The components of youth ministry provide a framework for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve them in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community. They provide a structure for the Church’s ministry with youth, while encouraging creativity in developing programmes, activities, and strategies for each component. Each component of the ministry supports and enhances the others. They are: i) The word; ii) The worship; iii) Creating community; iv) Guidance and healing; v) Justice and service; vi) Enablement; and vii) Advocacy.
1.The Ministry of the Word
The ministry of the word helps young people enrich and expand their understanding of the sacred scripture and Jesus Christ and their application to life today, and live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ in their daily lives, especially through a life of prayer, justice, and loving service.
For the Church, evangelization means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity (Mt. 10:1-2), and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new: “Now I am making the whole of creation new.” (Rev. 21:5; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15) But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism (Rom. 6:4) and by the lives lived according to the Gospel. (Eph. 4:24-25; Col. 3:9-10.) The purpose of evangelization is therefore precisely an interior change.
At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, “the only Son from the Father…full of grace and truth,” (Jn. 1:14) who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever. It is Jesus who is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” (Jn. 14:6) and Christian living consists in following Christ. The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.
2.The Ministry of Worship
The ministry of prayer and worship celebrate and deepen young people’s relationship with Jesus Christ through the bestowal of grace, communal prayer and liturgical experiences; it awakens their awareness of the spirit at work in their lives; it incorporates young people more fully into the sacramental life of the Church, especially Eucharist; it nurtures the personal prayer life of young people; and it fosters family rituals and prayer.
3.The Ministry of Creating Community
At the heart of the Scriptures is the consistent call to create community and live it. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Pet 2: 9)
4.The Ministry of Guidance and Healing
The ministry of guidance and healing is a compassionate presence in imitation of Jesus’ care of people, especially those who were hurting and in need. It involves promoting positive youth and family development through a variety of positive strategies; caring for youth and families in crisis through support, counseling, and referral to appropriate community agencies; providing guidance as young people face life decisions and make moral choices; and challenging systems that are obstacles to positive development. It enables healing and growth to take place within individuals and their relationships. It nurtures growth toward wholeness, and it provides guidance in decision making and challenges obstacles to positive development.
5.The Ministry of Justice and Service
The ministry of justice and service nurtures in young people a social consciousness and a commitment to a life of justice and service rooted in their faith in Jesus Christ, in the Scriptures, and in Catholic social teaching; empowers young people to work for justice by concrete efforts to address the causes of human suffering; and infuses the concepts of justice, peace, and human dignity into all ministry efforts.
6.The Ministry of Enablement
Recruiting, training, and supporting youth and adult leaders in youth ministry; empowering youth for leadership and ministry with their peers, in their schools, and in the Church and civic community; developing a leadership team of youth and adults to organize and coordinate a ministry with youth; partnering with parents and families in promoting positive youth development and faith growth.
7.The Ministry of Advocacy
“The ministry of advocacy engages the Church to examine its priorities and practices to determine how well young people are integrated into the life, mission, and work of the Catholic community”. “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:8-9).