Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Making Youth Ministry a Priority

Not too long ago a priest friend called me and informed me that our plans on the weekend had to be kiboshed because he was going to help out a youth leader with confessions and Mass for the weekend.  When he returned he informed me that there were about 30 young people there and that he heard confessions long into the night on Saturday evening, for about five hours.  On Sunday morning he said Mass for them all, and made some good connections with this youth ministry.  He was exhausted but joyous, for he was happy to lead some of these young people to an encounter with the Risen Christ, in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Despite this, he confided in me that he was a little upset why he was called.  The youth group at this parish had organized this retreat many weeks prior to the weekend, but they were informed by the priests that they would not be attending.  The new pastor was being installed by the bishop, and the two vicars (associate pastors) had decided that they were not going to attend the retreat either.  He did not give the reasons, but I can only assume that it was to attend the installation.  I know that things come up, that plans have to be adaptable to legitimate surprises, but realistically, there was probably a priest available at the parish to commit to the retreat. 

If we say that the youth are a priority, then our actions have to coincide with this.  My experience is that the youth just want to know that their priest is supportive and cares for them, their salvation.  We all have conflicting priorities and busy schedules, but showing up for a retreat that was scheduled weeks in advance is a good start.

by. Anonymous Parishioner