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Hey youth leaders, have you heard?…


Earlier this year (2024) in May, the Pope gathered participants to the Vatican’s International Congress on Youth Ministry.

He highlighted some things we all need to include in our youth ministries:

  1. First, we need to help young people know without a shadow of a doubt that: “God is love,” “Christ saves you”, “He lives”, and “the Spirit gives life.” These are the certainties but there is also another: Our Lady loves you because she is a mother. He taught that these truths will be the foundation by which our young people will be able to have hope in this age of information.
  2. Spiritual Discernment. We need to hone this art so we can not only provide spiritual discernment for our young people, but also enable them to cultivate this skill so they can provide spiritual discernment for each other, in their peer-to-peer ministry. He highlights 3 main aspect of good discernment:
    1. Synodal – the need for others to help in discernment. So much of our cultures today are teaching us to have subjective realities and our ‘own truths.’ True discernment of God’s will needs multiple perspectives.
    2. Personal – the discernment needs to come from inter-personal accompaniment, not a blanket one-size-fits-all guide
    3. Truth centred – discernment is being real. Discovering the real us and being true before ourselves, God, and others. Completely countercultural to our media that encourages us to only display photoshopped versions of ourselves.

These things got me thinking about accompaniment. True accompaniment. Slowly, quietly, journeying with someone to help them grow and better understand who they are, and who God is. It can be so easy to get swept up in the busyness of planning, and coordinating, and creating events for our young people. How much of our ministries for young people, or anyone else for that matter!, include time and space for this?

But man, does it bear fruit when we do.

You must not neglect the ordinary paths, that is, the journey of young people in their everyday lives. I mean the kind of pastoral care made up of small steps, small numbers, simple words and actions, everyday decisions and moments of celebration and prayer in community. These may be less spectacular experiences, but they are the ones that touch hearts and bear lasting fruit over time…Pope Francis

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