They say it ‘takes a village’ to raise a child…and how much more that is true of raising a Saint, especially in the 21st century. More than a decade into leading youth ministry, I realize that I would have always made that statement, but as the world has seemed to grow more complex and challenging almost by the minute, especially in the past few months, the truth of that continues to grow exponentially.
One of the challenges at current, is that our idea of a “village” is difficult in the year 2020. We all desire a small group of trusted individuals that we could count on for support and that we’d love to walk this life with, celebrating the good things, helping to shoulder the burdens, and showing up in the sadness for one another. But attaining that tight-knit inner circle of friends and family is hard, particularly in a world where it’s easy for jobs to transfer to another city, family structures are often complex, and its all to easy to cancel another person out (or be cancelled out of their life) based on, well, almost anything.
So what does this mean in terms of raising Saints? It means that even for the strongest families, having outside examples of disciples for their teens are vital to reinforcing the goodness they strive for within their homes. It means the parish, including our physical church building, are extensions of influence for young people. I read recently that it takes no less than 5 adult disciples to solidly form a teen as a life-long disciple. FIVE! That means that even with two practicing Catholic parents, teens are hungering for more witnesses to teach them what it means to live a life of fidelity to Christ.
Thankfully, St. Timothy’s has proven itself a strong community time and time again. In so many ways, we, as a parish family, are showing up for young people. And YOU may be doing that in ways you don’t even realize. In general, teens especially equate ‘people with permission’ and when they see people showing up for things, it encourages them to show up. When a teen comes to mass, and sees pews full of people praying, smiling, singing, and participating in the mass, it gives them not only permission, but encouragement to do so themselves! When a teen sees adults in the parking lot having conversations and building community, it encourages them to do the same. When a teen sees adults being generous with their money, resources, and time, it teaches them to do the same. When teens see adults praying with one another, sharing meals together, serving together, attending adult ministries together, it teaches them by practical examples what the life of a Christian looks like.
There is no question that our world continues to need Saints…and that means it continues to need Saint-makers. St. Timothy’s has a long history of that, and not by accident, but clearly by the work of the Holy Spirit. It has been by intentional effort, by adults and families striving with fervor, to truly live as disciples themselves in all the unique capacities that God gives them. So, keep on striving family! Keep seeking holiness in every moment because the young people are watching. The world tells them it cannot be done, but our witnesses prove the world wrong. There is work to be done, let our village do it together.
For the Lord,
Director of Youth Ministry
Based on complexities of Covid restrictions for in-person ministry, both Life Teen and Edge are postponing accepting new core members at current, however, there are always practical needs for ministry! Check out our ‘I’d like to support youth ministry’ form on the parish website for some options. (https://sttimothymesa.formstack.com/forms/i_d_like_to_support_youth_ministry) Right now we’re also seeing many more teens for small coffee meet ups so gift cards to Dutch Bros, Coffee Rush, etc. are welcome!