Vision 20:20 recap: The question at the heart of youth ministry

Anne Marie Amacher
Katie Prejean McGrady gives a presentation during the Vision 20/20 Convocation in Davenport on June 7.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

“Who is Jesus and how do I get to know him?”

Katie Prejean McGrady, a delegate to the Pre-Synod Gathering of Young Adults at the Vatican last year, says this question is at the heart of youth ministry. “That’s what youth ministry is,” she told Vision 20/20 Convocation participants in June during her breakout session, How to Evangelize Youth and Young Adults, at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

Youth ministry, she said, is not just about shuttling youths through sacramental prep. It’s not just about getting them into some Catholic outreach program when they get to college. Youth Ministry is not just Catholic matchmaking where couples eventually get married and have cute little Catholic babies that they can bring back to the church and get baptized. Instead, it is about helping young people in phases of transition encounter Jesus Christ, get to know him personally, and live a life with and for him.


She explained to the group that this happens not through a program, social media posts or flashy marketing, but through authentic relationships, honest conversations and paying attention to youths’ questions and concerns.

She encouraged participants to reflect on their own faith life and relationship with Jesus. “Who is Jesus in my life? How have I gotten to know him in my life? What has he done for me today, yesterday, this year and over the course of my life? …We can only ask those questions well if we can answer those questions for ourselves.”

This presentation on evangelizing youths and young adults is available online via podcast at Most of the presentations from the Vision 20/20 Convocation are available for viewing and/or listening.

Topics include, sharing faith stories; reaching out to families; accompanying immigrants; evangelizing the “churched;” evangelizing in an age of secularism, atheism and scientism; hospitality; evangelizing in small parishes; and church teaching on sexuality and sexual identity.

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