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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
June 5, 1998     The Message
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June 5, 1998
 

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The Message B for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 8Y'tHER'" W. THOMAS FAUCHER Catholic News Service coming teens who feel unwanted on church management, the most memorable words were: here is an area of parish ministry that to fail, examine the root'cause will usually find that what to achieve is somehow in to other goals you are promoting. must carefully examine all failure and figure out what violate." hold true for parish efforts to youths? are successful in ministry approaches in vary because each is geared to its own area, there are some to and with troubled youths of these parishes, both in terms of d money committed to the effort. directly, but more often is parish resources. person is treated as an indi- is not placed on what the wrong. today are stretched to the dozens of different and istries. The Rite on of Adults may need as well as a large number of vol- is religious education, the parish council, finance council, with troubled youths is a in other ways: youths are individuals; parish- groups. youths have difficult families parishes work hard to promote have done bad things; ; frequently are told to stay away calling troubled often don't want to go near a church or parish, feeling they will meet hostility there. Some of these youths are into crime, drugs, gangs; some are sexually active. They may perceive church as a place where old people tell you what to do. What can parishes do? I think parishes can take preventative action regarding troubled teen behavior. This may include parenting classes for parish- ioners; providing and supporting drug pre- vention and good sex-education programs; insisting that the Gospel be taught with an emphasis on self-esteem. Troubled youths almost always have low self-esteem and need mentoring. So parishes can encourage and even organize ways for families to become foster-families, for indi- viduals to join mentoring programs. Foster-parenting and mentoring are hard on those who do it. So parishes can form sup- port groups for those involved and give them recognition, even if the foster-parenting or mentoring is managed by other agencies. Parish buildings and resources can be made available to those working with trou- bled youths, including gyms, classrooms, libraries or computer facilities. This may involve paying extra supervisory or janitori- al help from parish funds. Parish money can be spent on awards or rewards for neighborhood youths who begin to change their lives. Parish business leaders can be petitioned to provide realistic employ- ment opportunities for youths with bad records; these businesses can also be acknowl- edged for their involvement. The list goes on. A parish that wants to work with troubled youths musake the social Gospel very seri- ously. Successes will be few and hard to rec- ognize. The parish will spend money with no hope of return. Some other need may go unmet. It is difficult. But it is definitely worth doing. Father Faucher is a priest of the Dio- cese of Boise, Idaho, on assignment in the Diocese of Baker, Ore. the Marketplace ................. sion point: a effort undertaken in your parish to serve troubled teens. from readers: parishes applied for a small grant for a tutoring program, program .... Adult volunteers and retired teachers came in and to help the high school kids mentoring the younger students." m Dan Endris, Indianapolis, Ind. the Hartford Street Youth Project... to keep kids from joining gangs. out with recreational activities.., and evolved to include.., after- and volunteers who work with the kids and their families." Linda Smith, Hartford, Conn. r all sorts of pastoral counseling and resources for teens and their fami- i a crisis time.... We train volunteer youth ministers to be aware of teens trouble or approaching trouble. Then we personally invite partic- TUFF program B Teens United in Faith and Fellowship." Nancy Singleton, Indianapolis, Ind. ministry program is open to teens of all stripes .... The community to different expressions of penal grooming, for example pierced perhaps a threatening exterior attitude, but underneath, kids are.. nore than ever." D Mario Dance, Colonial Heights, Va. edition asks: Do you have a favorite book or passage of the Old You turn to often? to respond for possib!e publication,plazs write: Faith Alive13211 Fourth D.C. 20017-1100 ......... "The kids we are calling troubled often don't want to go near a church or parish, feeling they will meet hostility there. Some of these youths are into crime, drugs, gangs; some are sexually active," explains Father W. Thomas Faucher. He warns, "They may perceive church as a place where old peopl e tell you what to do." -- CNS photo by Mimi Forsyth Continued from page 8 The directions offered here are starting points in support of families and trou- bled youths. We are called to these actions in order to proclaim the good news of healing, hope and new life. Let's not sell short the Gospel. Con- tinue to reach out and be good news for families and high-risk young peo- ple in your community; knowing that the Spirit of Jesus is present in and through your efforts. Everson directs the Center for Adolescent and Family Spirituality at Father Flanagan" s Boys" Town in Boys Town, Neb. For infor- mation about haw the center can support you in reaching out to families and young people at risk, contact E at 1-800-545-5771. If you or someone you know is hurting and needs help, cantact the Boys Tourn National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. Food for thought When the U.S. bishops addressed the pastoral care of adolescents in their 1997 document titled "Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry," they asked that special attention be given to young people who engage in high-risk behaviors that endanger their own health and well-being. "These young people," the bishops said, "often have multiple problems that can severely limit their futures: fragmented family life, poor schtl perfor- mance, anti-social behavior, eating disorders, sexual activity, sexual confusion as they struggle with identity, and alcohol or drug use, to name several. The church is called to work with the wider community to address the needs of these young people." What's more, according to the bishops, "ministry. to these young people may be the most important way they wilt ever come to know and feel the love , of God  through people who love them and care for them just at the t when they themselves feel least worthy and lovable." What is pastoral care? The bishops described it as ,most tally a relationship  a ministry of compassionate pce,  was Jesus' caring stance toward all people, especially  who were h or in need," .... David Gibson ...... Editor, Faith Allvel