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Archives Bishop Fund 2017

Aug. 30, 2017

Bishop’s Fund supports ministry to young people


By Kelly Donnelly
Diocesan youth director

In the journal I kept when I was 13 years old, I wrote, “I wish the whole world could be like Guggenheim.” 

As I reflect back on the personal experiences of youth ministry initiatives of the diocese when I was a teenager - youth rallies, leadership weekends, Guggenheim, and so much more, I see how transformative they were and the difference they made in my love for the Church and desire to grow ever-closer to Christ.

Roughly 20 years later, it is a profound blessing for me to see and play a part in the difference youth ministry programming is making in the lives of teens of our diocese today.

When teens come to Guggenheim, they often voice that it is a place where they feel fully alive and treasured.  Through the opportunities to grow in prayer and faith through the sacraments and programming, the joyful and enthusiastic activities , and a warm, welcoming environment, campers grow in their love for Christ and desire to live out the faith.

Through events such as the Diocesan Youth Rally, teens are given the opportunity to hear renowned speakers and be a part of a large group of teens that comes together to grow in and express their faith. 

Teens witness the fact that Church is larger than their home parish, and they have experiences that help build their desire to grow in their relationship with God.

Many parishes have youth ministry programs that are growing.  Dedicated youth ministry leaders are involved in youth minister certification through the diocese so that they can fully minister to the teens of their parishes.

In the conversations with teens and parents, I’m blessed to often hear firsthand accounts of the impact of youth programming.  I’ve heard from parents that,  “My child is reading the Bible at home,” “My daughter has been so much kinder to her brother since coming back from Camp,” and from teens, “I’m going to tell my parents that we should really go to Mass every Sunday…and I want to go now.” “I didn’t know living a really Catholic life could be so fun.” 

Hearing these remarks and seeing the joy and energy of the teenagers and adult volunteers in youth ministry is a true testament to the effect of youth ministry. These programs, which make a direct and powerful impact in the lives of countless youth, would not be possible if it were not for the financial support as a result of the Bishop’s Fund Appeal. 

One of the many prayers that I cling to as a guide for my work in youth ministry is something Romero wrote: “We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.”

We do not always know for certain the full impact youth ministry is having on a young person’s life, but I firmly believe that the department of youth ministry is given the awesome privilege and responsibility to help plant, water, and grow the seeds of faith of our young people, made possible through the Bishop’s Fund.

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