
families with the greatest need. This is the "option for the poor" in
action (Putting Children and Families First).
As a Church, we need to provide strong moral leadership; to stand up for
adolescents, especially those who are voiceless and powerless in
society. We call upon all ministry leaders and faith communities to use
the resources of our faith community, the resources and talents of all
our people, and the opportunities of this democracy to shape a society
more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of adolescents and
The ministry of advocacy includes
- affirming and protecting the sanctity of human life as a gift
from God and building societal respect for those who most need
protection and support—the unborn, the poor, the disadvantaged, the
sick, and the elderly;
- standing with and speaking on behalf of young people and
their families on public issues that affect their lives, such as support
for education, quality housing, employment opportunities, access to
health care, safe neighborhoods, and availability of meaningful
community activities and services (We can help lift up the moral and
human dimensions of public issues, calling the faith community to
informed participation in the political process. We need to find ways to
influence the political arena without being partisan: joining
legislative networks, community organizations, and other advocacy
groups. In election years, we can sponsor educational programs and
forums to involve and inform others. Adolescents cannot be heard in the
clamor of political and community debate and thus need strong champions
for their interests.);
- empowering young people by giving them a voice and calling
them to responsibility and accountability around the issues that affect
them and their future (This involves education, leadership training,
skills building, and organization to mobilize young people for action.);
- developing partnerships and initiatives with leaders and
concerned citizens from all sectors of the community to develop a shared
vision and practical strategies for building a healthy community. These
partnerships also create opportunities for community-wide initiatives
to address critical issues affecting adolescents and their families.
The ministry of advocacy encourages the Church to examine its practice
of fully integrating adolescents into the life of the Church. How are
the voices of young people honored and heard in the Church? How are the
gifts, talents, and energy of young people respected and utilized within
our faith communities? It is imperative that the Church models what it
advocates for society.
The Ministry of CatechesisThe Ministry of Catechesis
Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the
totality of the Church's efforts to make disciples, to help people
believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have
life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus
building up the Body of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 4).
The ministry of catechesis helps adolescents develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and the Christian community, and increase their knowledge of the core content of the Catholic faith. The ministry of Catechesis also helps young people enrich and expand their understanding of the Scriptures and the sacred tradition and their application to life today, and live
more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ in their daily lives,
especially through a life of prayer, justice, and loving service.
Genuine faith is a total response of the whole person—mind, heart, and
will. The ministry of catechesis fosters growth in Catholic faith in all
three dimensions—trusting (heart), knowing and believing (mind), and
doing (will). The goal should be to have all Catholic youth involved in
some program of catechesis.
The ministry of catechesis with adolescents has several distinct
features that give direction to catechetical programming. Specifically,
catechesis with adolescents
- recognizes that faith development is lifelong and therefore
provides developmentally appropriate content and processes around key
themes of the Catholic faith that are responsive to the age-appropriate
needs, interests, and concerns of young and older adolescents;
- teaches the core content of the Catholic faith as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church—the
profession of faith, celebration of the Christian mystery, life in
Christ, and Christian prayer—in order to provide a solid foundation for
continued growth in faith;
- integrates knowledge of the Catholic faith with the
development of practical skills for living the Catholic faith in today's
- utilizes the life experience of adolescents, fostering a
shared dialogue between the life of the adolescent—with its joys,
struggles, questions, concerns, and hopes—and the wisdom of the Catholic
- engages adolescents in the learning process by incorporating a
variety of learning methods and activities through which adolescents
can explore and learn important religious concepts of the Scriptures and
Catholic faith. A variety of learning approaches keeps interest alive
among adolescents and responds to their different learning styles;
- involves group participation in an environment that is
characterized by warmth, trust, acceptance, and care, so that young
people can hear and respond to God's call (This fosters the freedom to
search and question, to express one's own point of view, and to respond
in faith to that call.);
- provides for real-life application of learning by helping
adolescents apply their learning to living more faithfully as Catholic
adolescents—considering the next steps that they will take and the
obstacles that they will face;
- promotes family faith development through parish and school
programs by providing parent education programs and resources, by
incorporating a family perspective in catechetical programming, and by
providing parent-adolescent and intergenerational catechetical
- recognizes and celebrates multicultural diversity by
including stories, songs, dances, feasts, values, rituals, saints, and
heroes from the rich heritage of various cultures;
- incorporates a variety of program approaches including parish
and school programs; small-group programs; home-based programs,
activities, and resources; one-on-one and mentoring programs; and
independent or self-directed programs or activities;
- explicitly invites young people to explore the possibility of
a personal call to ministry and the beauty of the total gift of self
for the sake of the kingdom.
The ministry of catechesis most effectively promotes the faith
development of young and older adolescents when the curriculum is
focused on important faith themes drawn from the teachings of the Church
and on the developmental needs and life experiences of
adolescents. The following faith themes have demonstrated their
significance within the context of lifelong faith development and
learning. Their selection is designed to "shed the light of the
Christian message on the realities which have great impact on the
adolescent" (GCD 84). This framework, organized around the four pillars
of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is offered as the basis
of developing a catechetical curriculum for younger and older
adolescents. Additional faith themes may need to be included to address
local needs. 10
The Profession of Faith
- Catholic Beliefs—understanding the Creed and the core beliefs of the Catholic faith.
- Holy Trinity—introduction to God's unique
self-revelation as three in one and some implications for living
Christian faith and spiritual life.
- Jesus Christ—exploring the meaning of the Incarnation,
the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, and
the call to discipleship.
- Church—understanding the origins of the Church in
Jesus Christ and understanding and experiencing the history of the
Church and its mission.
The Sacraments of Faith
- Sacraments—understanding the role of the sacraments in the Christian life and experiencing the Church's celebration of the sacraments.
- The Church—understanding the reason for and beauty of the Church; identifying the necessity of the Church for our salvation.
- Church Year—understanding the meaning of the
liturgical seasons of the Church year and the scriptural teachings
presented through the Lectionary.
The Life of Faith
- Life in the Spirit—understanding how the Spirit dwells
in our midst in a new way since Pentecost and understanding that God's
love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has
been given to us.
- The Dignity of the Human Person—recognizing the divine image present in every human person.
- Morality and Living a Virtuous Life—incorporating Catholic moral principles and virtues into one's life and moral decision making.
- Personal Growth—discerning the Spirit at work in their lives and incorporating the Catholic vision of life into personal identity.
- Relationships—developing and maintaining relationships based on Catholic values and the meaning of Christian community.
- Sexuality—understanding the Church's teaching on
sexual morality, understanding the Church's positive view of sexuality
as a gift from God, and understanding the importance of valuing chastity
and sexual restraint.
- Social Justice and Service—understanding the
importance of respecting the rights and responsibilities of the human
person, appreciating our call to be stewards of creation, and
discovering and living Jesus' call to a life of loving service.
- Grace as Gift—recognizing God's indwelling spirit in
our lives and responding to this gift, which justifies and sanctifies us
through God's law.
- Lifestyles and Vocation—discerning how to live the
Christian vocation in the world, in the workplace, and in marriage,
single life, ministerial priesthood, permanent diaconate, or consecrated
Prayer in the Life of Faith
- Christian Prayer—understanding and experiencing the
many forms of prayer in the Church—especially prayer through the church
year—and the importance of the "Our Father" in Christian prayer.
Faith Themes for Older Adolescents
The Profession of Faith
- Jesus Christ—discovering the meaning of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and what this means for living in Christ's spirit today.
- The Mystery of the Trinity—understanding and experiencing the triune God.
- Revelation—understanding the revelation of sacred scripture and sacred tradition.
- Old Testament—developing the knowledge and tools to read the Old Testament and to understand its meaning and challenge for us today.
- The Gospels—developing the knowledge and tools to read the Gospels and understand their meaning and challenge for us today.
- Paul and His Letters—developing the knowledge and tools to read Paul's letters and to understand their meaning and challenge for us today.
- Faith and Identity—exploring Catholic beliefs and what it means to live as a Catholic today.
The Sacraments of Faith
- Sacraments of Initiation, Healing, and at the Service of Communion—understanding the sacraments and how they are both personal and ecclesial, evoking a response from each of us.
- Worship—developing an understanding and skills for participating in the sacramental life of the Church, especially the eucharist.
The Life of Faith
- Catholic Morality—applying Catholic moral teachings to contemporary life situations as one encounters the many complexities in our world.
- Conscience, Virtue, and Sin—understanding and
uncovering the desire to turn toward God and to do good and to act in
accordance with God's grace, understanding the meaning and impact of
sin, and learning to make decisions in accordance with one's rightly
- Justice and Peace—understanding that the Catholic
faith calls people to work for justice, to pursue peace, and to defend
human dignity, and developing skills to act for justice, peace, and
- Lifestyles and Vocation—discerning how to live the
Christian vocation in the world, in the workplace, and in marriage,
single life, ministerial priesthood, permanent diaconate, or consecrated
Prayer in the Life of Faith
- Christian Prayer—understanding and experiencing the
variety of Christian prayer traditions and discovering and responding to
the Spirit's personal invitation to develop a personal prayer life.
The Ministry of Community Life
The Ministry of Community Life
. . . You are a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own . . ." (1 Pt 2:9)
The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in
the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and
is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body. In
the unity of this Body there is a diversity of members and functions.
All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are
suffering, to the poor and persecuted (Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 805-806).
The ministry of community life builds an environment of love, support, appreciation for diversity, and judicious acceptance that models Catholic principles; develops meaningful relationships; and nurtures
Catholic faith. The content of our message will be heard only when it
is lived in our relationships and community life. To teach compassion,
generosity, tolerance, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, and love as
gospel values and to identify ourselves as Christians require us to live
these values in our interactions with young people and in our community
life. God's reign was proclaimed through the relationships Jesus
initiated, and it continues to be heralded every time we witness our
belief in him through the relationships in our community. The community
life of the first Christians was a sign to everyone that Christ was in
their midst (see Acts 2:42–47). The ministry of community life is not
only what we do (activity), but who we are (identity) and how we interact (relationships).
Community life is nurtured when the atmosphere is welcoming, comfortable, safe, and predictable—one in which all
adolescents know that their presence is welcomed, their energy is
appreciated, and their contributions are valued. Community life is
enhanced when leaders promote and model an attitude that is authentic, positive, accepting, and understanding—assuring all young people that they are valued and cared for as gifted individuals. Community life is encouraged when our actions are inviting, supportive, and gospel-based. Community life is created when activities build trust and encourage relationships, and are age-appropriate.
The ministry of community life with adolescents has several distinct
features that give direction to community life programming.
Specifically, community building with adolescents
- creates an environment characterized by gospel values that
nurtures meaningful relationships among young people and between
adolescents and adults;
- develops the friendship-making and friendship-maintaining skills of young people grounded in Christian values;
- enriches family relationships through programs, activities, and
resources to improve skills such as family communication, decision
making, and faith sharing;
- provides opportunities for multicultural community building
that promote respect for young people's racial and ethnic cultures and
develop skills for communication and understanding;
- engages adolescents in the life, activities, and ministries of the parish in meaningful and age-appropriate ways;
- provides avenues for adolescents to participate as members of
the faith community and opportunities for the faith community to
acknowledge, celebrate, and value its adolescent members;
- guides adolescents in developing
- a healthy perspective of the joys and pains of relationships
- skills that promote positive and healthy interaction
- an attitude of welcoming and acceptance
- an understanding of Jesus' call to "love your neighbor as yourself"
- an appreciation for both the uniqueness of individuals and the support of a community united through faith
- an awareness of the importance of their role as members of the community.
The Ministry of Evangelization The Ministry of Evange
. . . [E]vangelizing means bringing the Good News of
Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and
society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. Its essence is the
proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person
in faith, both being the work of the Spirit of God (Go and Make Disciples, p. 2).
The ministry of evangelization shares the good news of the reign of God
and invites young people to hear about the Word Made Flesh. Drawing from
Jesus' example, evangelization involves the community's pronouncement
and living witness that the reign of God has become realized in and
through Jesus. The starting point for the ministry of evangelization "is
our recognition of the presence of God already in young people, their
experiences, their families, and their culture. . . . Through the
Incarnation of God in Jesus, Christians are convinced that God is
present within and through all of creation, and, in a special way,
within humanity. Evangelization, therefore, enables young people to
uncover and name the experience of a God already active and present in
their lives. This provides an openness to the gift of the Good News of
Jesus Christ" (Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization 7-8).
Evangelization is the energizing core of all ministry with adolescents.
All of the relationships, ministry components, and programs of
comprehensive ministry with adolescents must proclaim the Good News.
They must invite young people into a deeper relationship with the Lord
Jesus and empower them to live as his disciples.
The ministry of evangelization incorporates several essential elements: witness, outreach, proclamation, invitation, conversion, and discipleship.11 Evangelization with adolescents
The Ministry of Justice and Servi
- proclaims Jesus Christ and the Good News so that young people
will come to see in Jesus and his message a response to their hungers
and a way to live. Remember: "There is no true evangelization if the
name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery
of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 22);
- witnesses to our faith in Jesus Christ in all aspects of our
lives—offering ourselves and our community of faith as living models of
the Christian faith in practice (Young people need to see that we are
authentic and that our faith in Jesus guides our lives.);
- reaches out to young people by meeting them in their various
life situations, building relationships, providing healing care and
concern, offering a genuine response to their hungers and needs, and
inviting them into a relationship with Jesus and the Christian
- invites young people personally into the life and mission of
the Catholic community so that they may experience the support, nurture,
and care necessary to live as Christians;
- calls young people to grow in a personal relationship with
Jesus Christ, to make his message their own, and to join us in the
continuing process of conversion to which the Gospel calls us;
challenges young people to follow Jesus in a life of
discipleship—shaping their lives in the vision, values, and teachings of
Jesus and living his mission in their daily lives through witness and
- calls young people to be evangelizers of other young people, their families, and the community.The Ministry of Justice and Service
Ministry of Justice and Service
Our faith calls us to work for justice; to serve those in need; to
pursue peace; and to defend the life, dignity, and rights of all our
sisters and brothers. This is the call of Jesus, the urging of his
spirit, the challenge of the prophets, and the living tradition of our
Our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the
sorrowing, console the bereaved, welcome the stranger, and serve the
poor and vulnerable must be accompanied by concrete efforts to address
the causes of human suffering and injustice. We believe advocacy and
action to carry out our principles and constructive dialogue about how
best to do this both strengthen our Church and enrich our society. We
are called to transform our hearts and our social structures, to renew
the face of the earth (see A Century of Social Teaching).
The ministry of justice and service nurtures in young people a
social consciousness and a commitment to a life of justice and service
rooted in their faith in Jesus Christ, in the Scriptures, and in
Catholic social teaching; empowers young people to work for justice by concrete efforts to address the causes of human suffering; and infuses the concepts of justice, peace, and human dignity into all ministry efforts.
The Church increasingly views itself as a people set aside for the sake
of others—a community that stands in solidarity with the poor, that
reaches out in service to those in need, and that struggles to create a
world where each person is treated with dignity and respect. We are
called as a Church to respond to people's present needs or crises, such
as homelessness or hunger. We are also called to help change the
policies, structures, and systems that perpetuate injustice through
legislative advocacy, community organizing, and work with social change
organizations. Direct service needs to be coupled with action for
justice so that adolescents experience the benefits of working directly
with those in need and learn to change the system that keeps
people in need. Justice and service are central to who we are as God's
people and to how we live our faith at home, in our communities, and in
The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly
social. We cannot be called truly "Catholic" unless we hear and heed the
Church's call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. We
cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission
of bringing "good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight
to the blind" (cf. Lk 4:18) (Communities of Salt and Light, p. 3).
The ministry of justice and service with adolescents has several
distinct features that give direction to programming and action.
Specifically, justice and service with adolescents
- engages young people in discovering the call to justice and
service in the Scriptures, in the life of Jesus, and in Catholic social
- involves adolescents, their families, and parish communities
in actions of direct service to those in need and in efforts to address
the causes of injustice and inequity;
- develops the assets, skills, and faith of young people by
promoting gospel values in their lifestyles and choices; by increasing
positive self-esteem, self-confidence, and moral reasoning abilities; by
building leadership and social skills; by helping them discover their
personal gifts and abilities; by helping them learn that they can make a
difference in the world and receive recognition by the community for
- incorporates doing the right thing with attention to why and
how we do what we do (Four elements guide adolescents in moving from
awareness to action on issues of justice. Involvement helps adolescents connect with justice issues personally and experientially. Exploration
helps adolescents understand the causes, connections, and consequences
of justice issues—expanding their knowledge and moving them toward
action with a stronger background and motivation to work for real change
when faced with injustice. Reflection helps adolescents utilize
the Scriptures, Catholic social teachings, and the lived faith of the
church community to discern a faith response to justice issues. Action
helps adolescents respond to injustice through direct service or
actions of social change—locally or globally, short term or long
- involves a supportive community that builds a sense of
togetherness, nurtures a life of justice and service, works together to
serve and act for justice, and provides support and affirmation;
- nurtures a lifelong commitment to service and justice
involvement (This includes providing opportunities, support, and
follow-up to help the young people reflect on their experience. People
who learn to serve when they are young are more likely to be service
oriented throughout their lives.).
The Ministry of Leadership Development
The Ministry of Leadership DevelopmentThere are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the
same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings by the same God who produces all of them in
everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given
for some benefit (1 Cor 12:4–7).
The ministry of Leadership Development calls forth, affirms, and empowers
the diverse gifts, talents, and abilities of adults and young people in
our faith communities for comprehensive ministry with adolescents.
Leadership roles in adolescent ministry are key. Leaders must be trained
and encouraged. This approach involves a wide diversity of adult and
youth leaders in a variety of roles. Many will be involved in direct
ministry with adolescents; others will provide support services and yet
others will link the ministry effort to the resources of the broader
The ministry of leadership development has several important elements
that provide direction. Specifically, leadership development
- utilizes adult and adolescent leaders in a variety of
leadership roles necessary for comprehensive ministry (These roles
include, but are not limited to, ministry coordinators in parishes and
schools, school teachers, ministry program leaders and planning teams,
overall ministry coordinating team, and support staff.):
- The Ministry Coordinator, must always be
qualified and well trained, as well as have an excellent reputation. He
or she facilitates the people, programming, and resources of the parish
or school community in a comprehensive ministry effort. The coordinator
is primarily responsible for facilitating planning, administering
programs, developing a leadership system for adult and youth leaders
(recruitment, training, and support), and serving as an advocate and
link for young people to the faith community and wider community.
- A Coordinating Team, made up of adults and young people,
may be formed to work with the ministry coordinator in organizing a
comprehensive ministry with adolescents by planning the overall
ministry, developing a leadership system, identifying the resources of
the faith community, and connecting the ministry with the other
ministries and programs of the faith community.
- Program Leaders—adults and adolescents—conduct specific
programs and activities within a comprehensive ministry. Program leaders
often work with a program planning team who develops, promotes,
implements, and evaluates the program.
- Support Staff provide assistance that helps individual programs and the overall ministry function effectively.
- develops a leadership system that invites, trains, supports,
and nourishes adult and adolescent leaders and provides for the
coordination of leaders throughout a comprehensive ministry;
- develops and nurtures adult leaders of lively faith and
maturity with solid theological understandings, relational and ministry
skills, and organizational ability appropriate to their particular role
in ministry with adolescents;
- empowers all young people for leadership and ministry with
their peers—in schools, parishes, and civic communities—by affirming
their gifts, equipping them with skills for leadership and ministry, and
by placing them in leadership roles or giving them leadership
opportunities where they can make a contribution.
We strongly encourage all ministry leaders and communities to call forth
the gifts of all young people and empower them for ministry to their
peers and leadership in our faith communities. We need their gifts,
energy, and vitality. We echo the words of the Holy Father at World
Youth Day in Denver:
Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and
to show it the "path to life" (Ps 16). . . . Place your intelligence,
your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion, and your fortitude at
the service of life. . . . The Church needs your energies, your
enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of life
penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people's hearts and the
structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice
and love (August 15, 1993).
The Ministry of Pastoral Care
The Ministry of Pastoral CareThe ministry of pastoral care is a compassionate presence in imitation
of Jesus' care of people, especially those who were hurting and in need.
The ministry of Pastoral Care involves promoting positive adolescent and family development through a variety of positive (preventive) strategies; caring for adolescents and families in crisis through support, counseling, and referral to appropriate community agencies; providing guidance as young people face life decisions and make moral choices; and challenging systems that are obstacles to positive development (advocacy).
Pastoral care is most fundamentally a relationship—a ministry of
compassionate presence. This was Jesus' caring stance toward all people,
especially those who were hurting or in need. Pastoral care enables
healing and growth to take place within individuals and their
relationships. It nurtures growth toward wholeness, and it provides
guidance in decision making and challenges obstacles to positive
The ministry of pastoral care with adolescents has several distinct
features that provide direction to comprehensive ministry efforts.
Specifically, pastoral care
- develops the life skills of adolescents, such as
relationship building, assertivenesss, nonviolent conflict resolution,
decision making, and planning;
- guides young people in making important life decisions, such
as career and college choices, and discerning their particular Christian
- fosters the spiritual development of young people and the healthy integration of their sexuality and spirituality;
- creates networks of care and support for young people and their families;
- provides programs and resources for parent education and
skills for effective parenting that incorporate understandings of
adolescent development and family life cycle tasks;
- strengthens family life by assisting families to improve
family skills, such as communication, decision making, problem solving,
- provides and connects adolescents and families to support
services, referral resources, and self-help groups to promote healing
during times of loss, sudden change, unexpected crises, problems, and
family or personal transitions;
- provides support and enrichment for adolescents and parents
experiencing divorce, separation, or family problems; and connects them
to appropriate counseling resources;
- collaborates with the wider community in providing direct aid
to youth-at-risk in the form of programs, services, and counseling.
Special attention should be given to young people who engage in
high-risk behaviors that endanger their own health and well-being. These
young people often have multiple problems that can severely limit their
futures—fragmented family life, poor school performance, antisocial
behavior, eating disorders, sexual activity, sexual confusion as they
struggle with identity, and alcohol or drug use, to name several. The
Church is called to work with the wider community to address the needs
of these young people. Ministry to these young people may be the most
important way they will ever come to know and feel the love of
God—through people who love them and care for them just at the point
when they themselves feel least worthy and lovable.
The Ministry of Prayer and Worship
"Great is the mystery of faith!" The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three).
This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they
celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal
relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2558).
The ministry of prayer and worship celebrates and deepens young people's relationship with Jesus Christ through the bestowal of grace, communal prayer and liturgical experiences; it awakens their awareness of the spirit at work in their lives; it incorporates young people more fully into the sacramental life of the Church, especially eucharist; it nurtures the personal prayer life of young people; and it fosters family rituals and prayer.
The ministry of prayer and worship with adolescents has several distinct
dimensions that provide direction to comprehensive ministry efforts.13 Specifically, the ministry of prayer and worship
- promotes the authentic participation of youth in liturgy
(Parishes and schools can acknowledge adolescent faith issues at all
liturgies in ways appropriate to the rites, provide opportunities for
young people to be trained as liturgical ministers, schedule periodic
youth event liturgies that are prepared with young people's input and
assistance, and invite young people to help prepare the community
- attends to the diversity of cultures and ages in the assembly
(All liturgy takes place within a cultural milieu and context. Respect
for cultures and inclusion of native art, music, and expressions are
visible components of vibrant worship. The rites need to reflect
cultural diversity through the use of symbols, traditions, musical
styles, and native language. Parishes and schools can provide
opportunities for liturgical celebrations in which young people of
different ethnic groups express their faith in their own language,
symbols, and tradition. Parishes and schools can also provide
experiences of other cultural worship styles and multicultural liturgies
that bring people from all ethnic backgrounds together to celebrate.
Adolescents reflect a distinct age group and "culture" within our
society. Their language expressions, musical styles, and ways of life
are often quite different from those of older generations. Those who
prepare the liturgy need to find appropriate ways to incorporate the
world of young people into worship, remembering that the "pastoral
effectiveness of a celebration will be heightened if the texts of the
readings, prayers, and songs correspond as closely as possible to the
needs, religious dispositions, and aptitude of the participants" (GIRM
no. 313). Parishes and schools can explore new music and song texts
being composed for liturgy, and invite youth to act as cultural
resources—letting the individuals or group know about current trends and
expressions that may be reflected in the prayers, songs or rituals.);
- provides opportunities for creative prayer with adolescents
in peer, family, and intergenerational settings (Ministry with
adolescents fosters and promotes the development of a personal prayer
life in young people and celebrates the ritual moments of their daily
lives in prayer. The symbols and rituals of liturgy become more
meaningful for young people when they draw from their experiences of
private prayer. Likewise, private prayer is revitalized by meaningful
experiences of the liturgy. Ministry with adolescents also promotes
opportunities for communal prayer. The liturgy of the hours, liturgies
of reconciliation and healing, ethnic rituals and celebrations, and
other ritual devotions allow for creativity and adaptation to the life
issues and cultural expressions of young people. Communal prayer
provides opportunities for young people of different ethnic cultures to
express their faith in their own language, symbols, and traditions and
for young people to experience multicultural prayer that brings people
from all racial and ethnic backgrounds together to celebrate. Parishes
and schools can schedule seasonal prayer experiences for and by youth
for the parish community, involve young people in the preparation of
prayer experiences for their peers, provide prayer resources, include
personal prayer time within programs, and provide prayer mentors for
young people. Parishes and schools can provide prayer and ritual
resources for home settings that address the unique needs of families
with adolescents, the calendar and church year celebrations and rituals,
and family rituals, rites of passages and milestones.);
- promotes effective preaching of the word (Parishes and
schools can invite young people to reflect on the seasonal readings and
to offer suggestions to the homilist for connections to young peoples'
lives, provide regular opportunities for adolescents to study the
Scriptures, encourage those who preach to use current examples and
storytelling techniques, and investigate the developments within culture
for their impact on the "vernacular.");
- allows music and song to express the vitality of young people
(The music of the young brings freshness and variety to our current
musical genres and can perform the same infusion of energy and vitality
to sacred music. Music is a significant part of personal expression for
young people and that desire carries over to their participation in
liturgy. Parishes and schools can invite adolescents to participate in
the choirs and musical assemblies, explore contemporary accompaniments
and focus on the song and pace of the music, expand the local repertoire
of hymns and songs to include songs that young people would select, and
encourage singing by the whole assembly so that adolescents feel more
comfortable in adding their voices.);
- prepares the symbols and ritual actions with particular care
for their visual dimensions (Today's young people have been educated
through multimedia. Their visual sense is one of their primary ways of
learning and responding to the environment. Parishes and schools can
invite adolescents to assess the visual dynamics of the rituals and
symbols prepared for liturgy, provide visual aids to encourage young
people's participation, and explore the appropriate use of multimedia at
- develops the interpersonal and communal dimensions of the
liturgy. (Parishes and schools can focus on the hospitality provided at
liturgy, encourage young people to attend liturgy with their friends,
build a sense of community among young people prior to liturgy, minister
in a personal way, and affirm the presence of young people whenever
- provides adolescents with effective and intentional
catechesis for liturgy, worship, and sacraments (Young people are
catechized by their participation in the liturgy; therefore, care must
be taken to ensure that their experiences lead them to greater faith.
Adolescents need catechesis for liturgy and the sacraments, but are also
catechized by their experiences of liturgy. Through immersion in the
symbols, stories, and rituals of the communal prayer life, adolescents
gain not only a knowledge but an appreciation of the power of the
sacraments. A specific objective of intentional catechesis for liturgy
is to assist adolescents in exploring how liturgical symbols and rituals
celebrate their experiences of God and life events. Parishes and
schools can provide opportunities for intergenerational and
family-centered catechesis for liturgy and can offer experiential,
liturgical catechesis for young people.);
- apprentices adolescents in liturgical ministries (Ministry
with adolescents can advocate for youth involvement in liturgical
ministries and connect young people with established liturgical
ministers for training and experience of actually performing liturgical
Part Four: A Guiding Image for Ministry with Adolescents
Part Four: A Guiding Image for Ministry with AdolescentsHe summoned the Twelve and gave them power and
authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to
proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. He said to them,
"Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor
food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic." . . . Then they
set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and
curing diseases everywhere (Lk 9:1–3, 6).
How does Jesus send you? He promises neither sword, nor money, nor any
of the things which the means of social communications make attractive
to people today. He gives you instead grace and truth. He sends you out
with the powerful message of his paschal mystery, with the truth of the
cross and resurrection. That is all he gives you, and that is all you
need (Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 1996).
A Vision of Youth Ministry captured the dynamics of ministry with
adolescents through the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus
(see Lk 24:13–35). This story became a guiding image for ministry with
its emphasis on the relationship between young disciples and their Lord,
a relationship characterized by presence, listening, faith sharing, and
celebration. The Emmaus story will continue to guide the Church's
ministry with adolescents, but a new image is emerging—the image of
young people with a mission. Just as Jesus sent out the Twelve (Lk 9)
and the seventy-two (Lk 10) to carry out his mission, today he sends out
young people to proclaim the Good News and to build a world that is
more just, more peaceful and more respectful of human life and creation.
The Holy Father captured the urgency of young people's mission at World Youth Day 1993 in Denver.
Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and
to show it the "path to life" (Ps 16:11). The challenge is to make the
Church's yes to life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long,
and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents,
your enthusiasm, your compassion, and your fortitude at the service of
At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of life
has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the
ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. . . . The Church
needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to
make the Gospel of life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming
people's hearts and the structures of society in order to create a
civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world
that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals,
people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.
. . . The world at the approach of a new millennium . . . is like a
field ready for the harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his
vineyards. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail
him. In your hands, carry the cross of Christ. On your lips, the words
of life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord (August 15, 1993).
The Church and world need the faith, gifts, energy, and fresh ideas of
young people. The entire Church, and in a special way ministry with
adolescents, must empower young people for their mission in the world.
We must ensure that young people are well equipped for their special
mission in the world. All of our efforts to promote an active Christian
discipleship and growth in Catholic identity must lead toward mission.
This is our special responsibility to the young generation. We pray with
the whole Church that we can meet the challenge of Gaudium et Spes; ". .
. the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong
enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping"
- New Directions in Youth Ministry: A New Study of Catholic Youth Ministry Program Participants
(Final Report, July 1996) conducted by the Center for Applied Research
in the Apostolate (CARA) is available in full report or executive
summary from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 3700-A
Oakview Terrace NE, Washington, DC 20017-2591. The following is a
summary of the findings identified in the text.
When asked the areas in which youth ministry had most helped them to
grow, young people named the following nine ways at the top of their
list ("very much" responses):
- Understanding my Catholic faith better (52%)
- Making serious life choices (52%)
- Choosing right from wrong (50%)
- Having a safe and caring place to go (50%)
- Deepening my relationship with Jesus (49%)
- Experiencing what it means to be Catholic (48%)
- Discussing problems facing youth today (48%)
- Getting more involved in parish life (48%)
- Developing pride in who I am (48%)
Almost all are "proud to be Catholic" (94%) and "admire the pope" (89%).
Virtually all report that they "feel welcome at church" (90%). Females
are more likely to support these statements than males.
Sunday Mass Attendance
Youth ministry program participants report more frequent attendance at
worship than their friends, their parents, or other adults significant
in their lives. There is a strong connection between participation in
youth ministry programs and Mass attendance.
- Fifty-eight percent attend Mass weekly and another
14 percent attend more than weekly, for a total of 72 percent who
attend once a week or more.
- Another 12 percent report attendance on the order of once or twice a month.
Youth ministry makes a deeper impression on participants the longer they
participate. Perhaps the strongest way to measure the effectiveness of
youth ministry is to contrast the ninth graders with the twelfth
graders. For the thirty-five ways youth ministry could have helped,
thirty-two were given much higher average scores by those in twelfth
grade. Below are the eight areas with average scores that increased by
twenty points or more when ninth graders are compared to twelfth
- Developing my leadership skills (32 points)
- Developing my relationship skills (27 points)
- Discussing problems facing youth today (23 points)
- Preparing me to share my faith (22 points)
- Doing service projects to help other people (22 points)
- Feeling like I belong to a community (22 points)
- Providing ministry to my peers (22 points)
- Helping the Church better serve youth (20 points)
- The Search Institute has identified several factors contributing to the breakdown:
- Many adults no longer consider it their responsibility to play a role in the lives of youth outside their family.
- Parents are less available for their children because of
demands outside the home and cultural norms that undervalue parenting.
- Adults and institutions have become uncomfortable articulating values or enforcing appropriate boundaries for behavior.
- Society has become more and more age-segregated, providing
fewer opportunities for meaningful intergenerational relationships.
- Socializing systems (families, schools, congregations, etc.)
have become more isolated, competitive, and suspicious of each other.
- The mass media have become influential shapers of young people's attitudes, norms, and values.
- As problems—and solutions—have become more complex, more of
the responsibility for young people has been turned over to
- The forty developmental assets, identified through national
research by the Search Institute, are powerful shapers of young people's
behavior. Assets help to inoculate youth from high-risk behaviors
(e.g., use of alcohol and drugs, antisocial behavior, sexual activity).
As assets increase, the incidence of high-risk behaviors decreases.
Developmental assets also promote positive outcomes. As assets increase,
so do school success, the affirmation of diversity, educational
aspirations, and prosocial behavior. Young people with a greater number
of assets are more likely to grow up caring, competent, healthy, and
responsible. This important relationship between developmental assets
and choices made has been documented for all types of youth, regardless
of age, gender, geographic region, town size, or race/ethnicity.
These forty developmental assets have been identified through research
by the Search Institute (USA) as forming a foundation for healthy
development in children and adolescents. The following information is
excerpted from Search Institute research (© 1996 Search Institute).
Family Support—family life provides high levels of love and support.
Positive Family Communication—young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek parental advice and counsel.
Other Adult Relationships—young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
Caring Neighborhood—young person experiences caring neighbors.
Caring School Climate—school provides a caring, encouraging environment.
Parent Involvement in Schooling—parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
Community Values Youth—young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
Youth as Resources—young people are given useful roles in the community.
Community Service—young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
Safety—young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.
Boundaries and Expectations
Family Boundaries—family has clear rules and consequences, and monitors the young person's whereabouts.
School Boundaries—school provides clear rules and consequences.
Neighborhood Boundaries—neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people's behavior.
Adult Role Models—parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
Positive Peer Influence—young person's best friends model responsible behavior.
High Expectations—both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
Creative Activities—young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
Youth Programs—young person spends three or more hours per week
in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community
Religious Community—young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
Time at Home—young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do" two or fewer nights per week.
Achievement Motivation—young person is motivated to do well in school.
School Performance—young person has a B average or better.
Homework—young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
Bonding to School—young person cares about her or his school.
Reading for Pleasure—young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
Caring—young person places high value on helping other people.
Equality and Social Justice—young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
Integrity—young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
Honesty—young person "tells the truth even when its not easy."
Responsibility—young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
Restraint—young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.
Planning and Decision Making—young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
Interpersonal Competence—young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
Cultural Competence—young person has knowledge or and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
Resistance Skills—young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
Peaceful Conflict Resolution—young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
Personal Power—young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me."
Self-Esteem—young person reports having a high self-esteem.
Sense of Purpose—young person reports that "my life has a purpose."
Positive View of Personal Future—young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.
- Although these goals are numbered, they are considered to be equally important.
- For example, scouting organizations, youth retreat movements, and organizations specifically serving at-risk youth.
- These assets were developed from research by the Search
Institute in Minneapolis and from Challenge of Adolescent Catechesis
(NFCYM, 1986). These assets are intended as a guide, not as an
- Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, adapted the phrase "It Takes a Whole
Church" from the Ghanian proverb "It takes a village to raise a child."
- There is a variety of schemas for identifying the ministries of
the Church. This document continues with the framework articulated in A
Vision of Youth Ministry. While the names of the ministries may vary,
the eight proposed in this paper reflect what the Church considers the
basic pastoral work in a parish community as expressed in The Code of Canon Law (cf. Canons 528- 529):
- ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish
- instruction in the truths of faith, especially by means of the homily and by catechetical formation
- works that promote the spirit of the Gospel, including its relevance to social justice
- Catholic education of children and youth
- bringing the gospel message to those who have given up
religious practice or who do not profess the true faith (outreach to
- promotion of eucharist as the center of the parish assembly
- celebration of the sacraments, especially eucharist and penance (including programs of sacramental life and preparation)
- nourishment of the prayer life of parishioners, especially within families
- active participation of parishioners in the liturgy
- methods of acquaintance with parishioners, the welcoming of newcomers, home visiting, efforts at building community
- care for the sick and especially the dying
- concern and care for the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those
who are exiled from their homeland, and those burdened with special
- foster the growth of Christian life in the family
- recognize and promote the specific role that the lay members of the parish have in the mission of the Church
- foster in parishioners concern and works that promote the
community of the parish and that help them feel themselves to be members
of the diocese and the universal Church.
- The order of the components is alphabetical. No prioritizing of the eight components is intended by this order.
- This list contains some of the faith themes found in The Challenge of Adolescent Catechesis: Maturing in Faith (Washington, D.C.: National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 1986).
- These elements are drawn from The Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization: Called to Be Witnesses and Storytellers (Washington, D.C.: National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 1993).
- This four-stage process is know as the Pastoral Circle and developed from the work of Peter Henriot and Joseph Holland.
- The principles for worship and liturgy include many of the ideas found in the final draft of From Age to Age: The Challenge of Worship with Adolescents (Washington, D.C.: National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 1997).
In September 1976, the United States Catholic Conference's Department of Education issued A Vision of Youth Ministry
with young people by blending the best of past efforts with emerging
ideas from leaders across the country. Two decades later, the Church's
ministry with adolescents is confronted by new challenges and
opportunities. Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry
is a blueprint for the continued development of effective ministry with
young and older adolescents. After wide consultation with dioceses,
national organizations, and youth ministers throughout the country, the
Committee on the Laity submitted the final draft to the plenary assembly
of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The document was
approved on June 20, 1997 and is hereby authorized for publication by
Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr, General Secretary, NCCB/USCC
First printing, August 1997
Fourth printing: October 2000
Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United
States of America copyright © 1994, United States Catholic Conference,
Inc. - Libreria Editrice Vaticana are used with permission.
Scriptural excerpts from The New American Bible used with
permission of the copyright holder, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine,
copyright © 1970, 1986, 1991. All rights reserved.
Excerpts from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, General Editor, copyright © 1966, America Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington,
D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright
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