Our Lady’s Youth Ministry
Dear Our Lady Family,
I know that this past year has been especially hard on the youth of our parish. Not only did they have to deal with the pandemic alongside everyone else, but our Youth Ministry program here at Our Lady has gone through its challenges as well. With the recent departure of Madison as our Youth Minister and my arrival, I would like to take this opportunity to reevaluate our Youth Ministry program and make sure it is the best it can possibly be for all of the youth of our parish.
Youth Ministry is one of the core ways we can help our parish align to the acronym R.I.M. – by helping students to grow in Relationship with Christ, discover their Identity as a son or daughter of God, and discern their Mission. Youth Ministry is also a path where we can tangibly see our parish as a school of prayer, and to help our youth plug into this necessary source of their identity during a pivotal time in their lives.
Youth Ministry is very important to our parish community, and this will continue! I have a heart for youth, and I have experience in running a very successful Youth Ministry at Scioto Catholic. Nothing is set in stone, but we are considering moving away from Life Teen and Edge here at Our Lady and instead replacing them with something that will serve all of the youth of our parish in an even better way, being rooted in the Church, the Holy Eucharist, our Blessed Mother, and mission.
Parents, this is where you come in! We want—and need—your help and input! I invite all with a heart and interest in Youth Ministry—parents, teens, young adults, anyone!—to share and hear more about my vision for Youth Ministry at Our Lady on Sunday, August 15 after the noon Mass in the Life Center.
We are very excited for this opportunity to look at how best to serve our youth. I ask for your patience and your prayers as we figure out the best way to do this, and I ask you to consider getting involved. Hope to see you on the 15th!
Fr. Joe’s Vision for Youth Ministry at Our Lady
The Militia of the Immaculata is a spiritual movement approved by the Vatican, with over four million members worldwide, and founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM, Conv. in 1917. The aim of the Militia of the Immaculata is to bring the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) Youth & Young Adults is committed to providing young people with Catholic formation in the Franciscan spirit and mission of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Through Total Consecration to Mary, young lives are transformed into instruments of ‘youth evangelizing youth,’ with a mission to transform their world with authentic and heroic love. MI Youth programs & retreats create a safe, interactive and faith-filled environment to:
- Proclaim the message of the Pope to young people
- Expose youth to the riches of the Sacramental Life
- Foster love for Jesus in the Eucharist
- Provide formation in the teachings of the Catholic Church
- Offer the gift of Consecration to Mary in the Franciscan spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe
- Ignite young hearts with zeal to be heroic instruments of evangelization
Family Core Team for High School and Middle School Program
I envision a parent team coordinating the MI program. This team will be formed and follow the MI consecration for themselves as witness to the youth of the parish.
Core Ideals of MI Youth Leadership
The core ideals of MI Youth leadership are those of St. Maximilian Kolbe himself: Supernatural Life, Holy Obedience, Redemptive Suffering, and Heroic Charity.
–St. Maximilian Kolbe
My dear little children, when it comes to the Immaculate, we do not think about ‘small parts’ or ‘fractions’ but we rather run a race all together and, by doing so, every increase in love for her in one of us will produce an even greater increase of love in the others… the unlimited-ness of love: that is our characteristic.St. Maximilian Kolbe
Steeped in Prayer, Sacraments and Marian “atmosphere” of MI Consecration
By praying both with our voices and our thoughts, we shall experience in ourselves how the Immaculate gradually takes possession of our souls, how we shall belong to her every day more in every aspect of our lives, how our sins shall disappear and our faults weaken, how smoothly and powerfully we shall always be drawn closer to God. Prayer is the best way to reestablish peace in our souls, to reach happiness, since it serves to draw us closer to God’s love. Our external activity is alright but, obviously, it is not as important as our spiritual life, our life of recollection, of prayer, of our personal love for God.
–St. Maximilian Kolbe (Stronger Than Hatred p. 75)
- Daily renew your MI Consecration.
- Cultivate a deep personal prayer life.
- Attend daily Mass when possible.
- Reflect on Kolbe’s writings, the Holy Father’s writings and Message to Youth, Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Take time for a daily examination of conscience.
- Frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Faithful to the Church and MI Code of Conduct
Holy obedience has been the Militia of the Immaculata’s motto ever since the beginning. And it could not have been otherwise since its essence is to belong to the Immaculate. By obedience Marytown arose, by obedience we set out for the missions and by obedience we shall fulfill even other plans of the Immaculata. The perfection of the virtue of obedience…is a practical knighthood of the Immaculata. This does not mean that one should lack initiative, on the contrary one can and must freely tell his superiors the thoughts and desires of his heart, provided he is ready with calm resignation of will (for nature at times can rebel) to accept the decision of obedience, whether it is according to, against or beyond our desire.
–St. Maximilian Kolbe
- Out of obedience, each Leader on a MI retreat has responded to Christ’s unique call: “Come follow Me.” Our hearts must first and always be turned to Christ. We must lead others to Him, not to ourselves.
- Adhere to all items on the MI Youth Code of Conduct and Policies.
- Leaders should be on time for prayers, meals, events and team activities.
- Leaders are expected to obediently embrace the instruction of the program Directors.
- Remember: Participate; Don’t anticipate.
- Be chaste in action, thought and speech; not placing ourselves in compromising situations; respecting healthy boundaries (no guys in girls’ areas and no girls in guys’ areas, no flirting, sending mixed signals, comments with double meanings, innuendos); dressing modestly and appropriately as representatives of the Church. No PDA. Be sensitive towards others’ personal boundaries and spiritual “space,” treating fellow team members as brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Never use or glorify alcohol or tobacco when engaged in ministering to minors.
- Never use, possess or be under the influence of illegal substances, including under-age consumption of alcohol [in the U.S. it is illegal to consume alcohol under the age of 21].
- Never provide drugs, alcohol or tobacco to a minor [this includes illegally providing alcohol to anyone under the age of 21].
In-tune with the Power of Redemptive Suffering
Love lives on, nourishes itself on sacrifice. Let us thank the Immaculate for interior peace, for the ecstasy of love. Still we should remember that even though these things are good and beautiful they are absolutely not the essence of love, and that love in fact perfect love, can exist even without them. The peak of love is the state in which Jesus found himself on the cross when cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matt 27:46) There is no love without sacrifice. And this includes sacrificing our senses, especially our eyes… our taste, our hearing and so on. But above all, sacrificing our reason and our will in holy obedience. In every divine work, nothing great can be generated without suffering. On the other hand, can any sacrifice be too much when it comes to the Immaculate?
–St. Maximilian Kolbe
- “There is no love without sacrifice.”
- Make acts of prayerful sacrifice for fellow team members.
- Be willing to put others first and consider the best interests of the teens and the team.
- Have a spirit of service, generosity and chivalry.
- Practice patience in difficult situations.
- When pushed to the limits, love without limits.
- Approach obstacles with a spirit of openness and determination.
- Accept shortcomings and failings with humility and confidence, knowing that Our Lady uses “rusty instruments” to bring about her plan of drawing all souls to Jesus.
- Never, ever, ever give up; trust in the Immaculate always.
Christ-like Love rooted in Truth
He who has known the Immaculata, loved her, dedicated himself to her so completely that he left nothing for himself and did not make any reservations; he who strives to belong more and more to her under every aspect; he who in his solicitude for her kingdom in souls desires that others dedicate themselves to her and on his part does all he can toward this goal and strives not to omit any means, even if it cost him very much and even if it would come to sealing this ideal with blood—such a person is the perfect Knight of the Immaculata. He considers it the greatest happiness, the culminating point of his dreams to make a total sacrifice of his own life for the conquest of all souls for her. This includes all men wherever they are, to whatever nations or race they belong and wherever they live now or in the future—such is the perfect Knight of the Immaculata.
–St. Maximilian Kolbe
- “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (Jn.13:34)
- Love Christ in one another and be willing to see Christ in each other.
- No one team member is more important than another; each one is precious to the MI Family.
- Speak kindly and charitably to one another; avoid negative criticism, negative humor and put-downs.
- Avoid superficiality; be sincere; be authentic; be true to your dignity.
- Be willing to step outside of comfort zones; take the first step to reach out to teens and other team members.
- Foster and maintain charitable relationships with each leader and team member.
- Keep team unity a top priority.
- Address misunderstandings or disagreements with team leaders, team members and/or directors respectfully and outside the team and/or retreat context.
- Apologize when wrong; forgive readily.
- Be respectful of and accountable to each other. If fraternal correction is needed, do so in truth and charity.
- Be respectful and appreciative of retreat facility directors and facility rules and property.
- Be aware of your surroundings; be gracious and respectful toward the hospitality of volunteers, benefactors, host families, retreat centers, friaries, convents, etc…
- Leave a place cleaner than how you found it.
- Maintain a “small footprint” with luggage and personal belongings.
- Refrain from displaying a sense of “entitlement”, giddiness/idle chatter, hyperactivity, inappropriate conversations/gossip, negativity, moodiness, complaining, being self-absorbed or isolated, staying up too late, overeating or undue pickiness about meals.
- Have a true spirit of evangelization by recognizing that every moment is a God-moment; share the Miraculous Medal, a kind word or a smile with those you encounter.
High School Youth Program Kick-Off: September 12th
Middle School Youth Program Kick-Off: October 2nd
Interested in helping?
Parents and volunteers will be key to the success of our Youth Ministry program! If you are interested in helping in any way, please click below to let us know!
March for Life Sign up
We will be attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 20-21, 2022. Sign up to reserve your spot and pay your $50 deposit!