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New Methodology in Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese

Bishop Bosco Penha

(In charge of Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Bombay)

 

After the synod of 2001, the youth has been taken as one of the three main priorities in the archdiocese. In order to reach out to as many youth as possible, a new methodology was thought of and it was  published in 2003 in a booklet entitled, Parish Pastoral Guidelines to Parish Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Bombay" (Indian Catholic Youth Movement-Bombay, 2003).

 

This methodology was introduced to the members of the Assembly at the Synodal Mid-Term Assembly 2006 and mandated for the whole archdiocese in the resolutions of MTSA. It was supposed to be in place in all the parishes of the archdiocese by may 2007. It has progressed in different parishes according to the efforts made in each parish.

I wish, in the article, to introduce this method to the wider public. I am exposing this methodology in six sections.

1. Why has the new methodology been introduced?

It was introduced because we found that:

a)Many parishes had no youth groups at all.

b)Other parishes had comparatively small groups e.g. in a large parish where the youth group members 30 youth, the actual number of the youth was 1000. That means we had touched about  3percent of the youth. Can we continue with this kind of youth contact?

2. An analysis of the situation revealed that we are making three mistakes:

a)That we depend on the priest alone. Since priests are constantly transferred, this ministry has no stablility.  One priest may come and do a wonderful job with youth whereas his successor may be inept and the whole ministy collapses.

b)When we stick to the centre, we get a much smaller number of youth joining. Those from far-flung areas of the parish are less likely to be attracted.

c) This youth group at the centre tends to be an "elite" group, more westernised in its way. The youth who speak vernaculars would not feel comfortabe in this group. Even fruter, this group tends to become a cloque and to keep out, perhaps unintentionally, the other youth of the parish. There is not much concern in such agroup about all the other youth who are not involved. The youth slowly becomes enclosed on itself.

3.Hence it was decided that we would overcome these difdiculties by:

a)Having a ParishYouth Animatin Team(PYAT) to handle the youth ministry. These should number about six to twelve people depending upon the size of the parish and would consist of peple who have a charism for dealing with youth (age no bar)

b)Moving from the centre to Neighbourhood Youth Groups (NYGs). Each Small Christian Community will have its own NYG. This would also bring more life to the SCCs.

c) Establishing a Parish Youth Council. One the NYGs are established, one or two representatives from each of these NYGs would form the Parish Youth Council (PYC). This Youth Council would then ensure that there is a youth group in the centre of the parish but one that is always concerned about the periphery and not lost in itself. Its ongoing task would be to bring the parish into contact with every youth.

Hence the new terminology is as follows:

1.Parish Youth Animation Team (PYAT)

2.Neighbourhood Youth Group(NYG)

3.Parish Youth Council(PYC)

4. This must be a collective effort and not left to one priest or group. It calls for the collabortation of:

a).The Clergy Team:Every preist must be involved in this youth ministry, in his own way, according to hs talents and gifts.

b)All the religious in the parish

c)The Parish Council plays an important role since each parish councilor is responsible for the people, the youth in his community(from which he is elected)

d)SCC Animators are also central to this ministry. It is they who should help the PYAT by makin g a survey on the youth in their community and helping in the ongoing effort.

e) Lay Associations and Cells must also be involved according to their own particular charism, e.g. by the legionaries through visitation.

f)Charismatic Groups/Praye Groups through prayer for this intention.

g)Parents must understand this ministry and encourge their children to be involved. They themselves can also help in whatever way possible, according to their circumstances. The difficulties of parents must be listened to and taken into account.

h) The Youth themselves are the best missionaries to each other.

i)The entire parish also must keep this intention in prayer and feel themselves responsible for the outcome. Hence occasional announcements at the Sunday Masses about the progress of this ministry should be made. We need "all hands on deck" if we are to succeed!

5. Searching for new ways of youth involvement:

In the past, youth involvement in the parish meant joining a youth group andattending a weekly/fortnightly meeting. This may not be possible given the changed circumstances in which the youth live today. A strong characteristic of this is the fast pace of life. Hence, we have to search for  mutiple, creative ways of getting the youth involved, for example:

a)By attending regualar meetings

b)By attending occasional study sessions/training programmes/get toethers.

c)Through registration in the parish youth office

d)Through a youth bulletin fostering intereaction among all youth in the parish

e)By contributing their talents and expertise to the parish

f)Through contact with call centres

g)Through emial connectedness

Some of these ways are, in fact, being tried in various parishes.

Conclusion

It is our hope that this methodology will help the Church in Mumbai to rach out to more and more youth to enable them to experience the love and the concern that Jesus has for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 
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