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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
September 2, 1994     The Message
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September 2, 1994

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 2, Youth and young adult ministry: A new vision COMMENTARY By MICHAEL EPPLER Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry When I was a young(er) per- son, I thought that I would grow up to be a writer. Not just some paperback, dime store, "racy" front cover kind of writer, but a writer of sub- stance. I wanted to write nov- els that touched the human spirit and caused the reader to want to act! I wanted a Pulitzer! The Lord's sense of humor is wonderful. As I am sitting in front of my typewriter and I am thinking about all of the great things that I might be able to say, I have already missed the most important part: Christ is the message. We are about the business of Jesus Christ. A lot of people are asking about what is being done in youth ministry and what the diocese intends to do about youth ministry. On the same hand, there are many people in the diocese who are already acting out of their faith life and ministering to the young in our midst. I would like to thank and encourage the adult com- munity of the diocese for their I IIII perseverance to live justly and Christ-like and to act as role models for our youth and young adults. Youth ministry is about the young people who participate in the "activities," but who also really try to live life -- real life -- to the fullest. I am constantly going back to Matthew's gospel (Chapter 19), where there was a young man who asked Christ what he needed to do to "get" everlast- ing life. Jesus asked the young man why he asked about what was "good," but proceeded to tell him about the command- ments. The young man replied that he had done all of those things. Jesus looked him in the eye and said: "If you seek per- fection, go, sell all that you have, and come follow me." Christ was speaking to our very heart when he said this. This was not just a call to get rid of material possessions, this was a direct challenge to our human desire for more. This is a tough passage be- cause we are sometimes like this rich man: We feel like we have "met the minimum" or "done our job." We miss the reason why we are about the purpose of seeking Christ. The word that makes Youth and young adult ministry: Organization The diocesan office of youth and young adult ministry is organized to coordinate the various efforts of groups that di- rectly serve the ministry needs of youth and young adults. In addition to this relationship role, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Miiistry directly serves the diocesan youth through youth and adult leadership development, training programs for effective group ministry programs, and serves as a resource for spiritual development. The Offme of Youth and Yoflng Adult Ministry works di- rectly with the Catholic Campus Ministry programs at the University of Southern Indiana, University of Evansville, and Vincennes University. The Outpost, a diocesan camp in Spencer county, utilizes and is for the  development of prayer, leadership ability, and is a resource of the office of youth and young adult ministry. Christ's challenge to the rich young man our invitation is "perfection." Jesus said, "If you seek perfection . . ." He didn't say "the Kingdom" or "everlast- ing glory" or "good grades" or "the In-Crowd". He said sim- ply: "perfection." Seeking perfection is not an easy job. The role models of the Catholic Church, the Saints, have sought perfection -- only really finding its fullness in Christ. We can't find perfection on our own. We have to find it by following Christ. As an American, I find the first part of the challenge from Jesus particularly tough. I read from this passage that I am to sell my house, and the car that I drive and all of the things that I "own," and come follow Jesus. WOW! But when we look deeper into this, what do we really see? Christ is saying to us that we must get rid of the things that get in the way of following Him: our prejudices, our ha- treds, our desire for violence, our wanting to put others down to make ourselves feel better, our wanting to escape from the joys and struggles of true life through the use of drugs, and alcohol, and ciga- rettes, and MTV, and the es- capes of Nintendo and Sega. These are the things that keep us from perfection. Do we own our possessions, or do our pos- sessions own us? And Christ did not say: "come follow me by yourselfl" We are called and we have been chosen to do this to- gether. This was through our parents when we were bap- tized -- but this is chosen by us when we celebrate, really celebrate, our life in the eu- charist. Communion is commu- nity union. When we go to Mass, and support one another by being there, we are seeking perfec- tion. When you are at Mass, ask yourself if you have gotten rid of the things that hold you back. This is the way. This is a long way to the short point: What does the Of- fice of Youth and Young Adult Ministry do for the Young Peo- ple? We seek perfection to- gether. This is how: As youth and young adults we want to gather in community. We want to study the gospels and we want to try to live out those gospels. And as we learn from our parents, our pastors and spiritual leaders, and from our personal relationship in prayer with each other and with God, we want to act out our beliefs in service. Total and genuine youth ministry is about seeking per- fection. As a diocese we value the various groups who are earnestly trying to build the city of God through the young Church. In your parish you may see these Catholics working with youth: It may be the youth minister who is volunteering his or her time to the parish because this person really cares about young people. But it could also be the scoutmaster who is teaching a "religious emblem" (a course about Sacraments). It could be the Girl Scout leader who is teaching young women about their vocation through the example of our Blessed Mother and advocate, Mary. In your parish, your son's basket- ball coach and daughter's soc- cer coach and the T-ball coach have the chance to seek perfec- tion and model for our young people that to play together is the key to praying together -- no matter who "wins". In your parish, there may be a member of the Teens En-' counter Christ movement. This is a weekend experience for young adults which asks the young people to die to them- selves (as Christ showed us) and to rise with Him  and to go forth and share the Good News. The TEC community is for your parish and to build up your parish as young adults. In "your parish you have young adults who have joined the Catholic Campus Ministry programs where they lege. In the Diocese of ville, there is a group at cennes University, a group the University of Southern diana, and there is a group the University of Evansville. In your parish you have great treasure: young adults They are as different as ministry they bring and re quire from theparish. adults in your Parish could the young couple whose baby is very cute, but also distracting during Mass. It your church is a single woman who in her heart i seeking a share In your parish is a young who is thinking about a gious community. Maybe young associate pastor or narian is a part of your Young adults, while unique their diversity and in the way the parish wishes 1 respond to them, are Christ and as with Catholic in our midst, we to feed them at the Table love them openly in our munity. The last statement of t] second Vatican Council it was officially closed) w specifically to the youth young adults of the Church. It is here that t] Church sees hers The last statement was livered to the "youth" of Church in 1965. These are now the parents, teachers and pastors, and Shepherds of our Church. the message is still fresh: Church looks to you with dence and with love ..... Church is the real youth world. She possesses what stitutes the strength charm of youth, that is to the ability to rejoice with is beginning, to give oneSt unreservedly, to renew and to set out again for ne I conquests." In living the Synod's "Vis! I of Youth Ministry" and o] Catholic life, the coming ye will be an exciting time. Associated groups and movements As baptized Catholics, all Catholic Committee for its unique ability to reach brand of Jasper is the chair- Ministry occurs on three of 01 are called to minister to one another and to model for youth and young adults the Christian lifestyle; however, some mem- bers of our community are called to be direct ministers to the young. Each of these groups are associated with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry: Diocesan Youth Commis- sion The advisory group, the diocesan youth commission, works closely with the director of youth and young adult min- istry to meet the specific goals of youth ministry. This group which is comprised of members from the seven deaneries (a youth representative and an adult representative) meets quarterly to pray, plan, and implement the diocesan youth gatherings (like youth days). Antonnette Harris of Princeton and Sally Wickman of Jasper are the co-chairpersons. Scouting The Diocesan Catholic Com- mittee for (Boy) Scouting is a group which works towards building the Catholic Scouting program at your parish as well as work with Catholic Boy Scouts to develop their leader- ship ability. The DCCS is com- mitted to a boy's spiritual growth through catechesis (re- ligious emblems programs- which teach such things as family relationships, sacra- ments, vocation discernment, and life as a Catholic adult,) . annual retreats, Catholic pres- ence at Summer Camp, Catholic spiritual formation for adult scouters, integration of service, and promotion of the Catholic Scout movement as a part of the parishes youth min- istry program. Alan Langen is the chairperson. Girl Scout Committee The Diocesan Catholic Com, mittee for Girl Scouts utilizes many young women involved in the Girl Scout program. Through an annual gathering (Day of Joy,) and the promo- tion of religious emblems (Child of God, Marian Award,) the Girl Scout Committee places God at the center of the Girl Scout program and devel- ops leadership through voca- tion awareness. Ann VanMeter is Chairperson. TEC Movement Teens Encounter Christ, is a three day experience in Christ- ian living. The core of the movement is the Paschal Mys- tery, death, resurrection, and the mission of Christ. It is an effective way for young adults aged 17-21 to experience Christian community with other young adults from across the diocese. Applications are generally available from DREs and your parish youth minis- ters. There are four TEC week- ends a year. Dianne Hillen- person of the TEC board. Catholic Campus Ministry Catholic Campus Ministry transcends our diocesan boundaries. Young Adults go to many universities outside of the Diocese. The office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry is interested in this group. Specifically, Catholic Campus local colleges: U of E, USI, s V.U. The purpose of Camp Ministry is to build com nity, appropriate the Fai form the conscience, edu for justice, and develop leadl ship of young adults. Plea] feel free to call these vibr faith communities and about their programming.