The diocesan Youth and Young Adults Ministry Office has a new tool for evangelization: the missionary team.
This will be a select group of young adults who will live in community at the Drexel House in Charleston and take the word and spirit of God to teens in parishes and schools all over the state.
In the first year it will be comprised of young adults from Life Teen — college-age students who have already had a year of formation with intensive training on evangelizing, said Jerry White, director of the youth office.
After that, however, the diocese will form its own team for 2017-18. They start accepting applications in September for ages 18-27 and will hold “Come and See” weekends at the Drexel House for anyone who is interested.
White said the goal of the missionary team is to help young people encounter Christ. In his experience, teenagers are most open to this life-changing event on retreat, when they are away from the noise of the world and can embrace a level of quiet that opens the door to Jesus.
“That first encounter gives them a thirst for the sacraments and a desire to go deeper in their faith,” he said.
Like Life Teen, the diocesan missionary team was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization. It is a program White has wanted to start for a long time, and all the elements finally came together.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone gave the missionary team his approval and after three years of discussion with Randy Raus, president and executive officer of Life Teen, Raus agreed to have his missionaries come on board to help get the retreats rolling.
The first event will be held Sept. 16 and White said they’ve already received about 20 calls and have the first parish on the calendar. Parishes and schools are excited about the prospect of professionally organized retreats by the diocese because it takes a burden off them and offers a fresh voice for the youth.
In addition to serving churches and schools, White said the missionary team will also:
- Work with the young adult office to provide outreach to that demographic;
- assign members to Bishop England and Blessed Sacrament to enhance their campus ministry;
- offer Bible study and other special events throughout the year.
To meet startup costs, the youth office is working with the Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement, said Carrie Mummert, director. In addition to continued donations, they have applied for several grants and are holding their first fundraiser on May 14.
White said he sees the missionary team as a great vocational tool, not only in finding potential religious men and women, but also future leaders. Even if that isn’t their calling, serving on the missionary team will make them well-rounded young people in the church.
For more information, call Mary Corder at 843-261-0443 or visit sccatholic.org/youth-ministry.
Why do we need a diocesan missionary team?
- Statistics show that youth leave the Church because they have not encountered Christ and His unending love
- 80 percent of Catholics leave the Church by the time they are 23
- Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing
- 10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics
Source: “Forming Intentional Disciples – The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus”, by Sherry A. Weddell