Building a National Institute
Pope Francis and the XV Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment "recognized the need to train consecrated persons and laypeople, male and female, to accompany young people" and "young men and women showing leadership potential, so that they can receive training and the necessary qualifications." (Christus Vivit 244, 245)
In that spirit, the bishops of the United States tasked the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry to envision a new path forward for the field of ministry with young adults. The result of that mandate has been the building up of a "national institute" focused on the formation of pastoral leaders toward the accompaniment of young adults in ecclesial settings. This institute is currently establishing its core foundations of governance and development so that the vision of the Holy Father and the bishops can come to fruition very soon.
The National Institute will be focused especially on the formation of leaders to work with young adults, ages 18 to 39, through the Church. The Institute was officially incorporated in 2020, and tentatively anticipates the launch of its offerings in 2023.
For more information about the Institute, contact either Ms. Nicole Perone, Chair of the Board of Governors, or Mr. Nicholas Stein, Chair of the Board of Directors.
The Purpose, Vision, and Mission of the Institute
Reflecting on the insights of young adults gained through the synodal processes of the XV Synod of Bishops (2017-2019), the V National Encuentro (2017-2019), the National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults (2017-2020), and the Journeying Together Intercultural Encounter for Ministries with Young People (2019-2022), the National Institute on Ministry with Young Adults, established in 2020, developed its foundational purpose:
Every young adult deserves the chance to be holy and to be accompanied on their journey, and leaders equipped to give them that chance.
From that, a mission statement has emerged that enables the Institute to carry out its central purpose:
The National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults is the Catholic academic, ecclesial, and pastoral institute dedicated to the formation and accompaniment of pastoral leaders who minister to and with young women and men in their late teens, twenties, and thirties. The Institute is committed to the research and development of effective pastoral practices and innovative models of evangelization and ministry with all young adults of every cultural community, religious experience, and place in society.
Through living out its purpose and mission, the Institute dreams of a vision for its role in and for the Church:
A continuation of the evangelizing work of Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church in authentic relationship with young adults and those who minister to and with them, by bringing transformation, faithfulness, innovation, accompaniment, advocacy, collaboration, and diversity among the “co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord.”
These all lead to the development of the core values of the Institute, which guide the work that is yet to come:
- Transformation of the current state of the Catholic Church’s efforts with young adults.
- Faithfulness: to Scripture and Tradition, to the social and moral teachings of the Church; and to advance faithfully the Catholic Church’s understanding of ministry with young adults.
- Innovation to boldly explore new possibilities and take necessary risks to advance the ministry.
- Accompaniment alongside pastoral ministry leaders, providing mentorship, support, and a home.
- Evangelization to proclaim Christ and the Gospel and to engage young adults as missionary disciples on a national level.
- Advocacy for and Co-Responsibility with young adults to and with the leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States.
- Collaboration, Diversity, and Inclusion, celebrating and promoting the intergenerational, intercultural, and experiential diversity of the entire Church in service to young adults in this country and beyond.
Pray for the Institute
As this Institute grows, prayers are requested. The following prayer was developed by the Institute's exploratory committee:
Jesus, you are Emmanuel.
May we know we are not alone and that God is with us.
Jesus, you are ever young.
May we embrace your gift of youthfulness, its freedom, creativity and trust in the journey.
Jesus, you were obedient to your Father and attentive to your mother Mary.
May we, too, be obedient to your Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Jesus, you were sent to the peripheries.
May your Holy Spirit empower us to move out of our comfort zone and to include the voices of the marginalized.
Jesus, you fully saw everyone you encountered.
Show us all those who are part of our wider family and help us to be open to true collaboration with one another.
Jesus, you sent people forth to proclaim the Good News.
May our work enliven our Church and her ministers to be sent forth to proclaim the Good News.
Jesus, You are the way.
May we imitate you through our words and actions, and may we work to form an Institute that continues to make Christ alive in this world today.
Until the National Institute is fully up and running, the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry continues to serve as the nationwide resource organization and networking body for the Church's ministry with young adults in the United States. In the meantime, please continue to pray for the Institute's growth and development.
Return to the National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry