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Our Mission

To serve the United States Bishops, both collectively and individually, in their ministry to Youth and Young Adults.

Our Vision

In service to the Bishops of the United States, We, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office in the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, aim to provide support and outreach to the Bishops in their Pastoral Work towards Youth and Young Adults in their goal of advancing the New Evangelization.

Our Staff

Dr. Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, PhD

Executive Director, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Mr. Paul Jarzembowski
Coordinator for the Ministry to Youth and Young Adult

Youth and Young Adult Intern

News and Events

For more information on the Catholic connection to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, refer to the USCCB Catholic Scouting Page

Read Apostolic nunico, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó's address to the USCCB 2014 Fall Conference, and reflect on how the Church can better present a challenging and rewarding lifestyle to young people in America.


Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Pilgrims cheer during the opening ceremony of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Pope Francis embraces a young woman during the World Youth Day welcoming  ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)World Youth Day pilgrims hold rosaries and icons as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)world-youth-day-sydney-cns-montage

Important Resources

World Youth Day  

Youth and Young Adult Documents   

Resources for Young People

Our Vision

In service to the Bishops of the United States, we, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office in the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, aim to provide support and outreach to Bishops in their Pastoral Work towards youth and young adults and in their goal of advancing the New Evangelization.

Our Work


Youth are defined as young people ages 12-18 in junior high school or high school.

Young Adults

Young adults are defined as young people ages 19-39 who are single or married, divorced or widowed, and in college, working, unemployed, incarcerated, or in the military.

Pastoral Juvenil

In Latino cultures, "jóvenes" are young people ages approximately 16-30 and ministry with them is called "pastoral juvenil".

The USCCB recognizes all these categories and understands the vastness of this age demographic. What unites them all is their youthful enthusiasm and energy, but also the challenges of transition and discovery. Youth and Young Adult and Pastoral Juvenil  ministries celebrate the excitement and optimistic outlook of younger generations and offers pastoral care for those in transition.

Guiding Image

1 Timothy 4:12

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."

Young people are essential members of the Body of Christ. They have a unique zeal for justice, faith, and love of the Gospel. They long for Truth, and they won't rest until they find it. They challenge convention and inspire innovation. Young people inject a contagious energy into their communities and set hearts on fire. We cannot ignore young disciples for they are active witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ in our world today.


The Church's Message to Young People

VATICAN II's MESSAGE TO Young People (1962-65)

"Lastly, it is to you, young men and women of the world, that the Council wishes to address its final message. For it is you who are to receive the torch from the hands of your elders.

-Blessed Paul VI, Closing of Vatican II 1965

Pope John XXIII leads the opening session of the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 11, 1962.  CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo.

Second Vatican Council's Closing Message to Youth, 7 December 1965

It is in the name of God and of His Son, Jesus, that we exhort you to open your hearts to the dimensions of the world, to heed the appeal of your brothers, to place your youthful energies at their service.

The Church looks to you with confidence and with love. Look upon the Church and you will find in her the face of Christ, the genuine, humble and wise Hero, the Prophet of truth and love, the Compassion and Friend of youth.

"Fight against all egoism. Refuse to give free curse to the instincts of violence and hatred which beget wars and all their trains of miseries."The Church is anxious that this society that you are going to build up should respect the dignity, the liberty, and the rights of individuals. These individuals are you.

Build with enthusiasm a better world than what we have today!

Wisdom from our Popes

Blessed Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)

Blessed Paul VI. CNS Photo"Who was it, then, to accept the Lord? The people. And who among the people had the first party? Who lit the fervor and joy of that gathering? Who knew how to interpret the greatness and the unique spirituality of the time? It was the young people!" -Palm Sunday Homily, Rome, 3 April 1966

"You are here as representatives of your age, as protagonists of your generations." -Palm Sunday Homily, Rome,

St. Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)

"You are the future of the world, you are the hope of the Church, you are my hope!"

-St. John Paul II to youth during his Installation Ceremony, 1978

Pope John Paul II waves as he arrives at Miami International Airport at the start of his 1987 trip to the United States.  (CNS photo/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”

-WYD Rome,19 August 2000

"In a very real sense, the twenty-first century...belongs to you. I ask you, therefore, to think carefully about the choices in life which you have to make." - Mass of the Holy Year of Redemption, St. Peter's Square, 1984
"You, young people, are especially called to become missionaries of this New Evangelization, by daily witnessing to the Word that saves. You personally experience the anxieties of the present historical period, fraught with hope and doubt, in which it can at times be easy to lose the way that leads to the encounter with Christ." -WYD Manila, 1995

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (2005-2013)

Dear young people,  you are a precious gift for society!

-Benedict XVI, World Day of Peace, 2012


"This is particularly true for you, because youth is a time of continuous discovery of life, of the world, of others and of ourselves. It is a time of openness to the future and of great longing for happiness, friendship, sharing and truth, a time when we are moved by high ideals and make great plans." - Message to Youth, 15 March 2012

"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourself to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems." -World Day of Peace, 2012

"Make every effort to study conscientiously, to develop your talents and to put them at the service of others even now...May your entire life be guided by a spirit of service and not by the pursuit of power, material success and money." - Message to Youth, 15 March 2012

"Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love!" -World Day of Peace, 2012

Pope Francis (2013-Present)

"Be sure of this: my pastoral heart embraces all of you with universal affection!"

-Pope Francis, WYD Rio de Janeiro, 2013

Pope Francis embraces a young woman during the World Youth Day welcoming  ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

"I say to each one of you, 'put on faith,' and your life will take on a new flavor. 'Put on Hope' and every one of your days will be enlightened. 'put on love' and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful because you will find many friends to journey with you." - WYD Rio de Janeiro, 2013

"It is Your life that Jesus wants to enter with His word, with His presence. Please, let Christ and His word enter your life, blossom and grow." - WYD Rio de Janeiro, 2013

The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. - WYD Rio de Janeiro, 2013What do I expect as consequence of the Youth Day? I expect a mess. I want a mess in the dioceses! I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! -World Youth Day 2013 Rio de Janeiro, BraziI ask you to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. - WYD Rio de Janerio, 2013

Dear friends, faith is revolutionary and today I ask you: are you open to entering into this revolutionary wave of faith?  Only by entering into this wave will your young lives make sense and be so fruitful! - WYD Rio de Janeiro, 2013

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