News From Young Catholic Ministry Directors
FAITH asked Brian Flynn, director of high school and middle school ministry; Katie Gleason, coordinator for campus ministry; and Dawn Hausmann, coordinator of young adult ministry for the Diocese of Lansing how ministry to young people has progressed through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What opportunities have been offered for young Catholics in the Church?
A: Parishes and diocesan ministries reacted quickly during the spring quarantine to offer opportunities for online formation and fellowship. Youth ministries offered Project YM online for high school teens, while college campus ministries moved small group Bible studies online. The diocese held a hugely successful virtual discernment retreat for women and a Zoom Town Hall for young adults with Bishop Boyea.
Q: What are some areas of concern regarding young Catholics?
A: Through the course of the pandemic, young Catholics have felt increasingly isolated. They long to keep in touch with their peers amidst social distancing restrictions that limit group sizes, formation and fellowship events. Another area of concern is that there are fewer trained, paid professionals working in our parishes in many of the roles needed to minister to our young people. With fewer people in those positions, it makes it difficult for young people to feel connected or important to their communities. Isolation can lead to fear and loneliness, and too much time spent online may carry a temptation toward a misuse of media and unhealthy comparison with others.
It can also be difficult for young people to discern their vocation when they find themselves isolated and unable to grow in their discipleship alongside others.
Q: What current or emerging opportunities are there for young Catholics in our diocese?
A: While large group ministries have largely been suspended, a new emphasis on small groups for Scripture study, discernment and accountability has arisen. Through the experience of small group leadership, young Catholics have been equipped and empowered to create communities of disciples at any phase of life. We see a renewed opportunity for one-on-one accompaniment for those who seek a more mature understanding of how to defend the faith and live the road to discipleship.
As in-person ministries have resumed, creative new online collaborations have emerged. The National Theology on Tap Series featured some of the most impactful Catholic speakers in the country and invited young adults from coast to coast to tune in and experience major conference-level preaching from the safety of their homes.
Did You Know?
- Teens preparing for confirmation are invited to the diocesan Outpouring Confirmation Retreat on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, or Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.
- High school youth who are serious about becoming equipped to become missionary disciples are invited to attend our Diocesan Youth Leadership Camp, being held in June 2021. Applications will be sent to all parishes in the new year.
- Undergraduate students who are studying online from home this semester are welcome at nearby college campus ministry centers, regardless of their university affiliation.
- Small groups for young adults are taking shape: Contact Dawn Hausmann for information on how to start and sustain one in your parish!
- Virtual Nun Run on Dec. 12 and monthly priesthood discernment groups are available for interested young people.
For more information on these and many other opportunities for Catholic young people, see the Diocese of Lansing website or inquire at a parish near you!