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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.


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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Daily Readings
 Mar 24th, 2018
EZ 37:21-28
Thought of the day
    Mar 24th, 2018 EZ 37:21-28 Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent Lectionary: 256 Reading 1 Thus says the Lord GOD: I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land. I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one prince for them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols, their abominations, and all their transgressions. I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God. My servant David shall be prince over them, and there shall be one shepherd for them all; they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees. They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their fathers lived; they shall live on it forever, they, and their children, and their children's children, with my servant David their prince forever. I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD, who make Israel holy, when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever. Responsorial Psalm JER 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13 R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock. Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant isles, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock. R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock. The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror. Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD's blessings: The grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen. R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock. Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows. R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock. Verse Before The Gospel EZ 18:31 Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Gospel JN 11:45-56 Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"
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