Resources and Links
Parish Youth Groups come and go as the young people who travel through them get older and move on, and the adult leaders sometimes find they are unable to provide the on-going commitment. Essential to every youth group are a meeting place, adults to supervise, and a small group of young people who will often bring with them great amounts of energy, enthusiasm and ideas of their own.
The shape of every youth group will be different depending upon the gifts of the people comprising it, but we hope that in this section you will find some resources to step out with confidence and courage. Please feel free to contact us should you require some advice or support. On a national level, a new body exists to co-ordinate youth ministry across the country called CYMFed, Catholic Youth Ministry Federation. Recently (2011), research supported by CYMFed was published identifying key characteristics of young people and their needs. It is worth checking out Mapping the Terrain. You can order CYMFed’s vision document for youth ministry in England and Wales,‘Called to a Noble Adventure’. It is worth also checking out the earlier Y Report(2002) which tracks the shape of youth ministry in this country.
A Good Place to Start
A good place to start is www.catholicyouthwork.com and their newly released resource: Three: One resource. Its sections include material and resources to support a whole programme of sessions for young people onExploring our Faith, Prayer, and Taking a Stand. You can sign up to Catholic Youth Work as they have some forums where you can access various resources including Youtube clips for prayers. Recently Southwark Archdiocesan Youth Service have launched a 45-session catechetical resource for young people called Life in Christ. Youmight also like to explore the resources section of Revealed Online. From Scripture to music, and finance to health and safety, this website presents a wealth of practical material to enrich your ministry with young people. It is also worth keeping an eye on the Cafod website for resources relating to their current campaigns.
For Confirmation Groups
You may also find support for your youth group from the Young Christian Workers (Impact Group). There are Impact Groups in Preston, Lancaster and Fleetwood at this present time. Youth Work Magazine’s website has some ideas, resources and guidance for youth ministry too.
You might also like to look up www.funandgames.org or www.pastor2youth.com or www.youthworker.org.uk for ideas of activities/games for small groups. If you are using films and media for your youth group sharing times, it might be worth exploring the following: www.wingclips.com where you can find film clips on virtually every subject by theme, category or Scripture. You can also find discussion questions and reviews of current films on http://www.usccb.org/movies/ and www.reelissues.org.uk for film reviews and discussion questions for small group sharing.
For Confirmation Groups, you might like to make use of this course. This course – besides preparing teenagers for the sacrament of Confirmation – is a great tool of evangelisation and provides introductory notes to each of the eight sessions, demonstrations, worksheets and structures for prayer time: Introduction + 1 The Spirit of Love + 2 The Spirit of Mercy (with Reconciliation) + 3 The Spirit of Freedom + 4 The Spirit of Faith + 5 The Spirit of Power + 6 The Spirit of Life + 7 The Spirit of Witness + 8 The Spirit of Prayer.
Another excellent resource is produced by Catholic Evangelisation Services, ‘Plugged In’ – a six-session resource for teenagers which can be used in youth groups, Confirmation groups, schools and chaplaincies: includes 6 sessions on DVD containing several powerful elements including personal witness, young people’s questions and thoughts, scripture dramatisation, ‘Grill the Priest’ questions and answers, music and images.
This course was put together by Hannah Zafar, Nicola Couttie, Anna Cowell, Fr Chris Angel (Leeds Diocese) and Fr Philip Conner (Lancaster Diocese).
Teenage Friendly Resources
Over the summer, ‘YouCat’, the young people’s catechism of the Catholic Church, reached the rank of the best-selling Catholic book in the world. In the World Youth Day events since the introduction of the Catechism—Rome, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney—millions of young people from all over the world have come together, young people who want to believe, who are seeking God, who love Christ, and who want fellowship on their journey. In this context the question began to arise: should there not be an attempt to translate the Catechism of the Catholic Church into the language of young people? Should not an attempt be made to bring its great riches into the world of today’s youth? The result was YouCat. Commenting on its publication in time for the World Youth Day in Madrid this past year, Pope Benedict said, “Many people say to me: The youth of today are not interested in this. I disagree: the youth of today are not as superficial as some think. They want to know what life is really all about”. Addressing young people, Pope Benedict writes, “You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he or she is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if your faith is not going to dry up like a dewdrop in the sun, if you want to resist the blandishments of consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless”. YouCat adapts the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to a format intended to engage young people and young adults, in fact everyone. The format includes questions and answers, highly-readable commentary, margin photos and illustrations, definitions of key terms, Bible citations and quotes from the saints and other teachers. How about this one from our very own Pope: “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary” (p.38). And this one too, from Mother Teresa, “Draw your strength simply from your joy in Jesus. Be happy and peaceful. Accept whatever he gives. And give whatever he takes, with a big smile.” (p.177) And St Augustine, “Someone who is not tempted is not tested; someone who is not tested makes no progress” (p.286). All great food for thought and maybe something to pop into the basket for the upcoming Year of Faith.
In terms of websites for young adults,a good place to start is Lifeteen. This website has up-to-date and attractive multi-media presentations. The Chastity Project is an excellent website if you are exploring the meaning of relationships, love, sex and chastity. You can also check out questions on love and relationships. You can also check out a new website called the Jericho Tree which has a good range of articles on faith and life and breaking news. TenTen Theatre are also producing some very good productions which are worth checking out. The Youth 2000 website has some good tips on prayer, how to go to confession, how to work out your vocation, and the meaning of love. Salvationhistory.com includes the opportunity of studying the Bible in great depth as a distance learning project. Massive amounts of free MP3 is available on all areas of Bible study. A great resource for reference and for study groups is the new youth catechism, Youcat. Please also check out the prayer page of our website for links and ways of developing personal prayer.
For Children’s Groups
You may find resources to assist you in your Sunday liturgies in the Roots resources.
This is by no means exhaustive, but charities that have helped our young people include the Catenians and the Knights of St Columba. For those in Preston, it might be worth contacting the Roper Educational Foundation or the Maria Holland and St Joseph’s Charity, and for those in Cumbria, it might be worth contacting the Mary Grave Trust. If you hear of any other trusts or charities, please let us know so that others may benefit.
For Students and Young Adults
Xt3.com - Christ in the third millennium – is a Catholic Social Network (like Facebook, but for Catholics). Youngandcatholic is a very good blog. Lifeteen is always up to date with articles, videos, podcasts, media wonders and all things Catholic. They have an excellent e-publication for those setting off into college/university life, and may be wondering how do I make sense of this next stage of life. You might like to check out the Catholic Link website too which has some thought-provoking videos and articles. To keep up to speed with news in the church, there is a daily Vatican-based website run by journalists called www.zenit.org and you can also try www.aleteia.org/en for some questions and answers. For the Year of Faith, you might like to sign up to a daily email excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the perfect accompaniment to your spiritual diet. Also there is a new Catholic internet Radio, Heart Gives Unto Heart - with celebrity stories, desert-island disc Catholic version, music, news, etc.
Information on Vocations
If you are exploring the idea of a vocation to the priesthood or to religious life, the national office for vocations is a good place to start. You can also check out our diocesan blog and contact Fr Darren Carden (Preston) or Fr John Millar (Carlisle) for further details or if you are exploring the idea of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. There are some good guidelines also on www.free2become.org if you are discerning where God may be calling you to. The Salesians are developing a new network to support discernment. It’s at an early stage but they plan to organise retreats and provide help. Check out www.signposts.uk.net