The goal of the youth ministry program of the Diocese of Lubbock is that our American Bishops as stated in “Renewing the Vision”:
To accomplish these goals we have chosen to implement the process of evangelization defined by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter, “New Evangelization.” This process includes four phases:
It is with this “encounter with Christ” that the youth program of the diocese of Lubbock began with a Confirmation Retreat for sophomore High School students. During the retreat the candidates learn the steps in their personal journey toward being totally committed to Christ and how they will need the strength of the Holy Spirit and a community to fulfill this commitment.
The retreat gives candidates the opportunity to evaluate the values by which they live and measure them against gospel values.
Once youth understand that the Sacrament of Confirmation empowers them to serve as witnesses, they realize the need they will need supportive companions on this challenging journey of faith. The youth program of the diocese calls candidates to further develop their gifts and use them for the good of the Church. It is from a parish that recognizes the needs of their youth and sees how the community can benefit from developing the gifts of the youth that comprehensive youth ministry can take place on an intergenerational level.
Youth who have been confirmed are invited to join the “discipleship," or "D" Team of the diocese. This team is trained to witness through the use of their gifts and service to lead others to make a similar commitment. Each year, after the confirmation retreats, there surface a number of older adolescents who are trained to serve at retreats, junior high lock-ins, and youth rallies.
Because so many youth drop out of Religious Education classes after Confirmation, the diocesan Youth Ministry places a strong emphasis on changing the Religious Education program in each parish to allow confirmed youth to develop leadership skills and further develop their faith in a way the challenges them. The program focuses on making a difference in their families, parish and the community.
The parish-based program allows confirmed youth to take an active part in planning their own sessions. The sessions include service projects, social events, Bible/theology sessions using the new youth Catechism “YouCat,” and a special format for prayer. Training our youth as leaders who will remain faithful to Catholic Tradition and will draw others, especially their peers, to do the same is a hope for this program.
The deeper the bonds of community developed among the youth and with their local parish, the more the parish, as a whole, will move out in love to meet the needs of their local community and human family. The diocesan youth program fosters leadership on a diocesan level through the establishment of a “Discipleship Team.” The youth trained in this program serve as peer ministers in retreats, workshops, lock-ins and rallies in the four deaneries.
Formation of leaders for youth ministry is a vital and growing part of the youth ministry program. Sr. Jane and Marsha Luke continue to travel throughout the diocese to work with priests and lay leaders in youth ministry to keep the programs offered to youth aligned with Church teaching, effective and well-attended.