Session descriptions

    The sessions in Certificate Training cover many aspects of youth ministry. Those listed under Foundation outline starting pillars for formation in youth minsitry – understanding the Church’s vision and the indispensable nature of the spiritual life for bearing fruit in ministry. Doctrine sessions look at an area of the Deposit of Faith that is either critical to incorporate into youth ministry or particularly challenging to teach in the modern world. Sessions listed under Ministry of the Word examine how youth ministry is situated within the framework of evangelization and catechesis. The Professionalism sessions provide guidance on effective leadership in the parish setting and understanding appropriate limits and boundaries when working with young people. Finally, the sessions under Youth Ministry Skills provide practical insight into best practices for reaching young people today.


    • A Vision for Effective Youth Ministry

      Every ministry to young people needs to have a clear mission and purpose, rooted in the larger mission of the Church, and needs to be able to identify clear values in the way that ministry is carried out.  The US Bishops have provided a guiding vision to Catholic Youth Ministry in their Renewing the Vision Document.  In this session we will be unpacking that document, and looking specifically at the essential components to a vibrant, effective approach to parish ministry for young people.

      Reading: Renewing the Vision (entire document);
      Engaging A New Generation Introduction, Ch. 1-2

    • Personal Spirituality 
      “All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others.” (Evangelii Guadium 121). However, we remain unable to witness to a love which we are not willing to experience daily. Therefore, this session focuses on our need for conversion and a personal relationship with Christ, because fruit in ministry flows from the depths of this interior life.

      Reading: The Soul of the Apostolate. Part One: 1-5, Part Two: 1, 4; Evangelii Gaudium 1-8, 76-109, 259-288


    • The Story
      From the earliest times of her missionary and catechetical activity the Church has placed great importance of telling the Story of God’s amazing works throughout history as the foundation for understanding the Gospel and growing in faith. From with the creation of the world, continuing through the His covenants with Israel, Christ’s fulfillment of the New Covenant, to the life of the Church - throughout the pages of history God has been working to bring people to Himself. This session looks at the story of the people of God as that which invites us to say “yes” to Christ and  join ourselves to His Church. This is the Good News! And this must be the foundation for all catechesis and the context in which all doctrine is taught.

      Reading: General Directory for Catechesis 36-45;
      The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis Ch. 5

    • The Sacramental Nature of the Church 
      This session will outline the Church's purpose and understanding of liturgy in light of God's plan of salvation.  It will help youth workers form teens in a Catholic identity by fostering a connection with Christ in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This sessions offers practical suggestions for helping teens participate in the liturgy, most especially to see the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of their lives.

      Reading: Sacrosanctum Concilium 1-13; The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis Ch. 7

    • The Christocentricity of Catholic Morality
      This session reviews the basic principles of Catholic morality and shows how these are rooted in the Person of Jesus.  Discussing the major moral issues teens face today can be a great opportunity for them to see how God desires their happiness and fulfillment. At the same time there are many aspects in the modern worldview that challenge the path offered to us by Christ. So this session looks at the importance of teaching about morality as the authentic response to the love offered to each of us in the Person of Jesus Christ.

      Reading: Veritatis Splendor 6-27

    • The Church's Vision for the Family
      This session will break open the key principles that permeated Pope John Paul's teaching on the family.  It will discuss the roots of the family in God's plan of salvation, the key traits of healthy family relationships, as well recognize the forces affecting today's family. Finally it looks at the importance of engaging families in order to be effective in youth ministry.

      Reading: Familiaris Consortio 11-15, 17-64

    • Theology of the Body For Young People
      This session will cover the foundation of Catholic teaching about human sexuality by outlining John Paul II's theology of the body. It will also look at "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family" by the Pontifical Council for the Family. This concludes with practical examples of teaching sexuality to teens in a youth ministry setting.

      Reading: The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality 8-76


    • The Mission of the Church

      “Evangelization is the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize.”  (Evangeli Nuntiandi 14) This session unpacks  into the richness of the Great Commission and identifies the key components of the missionary activity, including the tasks of evangelization and catechesis. The richness of the process of evangelization is detailed by looking at the catechumenate as the ideal model for all catechesis.

      Reading: Catechesi Tradendae 1; General Directory for Catechsis 60-76, 88-91

    • The New Evangelization

      This session will explaining background and key elements of the New Evangelization. It will follow the development of papal statements about the New Evangelization including Bl. Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and Pope Francis.

      Reading: Redemptoris Missio 33-34; Evangelii Gaudium 110-134

    • The Deposit of Faith: Scripture and the CCC

      “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ…” (CT 5). This session looks at ways to insert teens into the Deposit of Faith through Scripture and the Catechism. Or in the words of the Catechism “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends”  (CCC 25).

      Reading: Dei Verbum 1-26; Catechesi Tradendae 26-31

      Further Reading: The Mystery We Proclaim Part 4

    • Effective Catechesis
      Grounded in the General Directory for Catechesis and Catechesi Tradendae, this session looks at catechesis as a deepening of our initial evangelization. It will emphasize the Christocentric nature of catechesis, and the aims and tasks of catechesis.

      Reading: Catechesi Tradendae 5-25, 39-40; General Directory for Catechesis 77-91, 184-185

      Further Reading: The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis Ch. 2-3, 6; The Mystery We Proclaim Part 1-3

    • Effective Discipleship

      This session talks about how to engage young people in a way that leads them to becoming disciples of Christ, a strong theme in Renewing the Vision. Discipleship is about following Christ with your entire life and this is better caught than taught. Therefore adults must be formed that can model holiness to young people, so  this session will also look at forming adult disciples

      Reading: Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time Ch. 6-9


    • Recruiting, Training, and Developing Teams

      Throughout Christ’s ministry you see his commitment to forming the Apostles, leaders that would continue his ministry after the Ascension. Formed together, they experienced many joys and sorrows, and ultimately were strengthened by each other in community. Since Jesus, the Son of God Incarnate, used a team model to accomplish his work, we should be all the more eager to equip volunteers for successful ministry to youth. This session talks about the importance of team ministry, and effective strategies to reach out and train volunteers.

      Reading: N/A

    • Working with Pastors, Staff and Parents

      St. Paul teaches us that “Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same function: in the same way, all of us, though there are many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another.” (Romans 12: 5) As one part of the Body of Christ we are called to form young people in the context of a parish within the local diocesan church. This session looks at the people we are working for: the bishop, the pastor, and especially the parents.

      Reading: N/A

    • Adolescent Development
      This session focuses on the psychological make-up of contemporary adolescents in order to contribute to a holistic understanding of human nature. Further, by examining the role adolescence plays in the process of development, we are able to support the formation of emotionally and morally integrated disciples of Christ.

      Reading: N/A

    • Pastoral Care
      This session articulate the youth ministry should play in the development of adolescent's identity through faith and in the development of self-esteem based on real qualities of character. It will also provide guidance for how to handle typical crises in the life of an adolescent, pastoral and professional interventions, and the crucial distinction between counseling and ministry.

      Reading: N/A


      • Engaging Youth Culture
        “Go, therefore, to all nations…” (Matthew 28:18) At the Great Commission, Jesus commanded the Apostles to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. In order to be effective they had to learn how to preach the message in people in different cultures and we must do the same to the culture of youth. Bl. Paul VI wrote “What matters is to evangelize man's culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots).” (Evangeli Nuntiandi 20). This session focuses on both understanding youth culture and practical ways to engage its very roots.

        Reading: “On 'Moralistic Therapeutic Deism' as U.S. Teenagers’ Actual, Tacit, De Facto Religious Faith” by Christian Smith.

        Further Reading: The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis Ch. 4  

      • Multicultural Youth Ministry
        In the words of Renewing the Vision, multicultural youth ministry “focuses on a specialized ministry to youth of particular racial and ethnic cultures and promotes multicultural awareness among all youth.” This session aims to increase understanding of the various cultural and ethnic backgrounds of young people in our parishes today and discuss how this impacts our approach to youth ministry. 

        Reading: N/A

      • Incarnational Ministry
        The Letter to the Hebrews begins “At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son…” (Heb 1:1-2). The Second Person of the Trinity becoming flesh and dwelling among us is a radical act of encounter that is personal and in the world of the other. This is the inspiration for “incarnational ministry” which must be at the very foundation of our efforts to reach teens. To use the words of St. John Bosco, it is not enough that we love youth, they must know they are loved. This session looks at how to do this safely and effectively in the current culture.

        Reading: Engaging A New Generation, Ch. 3-5

      • Methods and Skills
        This session looks at some of the practical skills that should be in every CYMs toolkit. It covers the ecclesial method, retreat and semester planning, how to give talks and run small groups effectively.

        ReadingThe Mystery We Proclaim Part 5, Ch. 3

        Further Reading: The Mystery We Proclaim Part 5, Ch. 1-2

      • Fostering Service, Leadership, & Vocations Among Teens
        The goal of youth ministry is to form young people as disciples of Christ. As young people mature in both their relationship with Christ and the Church, this means responding courageously in vocation and leadership. We will discuss how to till the soil for generosity in decision-making that comes a bit further down the road and how create an environment that empowers youth to serve through Christian leadership today.

        Reading: N/A

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