Annual Theme

Inspired by Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate—which translates to ‘Rejoice and Be Glad’—the Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministries has chosen “Rejoice!” as its theme for the 2018-2019 year of ministry.

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us expressly to “rejoice and be glad,” despite insults, ridicule, abandonment, or even persecution on His account. This message sounded as radical then as it does now. The Jews of Jesus’ time were a conquered people, living under Roman rule. They had been taught to take revenge on their enemies, in the spirit of ‘an eye for an eye,’ and they fully expected the Messiah to be a mighty hero whom would lead a revolution against the Romans. Yet, Jesus, a carpenter, taught His followers to be meek and merciful, to embrace suffering and death for the Truth, and to rejoice in the midst of suffering. 

Today, as it has for centuries, our Church is facing a crisis. Our Church is holy and perfect, but it is made up of imperfect people. In our imperfection we are still called to rejoice. We are called to rejoice amid suffering, sin, shame, and loss of trust, but also to rejoice in God’s love, mercy, redemption, and in the healing and comfort that He gives. Any crisis that our Church faces is not because of God, but because of the imperfect people that our Church is made of. 

Young people today deal with depression, anxiety, bullying, abuse, and many unhealthy relationships. They struggle with pressure from their peers and from themselves and with the conflict, violence, hate, and division that dominate society and politics. Many have chaotic schedules. Many come from broken families. Most shoulder overwhelming loads. Given these daily sufferings, these modern crosses, how can youth, their families, and their friends practically apply Christ’s teaching to rejoice? 

Pope Francis says that holiness is the key. Persevering in a relationship with God, boldly, with passion, within our community of faith allows us to experience joy. Remaining in close relationship with Jesus through constant prayer…always with a sense of humor, and patience with ourselves. He also encourages us to turn to Mary because “she does not let us remain fallen” (GE 176).

Remind young people throughout this year of ministry that Christian joy springs from a certainty in God’s infinite and passionate love for us. Encourage them to find moments to appreciate God’s gifts in their lives, and to thank Him for them. And, in all things, Rejoice!

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” 
-Matthew 5:12

The annual theme artwork is meant to depict that we are called to “Rejoice!” even in the midst of darkness. Throughout times of sorrow, the bright light of Jesus Christ springs forth in all directions. Pope Francis asked that his reflections “be crowned by Mary, because she lived the Beatitudes of Jesus as none other.” (GE 176) The twelve stars in the logo are meant to symbolize Mary’s crown as described in Revelation 12:1. We encourage you to use this theme and logo in all of your ministry this year. Please contact us for a high-resolution file of this artwork if you would like to use it. 

If you would like copies of this image for your youth, campus, or young adult ministry, please email April with your request and a brief description of how you plan to use the logo

Post Card Resource

“It is impossible to grasp the concept of evangelization unless one tries to keep in view all its essential elements.” - EN 17

In order to assist you with understanding the Church’s language about the process of evangelization as well as contemporary verbiage we have provided a post card with what we hope will be some helpful visuals. Special thanks to the Diocese of Sioux Falls for the idea. See below for details.

front of card

Postcard Front

This graphic illustrates the process of evangelization as described in ecclesial documents. We have also provided you with references to these documents that will help explain the individual steps in greater detail.

EN – Evangelii Nuntiandi – Paul VI

RM – Redemptoris Missio – John Paul II 

CT – Catechesi Tradendae – John Paul II 

GDC – General Directory for Catechesis – Congregation for Clergy 

back of card

Postcard Back

The Five Thresholds of Conversion are the five steps that every person goes through on the path to discipleship as Sherry Weddell describes in her popular book, Forming Intentional Disciples. These steps are based on Doug Schaupp’s work in evangelization at UCLA. For a very informative description of these five steps please watch this short video by Fr. Robert Barron.

The Pyramid of Spiritual Commitment: Duffy Robins describes a typical youth ministry program as a “mixed bag of kids whose commitments are all over the place.” The Pyramid of Spiritual Commitment provides an illustration of this point. In his book Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples he details what all of these spiritual commitments look like and later helps the reader understand what they can do to help teens move forward in their spiritual commitments.

The Four Earmarks of Discipleship are described in an article by Greg Ogden entitled, Making Disciples Jesus’ Way: A Few at a Time. In this article he discusses his observations on the necessary components for building true and lasting disciples. In this article he asserts that disciples are made in relationship, not programs. He goes on to outline four earmarks or hallmarks of how a disciple relationship differs from a program. We especially like that he outlines a way to do this most effectively in small groups and not in a one-on-one relationship. The full article can be downloaded here.


If you are interested in reproducing this postcard for your youth ministry program we have provided two versions for your convenience. The first is a pdf you can download and send to a printer to print your own copies of the postcard or you can download an 8.5 x 11 version that can easily be printed at your home or office.

If you have any questions on downloading or printing this resource please contact the Office of Youth Ministry at 703-841-2559.