While preaching the theme “Getting Back to the Basics: A Guide for Today’s Parent,” in Bismarck, North Dakota at a Catholic Schools Week Event, Father Michael Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, said: “If my children have left the Lord, I’ve failed. And when I say it’s possible to fail as a dad, I’m looking in the mirror,” he confessed, citing that studies indicate 80 percent of all Catholic high school students will stop practicing their faith while in college.
But, he then added: “You have to realize that you’re not actually in this alone. There is such a thing called grace. And there is a God in heaven who loves your kids even more than you love your kids. There is a God in heaven who wants your kids to be Catholic even more than you want your kids to be Catholic. If you couple your prayers with God’s grace, that changes the world.”
The challenges that parents have to face today in our society in order to make our catholic faith a priority for our youth is overwhelming. Our youth is at a stage in their lives where they need attention, stability, continuity and structure, while through modern technology and advancement, they are being bombarded by marketing professionals who target them with commerce for their own profit. This causes an unstable culture of young adults who are continuously following on other people’s ideas, trends and fashions.
The Diocese of El Paso recognized these dangers for our El Paso’s youth and young adults and that is why they created The Youth and Young Adult Ministry in 1998, which is today led by Father Fabian Marquez.
The ministry has 9 current programs, which he supervises and follows up throughout the year and with youth from all parishes, as required/requested. They meet once a week for formation, all year round in order to develop Young Adult Groups in the Diocese. They are invited to participate every Thursday in our Radio Show “Bridge Kids” and are often invited to participate in youth conferences.
They gather every month to study and discuss theology at the Columban Mission Center. They attend the “Encuentro Juvenil” periodically, they participate in the Slam Jam Volleyball Tournament and participate in the Respect for Life, walk to Cristo Rey, amongst other activities, throughout the year.
One of the most important, activities that the ministry coordinates in several parishes for the youth and young adults is the “Taizé Prayer” (The singing of distinctive and much-repeated prayer chants during candlelit prayer services is one of its trademarks. Taizé music highlights simple phrases, usually lines from the Psalms or other pieces of scripture, repeated or sung in canon. The repetition is designed to help meditation and prayer), which helps them develop a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation.
The parents of Our Youth and Young Adults in El Paso are not alone! They have a strong Catholic Faith Community and Ministry that supports them, guides them and teaches them values and faith! And PROGRESS: Catholic Ministry Appeal is there to support this vital ministry!