Youth

‘Make your voice heard’ | Pope Francis says 2018 Synod of Bishops focused on youth needs young people’s input

Pope Francis waved as he arrived for a welcoming ceremony at the 2016 World Youth Day at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. As the Catholic Church prepares for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops focused on youth, the pope wrote a letter to young people saying the Church wants “to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism.”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis asked young people to tell him, their bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles and even their criticisms.

In preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops focused on youth, the pope wrote a letter to young people, saying the Church wants "to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism."

"Make your voice heard," the pope told young people. "Let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls."

Balance of solidarity, subsidiarity guide future of Catholic schools

The proposal of three school models in the Archdiocese of St. Louis signals a major shift in the way the Catholic Education Office operates and how they're looking at the future of Catholic education in St. Louis.  Students at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will be an Archdiocesan School model. Makalo Spencer seemed to raise his hand for every question about subjective personal pronouns during his sixth grade language arts lesson.

Kurt Nelson sees the future of Catholic education in the archdiocese as that of balancing a set of scales. On one side you have subsidiarity — the principle of making decisions at the most local level possible. On the other, you've got solidarity — Catholics throughout the archdiocese acting together as one Body in Christ.

"We want people to do the things they need to do, to have those freedoms," the superintendent of Catholic education said. "And where they have challenges, we want the solidarity piece to show how we are working as a larger Church. It's a balancing of both of these."

SEEK 2017 inspires college students to evangelize on campuses

Young adults prayed at Mass as part of the Jan. 3-7 biennial SEEK conference in San Antonio, Texas. The event was designed to bring evangelization efforts to college campuses.

SAN ANTONIO — In need of reigniting the fire for his Catholic faith, Jeremy Martins found the flame he needed at SEEK 2017.

"SEEK is the log I was waiting for," said Martins, a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. "It has been two years since a real encounter with Christ."

West County XLT latest example of collaborative spirit in youth ministry

Known as West County XLT, the collaboration of parish-based youth ministry programs rotates at different west St. Louis County parishes. Bishop Robert Hermann was the guest speaker for the group at St. Clement of Rome Dec. 14. Dominic Dolan, 16, from St. Alban Roe Parish, prayed at adoration.

The soothing sound of a guitar wafted through the church and into the vestibule at St. Clement of Rome as Breeze Bonderer and Josie Davis quietly talked.

The high school freshmen were taking a break from their end-of-semester studies to attend West County XLT at the church in Des Peres. The monthly gathering of praise and worship, adoration, confessions and a talk began in November, and rotates among seven West County parishes.

Be authentic witnesses in connecting with young people in the Church

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Encountering young people in an authentic way and taking a step outside of the boat, as Peter did with Jesus, are hallmarks of a fruitful youth ministry effort.

Leaders in youth ministry shared those sentiments at the seventh annual archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly Oct. 29 at the Cardinal Rigali Center. Nearly 150 parish leaders, including laity, religious and clergy, attended the assembly, traditionally a time for parish representatives to share ideas and communicate with Archbishop Robert J. Carlson about the priorities of the local Church.

Young voters prepare for election by viewing issues through lens of faith

Mi’Kayla Taylor from St. Joseph’s Academy listened during roundtable discussion on the dignity of human life.

Registering to vote was a routine matter for Audrey Strifler, but when she approaches the voting booth next month for the first time, it will be anything but that.

The senior at St. Joseph's Academy registered about a month ago, when she renewed her driver's license on her 18th birthday.

"I'm looking forward to being able to voice my opinion," she said. "I feel like it's a right denied to a lot of people (in other countries). People don't think that their individual voices matter and they can't make an impact, but when everybody comes together they can."

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