Directors of youth ministry gather for summit

First slide

Nearly 100 staff and volunteers who work with youths attended the DYM Summit Aug. 23, the largest gathering of diocesan directors of youth ministry.

The event at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna launched the year for the directors of youth ministry. The Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministries chose the theme for the 2018-19 year of ministry: “Rejoice!” inspired by Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate.” 

For the first time, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge attended the summit, speaking to all who serve youths, inviting them to teach God’s truth in clarity and compassion.

“You released your theme today: ‘Rejoice!’ And you may ask: How can we rejoice at a time like this?” Bishop Burbidge said, referring to the recent abuse scandals in the church. “We know that there is nothing greater than HIS mercy and his love. We need all of you to be strong. We can move forward. We don’t despair. We have faith. We believe in God’s grace to transform and to purify.”

Bishop Burbidge also reminded the volunteers and staff that the church and the diocese are committed to protecting our children.

“You should know that there is no priest and will never be such a priest in ministry who has committed such crimes,” he added. “If you are ever concerned, you gotta let us know. You gotta let us know.”

He left them with words of encouragement. “This is my prayer: May you be people who evaluate and discern; may God keep you truly wise, so that he who has begun the good work in you may bring it to fulfillment.”

Office Director Kevin Bohli presented practical tips to help DYMs answer the eternal question, “What can I do to be the difference between the teen who becomes a lifelong disciple, and a teen who falls away from the faith?”

“Our goal is for the teens we serve to be in a lifelong relationship with Christ. We want them still here in five to 10 years,” he said. Bohli encouraged the DYMs to kick off the year with events every teen, regardless of their faith background, would want to attend. He said this dramatically increases attendance and engagement, which opens the door for teens to experience the Catholic faith through the sacraments at these events.

Plumb is the digital and social media coordinator for the diocesan communications office.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018