Gathering to focus on youths, teens


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
MOUNT PLEASANT — “Calling Youth to Mission-Equipping Young Disciples” is the theme for this year’s August Gathering. Parish leaders whose ministries touch the lives of children and adolescents are encouraged to attend the gathering Aug. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant, said Don Boucher. The director of faith formation said this year’s theme was selected and broadened due to requests from directors of religious education and youth ministry. The event was moved to a Saturday so that catechists would be able to attend. “Pope Francis is big on missionary discipleship,” Boucher said. “It is important to get a handle on what that means for us working in this ministry.”
Jane Angha, coordinator of youth ministry services and project coordinator of young neighbors in action for the Center for Ministry Development, will lead the daylong gathering. The center’s program was aimed toward older youths. Boucher asked if it was possible to broaden it to children and youths. “They said no problem.”
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and introductions at 9 a.m. Session one, “Following Christ — Mini Retreat,” will help leaders focus attention on their conversion as disciples as the source of their ministry. They will pray, recall their encounters as disciples, and discern how to deepen their relationship with Christ. They’ll look at the practices of discipleship and engagement in mission and ministry.
During session two, “Calling Youth to Missionary Discipleship,” participants will explore the process of engaging today’s youth and how to help them grow as disciples. Following lunch, session three will explore “Becoming a Disciple Building Parish.” Participants will continue exploring how to help young disciples grow and look at all aspects of their ministry with youths and families, and how to engage in new methods to foster that growth.
In the final session, “Disciple Building Action Plan,” participants will develop a step-by-step plan for accompanying youths in their response to Christ’s presence in their lives. “If parishes come in teams they will be able to infuse what they have been doing with what they have learned and talk together and with others before they leave,” Boucher said. The day concludes with prayer.
Cost for the day is $30 per person ($150 maximum per parish) by July 29; or $35 per person ($175 maximum per parish) starting July 30. To register go to and click on August Gathering.

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