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Virtual Youth Ministry Leader Series upcoming

The Office for Youth & Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark is offering a virtual Youth Ministry Leader Series beginning Oct. 8. 

“Typically, our office hosts a mid-winter gathering in January where we break open a topic with a national speaker,” shared Rich Donovan, associate director with the Office for Youth & Young Adult Ministry. “The in-person gathering usually includes a time of prayer, discussion, dialogue and more for upwards of 50 to 100 people.”

Instead what has been developed was a fall Youth Ministry Leader Series taking place virtually once a month in October, November and December. The 90-minute sessions will include a time of gathering and prayer, a presentation done by a speaker and the chance for small group discussion and more. The series is open to all clergy, youth ministry leaders and volunteers, parish catechetical leaders and more. There is no cost to attend any of the sessions, but pre-registration is required.

On Oct. 8 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Roy Petitfils will be leading a discussion on “Helping Young People During These Crazy Times.” With so much being cancelled and changing in their lives, young people can experience depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Petitfils will take leaders through knowing the signs and developing strategies to help teenagers cope.

Petitfils is an internationally recognized expert in understanding and raising teenagers. He is a therapist at “Today’s Teenagers” in Louisiana and holds a Masters in Mental Health and School Counseling from the University of Louisiana. The internationally sought-after speaker uses humor, passion, clinical and life experience to help adults connect with teens, and teens to know, understand and love themselves.

On Nov. 11 from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Mike Patin will lead a discussion entitled “Buckle Up!” The month of November is a month of remembering loss (All Saints, All Souls, Veterans' Day) as well as grace received (Thanksgiving). Those two words – “loss” and “grace” – are also a part of the experience of life in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We're going to spend some time naming the experiences of loss and grace while seeing how we hold both of these realities together as we continue to live, work and minister to our young church,” Donovan said.

Patin uses energy, humor and stories to affirm God's goodness and presence among us
while inviting others (and himself) to take the next step in our journey with God. Patin has spoken around the country at various parish, diocesan and national youth and youth leader events.

Finally, on Dec. 9 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Fr. John Gordon will lead a reflection night for Advent called “Come Let Us Adore Him.” It will be a night of music, scripture and reflection in preparation for Christmas.

“We often miss Advent's power because the weeks of December are full of secular Christmas parties and preparations for Christmas and worrying about our parish ministry programs,” Donovan said. “Each year the busyness of this season serves to distract us from having an Advent season that truly prepares us for the celebration of Christmas, with all its meaning.”

Fr. John is the acting vicar for Pastoral Life and is also the coordinator of the Office for Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Newark. Over his 30 years of priestly ministry he has served in a variety of parishes. He has also served as a high school chaplain, and as the formation director at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

“When we were looking at putting this series together, we wanted to try and cover multiple angles,” Donovan said. “One night is meant for the Youth Ministry Leader in relation to working with their teens, one night is meant for the Youth Ministry Leaders themselves and reflecting on their ministry, while the final night is a night meant for spiritual enrichment.”  

Learn more about the series and register online at the Office for Youth & Young Adult Ministry’s website, www.newarkoym.com.