We follow the lead of the Diocese of Phoenix, Young Apostles Formation plan. Based on the stages of the catechumenate, the Young Apostles Formation process provides a framework in which initiated Catholic teens can grow deeper in their faith. Pastors and youth evangelization leaders should treat Catholic teens and their families with flexibility in this process, knowing that they are at different points in their faith formation. For uncatechized teens who have not received their Sacraments of Initiation, this process is to be strictly used for their preparation and full reception into the Church.
A period of evangelization (also called the period of pre-catechumenate) begins the entire catechumenal process. Evangelization can be divided into two levels: Pre-Evangelization and Evangelization.
This includes any activity that prepares the individual to hear the Good News. There is no formal doctrine taught in this level. Those in need of pre-evangelization are often uncomfortable in a religious setting. Generally, they have difficulty describing their relationship with God. To help set them at ease, they are informally presented to Christians and to the Christian community. Hospitality, acceptance, and love are essential characteristics of pre-evangelization. To foster them, the Christian community must warmly welcome those who come to church. The living witness of the fully-initiated Catholic, whose lived faith inspires others to want to know the source of joy in the initiated Catholic, is the foundation of all pre-evangelistic work.
In the Life of a Teenager
Pre-evangelization is the first step in the process of serving a teenager. Most young people do not feel comfortable in a church setting. They think of the church as boring or irrelevant, and they look upon church-goers as hypocrites. Parish youth programs must be committed to helping teens get beyond their negative stereotypes of the Church and to see the parish as a true home.
Some elements of fostering pre-evangelization with youth include:
An Adult Core Team
Informal Gathering Time
The trusting relationships built in pre-evangelization are the foundation of evangelization, the process of proclaiming the initial message about Christ to the individual. This message is called the “Kerygma,” from the Greek word meaning “proclaim.” The essential message is repentance and conversion, in which Christ invites the individual to communion with the Trinity through Him. This invitation calls each to change one’s life. Evangelization helps the person encounter Jesus and calls him to make a commitment to Christ through the Church. Evangelization allows for one’s basic questions about life and the Faith of the Church to be answered.
“Conversion” and “commitment” describe the goals of the initial proclamation of the Christian message. Conversion to Christ is fundamental to Christian living, for without Christ we lose our understanding of the purpose of the Church. Evangelization leads a person to a life-long commitment to Jesus, a commitment to be renewed each and every moment of our lives. To be evangelized is not a one-time event but a daily process of becoming more Christ-like. Evangelization does not happen through force, but by responding to a free invitation to follow Christ through the Church, an invitation “without coercion, or dishonorable or unworthy pressure,” (Evangelii Nuntiandi #80).
Some methods of evangelizing youth people include:
Youth Group Meetings
Rallies, Special Events and other Encounters
Our high school program, Crossroads, meets Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Families and youth members are encouraged to join us for 11:00 Mass prior to the program. We engage in group activities and service projects, have games and interactive activities, engage in discussion about issues that are important to high school youth, experience different forms of prayer, and experience weekend retreats for closer encounters with God. Like all good programs for teens, every weekly session involves FOOD!