Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way.’ I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment.”
— Evangelii Gaudium, 33

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis inspires us to confront the status quo of pastoral ministry. All who are involved in pastoral ministry with young Catholics must take a hard look at the sobering realities we face. These realities include:

  • Families who often lack the capacity to fully form their children in the faith
  • Parents and other adults who continue to leave the Church in significant numbers
  • Youth and young adults who are frequently inarticulate about the faith
  • Hispanic (and other) young people and families who regularly find a less than welcoming     reception or helpful pastoral services
  • Youth and young adults with little opportunity for a quality education that will assist them in becoming meaningfully employed and fully participating citizens
  • Youth and young adults who are on the margins of society and Church due to delinquency, gangs, drugs, criminal activity, and/or poverty

These pastoral challenges demand new ideas, creative energy, and a commitment between both laity and institutional church organizations to work together to spread the Gospel with authenticity, compassion, and mercy.

An important aspect of this National Dialogue is to bring together different models, approaches, movements, and ministerial contexts involved in ministries to youth and young adults to identify a shared commitment in the midst of different models and contexts.

 

Unify

“…the Church wants again to state her desire to encounter, accompany, and care for every young person, without exception.” (Part II, Introduction)

Unify Year One: January 2017 to June 2018: Unifying for the National Dialogue

Year One Goals:

  • To engage a diverse population of people from various national ministerial contexts to participate in a National Leadership Network group so that they can facilitate dialogue with their members or audience.
  • To increase the intercultural competency of national, diocesan, school, and parish leaders to prepare them to engage in broad, diverse, and respectful conversations.
  • To prepare and engage diocesan leaders to facilitate dialogue within their diocese.
  • To develop the process and materials for use in the National Dialogue.

Year One Activities:

  • Planning Committee identifies members of the National Leadership Network to facilitate the conversations in their various organizations, contexts, and settings.
  • Sponsor two gatherings of the National Leadership Network. The goal of the gatherings are to facilitate relationship building based upon deep, discerned, shared understandings that identify what divides us and unites us.
    • September 17-19, 2017
      Location: Chicago, IL
    • April 11-13, 2018
      Location:  TBA
  • Intentionally invite and encourage diocesan leadership and organizational participation in local Encuentro processes.
  • Sponsor a breakfast gathering at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders (sponsored by the USCCB) on July 2, 2017, for the National Leadership Network, bishops, and diocesan or organizational leaders in pastoral juvenil, youth and young adult ministries, and other related fields.
  • Prepare diocesan and organizational leaders to engage their dioceses/organizations in the National Dialogue including training and sharing, so that they can engage a diverse audience in their local conversations.
  • Write and disseminate a special prayer for the National Dialogue.
  • Create the process for the National Dialogue Year 2 and develop a mobile app for ministry leaders participating in the National Dialogue.

Engage

“Accompanying young people requires going beyond a preconceived framework, encountering young people where they are, adapting to their times and pace of life, and taking them seriously.” (Part III, Section 1)

Engage Year Two: July 2018 to June 2019: Engaging in the National Dialogue

Year Two Goals:

  • To engage a diverse population of youth, young adults, parents/families, and ministry leaders in local or national conversations about the faith experience of young people and missionary discipleship. These conversations will use common questions and processes and result in the identification of effective practices, strategies, and structures for pastoral ministry with youth and young adults.
  • To invite all those involved in the National Dialogue to pray for V Encuentro, XV Ordinary Synod, the 2019 international World Youth Day (including stateside and digital experiences), and the expected apostolic exhortation on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”

Year Two Activities:

  • The National Leadership Network facilitates the participation of their constituency in process and dialogue.
  • The National Dialogue Planning Committee gathers data from all the aforementioned conversations into a common place to track and identify trends and themes including the following strategies:
    • Launching a multilingual mobile app where the leaders of the various conversations can get resources for the National Dialogue and join together in prayer and support.
    • Launching an online survey with a link to a National Dialogue website to post summaries of local conversations which contribute to the goals of the National Dialogue.

Mobilize

“Everywhere in the world, parishes, religious congregations, associations, movements, and ecclesial realities exist which can devise and offer young people significant experiences of growth and discernment.” (Part III, Section 2)

Mobilize Year Three: July 2019 to June 2020: Mobilizing the Church

Year Three Goals:

  • To engage and form the National Leadership Network, as well as the local participants in the National Dialogue, in discerning, integrating, and acting upon the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue process.
  • To invite all those who have been involved in the National Dialogue to commit to pastoral actions that form youth and young adult Catholics for missionary discipleship.

Year Three Activities:

  • Utilize the National Leadership Network to create dialogue and learning programs around the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue. Some possibilities could include, but are not limited to:
    • a national workshop series
    • a massively open online course
    • tools and resources
    • a national video series
  • The National Leadership Network identifies concrete proposals for next steps in mobilizing the Church in the United States, in collaboration with the bishops, to form and engage young missionary disciples for the Twenty-First Century.

Engage

“Accompanying young people requires going beyond a preconceived framework, encountering young people where they are, adapting to their times and pace of life, and taking them seriously.” (Part III, Section 1)

Engage Year Two: July 2018 to June 2019: Engaging in the National Dialogue

Year Two Goals:

  • To engage a diverse population of youth, young adults, parents/families, and ministry leaders in local or national conversations about the faith experience of young people and missionary discipleship. These conversations will use common questions and processes and result in the identification of effective practices, strategies, and structures for pastoral ministry with youth and young adults.
  • To invite all those involved in the National Dialogue to pray for V Encuentro, XV Ordinary Synod, the 2019 international World Youth Day (including stateside and digital experiences), and the expected apostolic exhortation on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”

Year Two Activities:

  • The National Leadership Network facilitates the participation of their constituency in process and dialogue.
  • The National Dialogue Planning Committee gathers data from all the aforementioned conversations into a common place to track and identify trends and themes including the following strategies:
    • Launching a multilingual mobile app where the leaders of the various conversations can get resources for the National Dialogue and join together in prayer and support.
    • Launching an online survey with a link to a National Dialogue website to post summaries of local conversations which contribute to the goals of the National Dialogue.

Mobilize

“Everywhere in the world, parishes, religious congregations, associations, movements, and ecclesial realities exist which can devise and offer young people significant experiences of growth and discernment.” (Part III, Section 2)

Mobilize Year Three: July 2019 to June 2020: Mobilizing the Church

Year Three Goals:

  • To engage and form the National Leadership Network, as well as the local participants in the National Dialogue, in discerning, integrating, and acting upon the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue process.
  • To invite all those who have been involved in the National Dialogue to commit to pastoral actions that form youth and young adult Catholics for missionary discipleship.

Year Three Activities:

  • Utilize the National Leadership Network to create dialogue and learning programs around the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue. Some possibilities could include, but are not limited to:
    • a national workshop series
    • a massively open online course
    • tools and resources
    • a national video series
  • The National Leadership Network identifies concrete proposals for next steps in mobilizing the Church in the United States, in collaboration with the bishops, to form and engage young missionary disciples for the Twenty-First Century.