By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
Over a three-day period, representatives from 34 parishes, schools and religious organizations throughout the Diocese of Dallas had the opportunity to focus on the future of youth ministry in the Catholic Church thanks to a Summit offered by the Diocese of Dallas Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries.
Guest speaker for the Summit, which was held Sept. 15-16 at All Saints Catholic Church and Sept. 17 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, was Katherine Angulo of the McGrath Institute at the University of Notre Dame. On Sept. 15, Angulo discussed the meaning and impact of Psalm 147 as well as the building of a eucharistic culture in parish ministries. The Sept. 18 session was offered for clergy and focused on the “call to serve” the Catholic Church as it applies to what the Church would look like in 2050. The final session of the Summit revisited the first day’s topic for bilingual parish ministries.
More than 70 people participated in the three-day Summit.
“This Summit offered the participants an opportunity to acknowledge the difficulties in ministry that have occurred over the past few years, which allows them to move forward in creating a Eucharistic culture within the parishes,” said Jacob Coffman, diocesan associate director of content development for Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries. “Ministry leaders were able to connect with peers from around the diocese to recognize similar struggles and share ideas on how to help build ministry within the diocese.”
Katie Dell, who serves as the coordinator for youth ministry at St. Jude Catholic Church in Allen, was among the ministry leaders in attendance on Sept. 15. Dell said she left the Summit inspired to do more to build upon the faith of youth in her ministry.
“One of the biggest questions I left with was: do teens understand the purpose behind the activities that we lead?” Dell said. “Do they know why it’s important we go to adoration or do I just schedule it because I know it’s important? One thing Katherine said was ‘we don’t have a crisis of activities; we have a crisis of the purpose of activities.’”
Devyn Buschow, who serves as the parish relations program manager for Catholic Charities Dallas, praised the opportunities for fellowship and faith offered through the Summit.
“It is always great to gather with other individuals who work in ministry,” Buschow said. “Getting the time to share our struggles, shared trials and hopes is always a blessing.
Buschow said Angulo challenged local ministry leaders to not forget about those struggles and how they react to them, citing in particular the challenges seen during the pandemic.
“Helping parishioners process what their lives looked like, instead of glossing it over, is how we can gather together now as a stronger community,” Buschow said. “The Church is a place for the wounded. At the Summit we were challenged to acknowledge our own wounds and pray for each other so we can continue to minister to those we serve.”
The Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries operates under the umbrella of the Diocese of Dallas Ministries Office. Its programs and resources benefit from donations made to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.
“Our office continues to look at the needs of the diocese and offer Summits that help in providing tools to ministry leaders throughout the diocese,” Coffman said. “This year the OYYACM will offer Summits that speak to the mental health needs in working with young people, the need for hospitality within our offerings, and offerings that foster a community of ministry leaders within the Diocese of Dallas.”