Resource Ideas

Ideas for Integrating Youth in Parish Liturgical Life

  • Invite youth to lector
    • Personally ask young people you think would be good
    • Coach and practice with them before they read the first time
    • Offer sacristy encouragement to them on their first day lectoring
    • Give them positive feedback after their first experience, thank them, encourage them and offer to practice with them before next time
    • Follow-up on the post-lectoring conversation
    • Continue to encourage them and offer feedback every time.
  • Invite youth to acolyte
    • Personally ask young people to continue to acolyte after grade school
    • Engage them personally in the sacristy about their lives
    • Thank them for their service
    • Personally ask the best high school acolytes to serve for special occasions: Christmas, the Triduum, the parish feast day, when the Bishop is present
    • Personally ask acolytes to remain on into college and young adulthood
  • Invite youth to assist with liturgical environment set-up
    • Personally ask middle school and high school youth to assist with Advent, Christmas and Triduum environment set-up.
    • Carefully prepare for set-up beforehand so everyone will know what they are doing.
    • Do catechetical instruction with the whole group before the set-up on each occasion: history, why and what – make it brief.
    • Make the work big and hard
    • Lead the set-up event by circulating during the set-up to keep it all going, offer encouragement and engage young people about the meaning of what they are doing
    • Take everyone out to eat after each set-up, except Good Friday, to enjoy one another’s company  
  • Invite youth to assist in major feast celebrations
    • Personally ask middle school and high school youth to assist with Triduum special liturgical functions
    • Invite them to acolyte, have their feet washed, process in with the oils, carry the Good Friday cross, hold the cross for veneration, usher for the veneration, pass out candles at the door, work lights, process with baptismal water to fill the font.
    • Use them for other special events as well, such as Confirmation, etc.
  • Invite youth to assist in the liturgical music ministry
    • Personally invite young people to sing in the choir, cantor, and play instruments for liturgy.
    • Assist them as necessary with performance technique, interpretation and musicality
    • Perform with them.
    • Engage them catechetically when possible about what they are doing and what it means.

Ideas for Integrating Youth in Catechetics

Invite youth participation in classroom catechesis:

  • Invite upper high school and older young adults to be catechists in the RE programs for youngsters.
  • Instruct them on methodology.
  • Mentor them closely: co-teach, do class visits, etc.
  • Reward them in the end with a meal, or a gift, or a bulletin notice.

Invite youth participation in special program catechesis

  • Invite upper high school and young adults to be catechists in the RE programs for tutoring younger people Instruct them on methodology.
    • Doing catch up.
    • In RCIA
    • Preparing for First Eucharist
    • Preparing for Penance
    • Preparing for Confirmation
  • Mentor them closely: co-teach, do class visits, etc.
  • Reward them in the end with a meal, or a gift, or a bulletin notice

An Idea for Peer Ministry

  • Invite young people to participate in ministry to peers.
  • Orient them to peer ministry:
    • Do a retreat format prayer and reflection on the Christian life
    • Include in the retreat some background on teens and their concerns, as well as proper boundaries in relationships.
    • Introduce them to the format that will be used for regular peer minister meetings.
  • On a regular basis, meet with the peer ministers to share:
  1. oWhat has moved them in worship/prayer since the last meeting.
  2. oWhat has struck them in their experience of scripture reading or study of their faith since the last meeting.
  3. oWhat has most struck/moved them about their experience of ministry
  4. oWhat is their moment closest to Christ since last meeting.
  • Engage them in ongoing formation as seems appropriate
  • Engage them in recruiting new peer ministers

Ideas for Integration of Youth with Families

Parish community-oriented

  • Parish picnic
  • Potlucks
  • Dinner & a movie/dinner & a speaker

Youth participate alongside family and other community members

  • Parish festivals – solicit youth input, work booths with adults, set up, clean up
  • Put young people on committees with adults.
  • Basketball or other sports games (father/son challenge)
  • Caroling to nursing homes and/or shut ins

Make a parish event out of something already a part of youth/family life

  • Parish tailgate before a high school/college football game
  • Open parish hall after football/basketball games for snacks, soup/hot chocolate or a bonfire with s’mores in the fall.

Be deliberate about making something into a PARISH event

  • Family campout possibly with Mass
  • Hiking with family dinner or pizza following