Renewing the Vision

Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry builds on the fine tradition begun by the 1976 document, A Vision of Youth Ministry. To respond to the new challenges and opportunities of our day the Catholic bishops of the United States offer this document as a blueprint for the continued development of effective ministry with young and older adolescents. 

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Goals for Ministry with Adolescents

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends"
- Jn 15:13

Youth ministry should begin to teach adolescents what a life of discipleship looks like.  As baptized members of the Church, youth are called to serve others and to serve Christ, bringing about the Kingdom of God in unique ways.  It is the youth minister, pastor, or parent's job to empower adolescents to live Christian lives of discipleship.  Youth are empowered when they are welcomed into a Church that speaks to their hearts with the "joy of the Gospel and the strength of the Eucharist" (St. John Paul II, 1995 World Day of Prayer for Vocations).  When youth frequently engage the Gospel, challenge their spiritual lives, and are shown the adventure of discipleship through the Church they can begin to commit themselves totally to Jesus Christ in concrete ways. 

There are four notable communities that help youth grow in faith.  They are the Family Community, the Parish Community, the Catholic School Community, and the Youth-Serving Organizational Community.  When youth are drawn to these communities, they better understand what it means to live in a faith community.

Family Community

The family is the "first community and the most basic way in which the Lord gathers us, forms us, and acts in the world" (Follow the Way of Love, p.8). The family is responsible for the spiritual, moral, and overall development of adolescents by faith sharing in the home. This requires parents to love and support their children, but it also challenges adolescents to "enhance family live with their love and faith" and to bring new understandings and skills into the home that will enrich family life (Renewing the Vision). Every family member plays a role in building a community where love can dwell.

Parish Community

It is important for youth to engage the Parish community because parishes "are the place where God's people meet Jesus in word and sacrament" in a concrete way (Renewing the Vision). Youth-friendly parishes do three things to foster adolescent spiritual growth.  First, parishes should allow youth to serve the parish along with adults.  When adolescents feel welcomed into the parish community as full-fledged members, they are more likely to identify as a community member. Second, parishes must allow youthful energy and vision in parish activities. Young people have a great deal to offer parish ministry, and when they can  express their faith through meaningful roles, they develop a spirit of commitment to the parish community. Finally, if parishes truly desire to become "youth-friendly", it is crucial to value adolescents. This means listening to them and responding to their needs, as well as providing them with facilities and money to enable their growth as disciples.  If the parish wants youth to commit to parish life, the parish must commit to the development of the youth.

"In partnership with parents and parishes, Catholic schools prepare young people to become full and active members of the Catholic Church."
-Renewing the Vision
Catholic School Community

The Catholic School is a living faith community where adolescents can deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith both inside and outside of the classroom.  Campus ministry should demonstrate effective ministerial strategies to youth including effective religious education, service projects, retreats, and other activities. Catholic education and campus ministry must strengthen and empower youth to use their gifts and talents in the wider Church community.

Youth-Serving Organizational Community

It is important for youth to go beyond their family, parish, and school communities to serve the greater Church community.  Catholic service leaders have a duty to reach out to young people in order to form them as young disciples who can bear witness to the gospel message. Service organizations are communities where youth can learn about joyful giving while being spiritually challenged to love others as Christ does.

"The Church is concerned for the whole person, addressing the young people's spiritual needs in the context of his or her whole life" (Renewing the Vision).  Youth ministry in the Church should promote holistic growth and development; that is, growth and development of the entire person.  Ministers and leaders must listen to the specific developmental, social, and religious needs and nurture them accordingly.

Part One: The Growth and Development of the Church's Ministry with Adolescents
Part Two:  Goals for 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 Three: Themes and Components for a Comprehensive Ministry with Adolescents
Part Four: A Guiding Image for Ministry with Adolescents


For the Spanish translation, "Renovemos la Visión," click "En Español" on the tool bar above.