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​4.1.9.1 Philosophy

Ministry to and with young people in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles​ is based on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry, which was published in 1997. It is the understanding in this archdiocese that youth ministry includes all ministries to and with young people.

"Significant physical and emotional changes characterize the period of pre-adolescence and adolescence. While home and family remain the more powerful forces in the development of pre-adolescents and adolescents, their peer groups begin to exercise increasing influence on attitudes, values, and behavior. They learn to live the Christian faith by observing the good example of others whom they admire and trust" (National Directory for Catechesis, 48.D).

Adolescence is one of the most fascinating and frustrating transitions in the life span, during which the accelerated rate of change and growth is second only to infancy. It is a time of expanding horizons, self-discovery, and emerging independence. In young adolescence the transformation from childhood to adulthood begins with the onset of biological, physical, behavioral, and social transformation. The spiritual development of young adolescents occurs not as separate from but as part of this transformational process.

Young adolescence is a critical point in life's trajectory. This period provides an optimal time for intervention to prevent destructive life patterns and promote continuing healthy habits. Whether or not young adolescents emerge into adulthood as healthy, self-reliant individuals will depend on the opportunities they have to develop positive attitudes and life skills during these formative years.

The objective of ministry to and with young adolescents is to promote the full participation of these young people into the Christian community. This ministry will work to provide these young adolescents with the opportunity to grow in knowledge of themselves, to share openly with their peers, and to experience God personally and in the community.

4.1.9.2 Goals

Three interdependent and equally important goals guide the Church's ministry with young people. These goals state what it means for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community. They express the Church's focus for ministry with all adolescents, while encouraging local creativity in developing the programs, activities, and strategies to reach these goals (Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry, 9).

For all ministries to and with young people, these goals will be the fundamental foundation:

  • To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world today

  • To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community

  • To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person


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