Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
(1 Timothy 4:12)
It’s no secret that St. Francis is blessed to have an incredible number of families with children growing up in our parish and faith. In fact, of our registered parishioners, 37% are under the age of 21 and within this youth group, 43% are between the ages of 11 and 21.
Through the strategic initiatives process, an overwhelming amount of feedback was heard on the importance of engaging and nurturing this critical 11 to 21 age group within the context of our families, the parish and our larger society. Parents are looking for ways to help engage and keep their children engaged in our faith and parish (both while living with them and when no longer under the same roof).
Parents want to ensure that their children are prepared to confront the challenges of our society from a Catholic perspective. We heard that they want their children to feel part of a parish-wide atmosphere that celebrates and encourages the faith and uniqueness of what it means to be a Catholic youth. To do this, we want to find out from the youth their needs to give them voice.
Much progress has been made for this initiative and we congratulate the teams on the progress to date. However, based on all of the feedback the Pastoral Council feels that this initiative needs to continue to be supported and expanded.
Progress to date includes:
Research and investigate the needs of our 11 to 21 year olds through listening sessions with the youth
Research and investigate the needs of the parents of 11 to 21 year olds through listening sessions with the parents
Develop or further promote existing programs specifically addressing the needs from these listening sessions
Make faith formation for our youth more meaningful by creating outreach activities for the family and youth: added a mission trip to St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia
Held successful Youth Ministry Connections Workshop and Fair to educate parish ministries about youth involvement and to engage youth to participate in various ministries
Held a Youth Ministry “Madness” Fair to engage and invite adults to participate in Youth Ministry programs
Use of Cupertino in the youth center for youth nights meetings and special events
Started a Youth Ministry Core Team (currently some 20 people) to involve and engage parishioners in forming, guiding and implementing the future direction of Youth Ministry
Areas we will continue to focus on are:
Increase participation in Youth Ministry and our confirmation program
Enhance and create opportunities for youth to encounter and deepen their spiritual relationship with God
Create ways to reach out to those youth currently lacking or in need of spiritual resources
Ensure all ministries are calling forth youth for participation in their programs
Develop a plan to invite adults to be facilitators, mentors, coaches of our youth
Leverage the use of the newly opened youth center
Develop an awareness of vocation opportunities within the church
“We welcome with joy all those who come to us and invite them into the life of our community.”