We are pleased to welcome you to the Catholic Youth Ministry community in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and are pleased that you have considered or are considering a career in youth ministry.
Lay ecclesial ministry is a phenomenon that is growing in the church today. So what does a coordinator of youth ministry do? Well perhaps the first question is “who” should a Catholic coordinator of youth ministry be? The first thing necessary is a real sense of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Before Catholic/Christian coordinators of youth ministry do anything, they must be serious about their relationship with God in Jesus Christ. That means an active prayer life, familiarity with scripture, especially the gospels, a real connection to church life including the sacraments, its moral teaching and the realization of their own need for conversion.
Coordinators of youth ministry must love young people too! They should have a real desire to serve young people by helping them experience God's love for them and the communities desire to invite them into the life and mission of the church. Coordinators of youth ministry are evangelizers who live and preach the Gospel with joy and conviction. They serve as a mentor, guide, example, teacher, companion, and friend in the gospel sense of that word. They know how to set and respect boundaries, have a good sense of self, and are not afraid to speak the challenging words young people and, for that matter, adults sometimes need to hear.
They are also passionate about justice and peace as well as fostering church teaching on respecting life at all its stages and circumstances.They realize that it is the parish or the school that is the real youth minister.The whole community does youth ministry-not just one person.
Well in many respects it is a job that never ends since coordinators of youth ministry never stop caring for young people. We are not talking about 24-7 availability. It does mean, however, that we are always ready to reach out to young people and their families, especially their parents with the care and concern of Christ. We do that through:
- Direct programming—implementing the goals and components of the 1997 Bishops’ document Renewing the Vision, for example, working with a core team of youth and adults to organize programs like retreats, youth group, peer ministry, outings, opportunities for pastoral care, gathered and non-gathered events, etc.
- Seasonal programming—involving youth in the liturgical life of the parish and its celebrations, for example, youth leading the Stations of the Cross during Lent and youth working with other members of the parish to organize parish outreach or a Christmas social.
- Leadership development—recruiting youth and adult volunteers, and training them for effective ministry, looking for opportunities and other people to enrich the lives and the faith of young people.
- Sacramental and/or catechetical programs—facilitating the faith development of youth in the areas of catechesis and preparation for the celebration of the sacraments.
- Administration—coordinating an efficient office, working in tandem with the pastor and parish staff, especially the director of religious education and/or the principal of the school and staying in contact with the diocesan office of youth ministry.
So now what? Well, we would love to meet you! We have an expansive selection of resources and information to equip you for the ride ahead. We ask that you please contact us so that we may obtain your contact information for addition to our database and to allow us to reach you to set up a meeting.