Diocesan Youth Presentation Report by Fr Andrew Shingange
1. Diocesan youth Manual.
The Youth Manual has been drafted and presented to the youth and Animators of
the diocese at Ave Maria on the 5-7 August. It has been well received by them
and have expressed that it is also easy to use and it addresses a lot of issues
which they are facing in their lives.
The Manual is the best tool to be used in youth matters in all parish levels as
it’s both theoretical and practical in its application. Youth leaders and their
facilitators both need to be trained on its proper and beneficial use at their
youth meetings. Not everything has been included in the manual for the sole
sake of avoiding total dependence on it and as such leading to passiveness in
being proactive in sourcing out other programs and activities in youth
ministry. The manual is to be used with other programs and activities that are
relevant in youth matters, in other to enhance the life of young people in the
These are some of the comments that were part of the youth workshop on the
*It is relevant and offers guidelines for the youth
*it builds them and brings formality and uniformity in all parishes.
*it is educative on liturgical matters
*It’s easy to follow and has good references
*it gives the youth a place in the church.
* Develops a holistic approach to life.
*it makes them to be proud of their catholic faith.
*it lacks visual aids (pictures and colour)
*it builds on the already existing youth, but will be difficult to implement in
parishes where there is no existing youth structures.
*it lacks the basics of building the youth structure from scratch.
2. Youth Ministry.
2.1. Youth leadership.
The lack of proper leadership of the youth within parish structures has
contributed to the dismal or lack of youth participation in the life of the
parish. The same can also be said about the youth themselves lacking proper
leadership skills to handle their affairs and steer their own programs. Hence
this leads to a lot of failures in all efforts of building and sustaining youth
programs in the diocese and parish level. In the beginning of each year when
they youth gather, they need to be all trained and given proper formation in
church based leadership. They need to be all trained before they elect their own
leadership and drawing up their pastoral programs for the year. After this
training, then they can draw up their pastoral year plan and then followed by
the election of their leaders. There should be a further leadership skills
training for their elected parish executive on community and parish level.
The parish pastoral council needs to include the leadership of the youth in
their general council meetings, so that they too can have meaningful
contribution in the life of the parish and to ensure that all youth matters are
properly dealt with and supported by the council. Without proper youth
leadership in both the youth and parish structures, it wont matter how good and
relevant youth programs we might have at our disposal; it will all be in
2.2. Youth involvement in parish life.
It remains the responsibility of the parish council to ensure that the youth
are involved in parish matters. They are to be included in the parish pastoral
council where they are allowed to have active participation in planning and
decision making. They are to be offered responsibilities in the ministries of
the parish and community, not just to be relegated to the level of music or
choral music entertainment only. They are to be trained in ministries like,
catechetics, scripture, Sunday and funeral service, visitation of the sick and
other areas of responsibility. These areas of responbility give them a sense of
belonging and being part of the life of the church. When they are excluded and
ignored it makes them to feel isolated and this contributes to them being
passive in church and in extreme cases some of them will eventually leave the
2.3. Adult involvement and support.
Adult involvement and their support in all youth activities is in itself an
invaluable encouragement to the youth. Adults need to attend and support the
youth and their activities, not only be seen or heard when things have gone
wrong. They need to accompany and walk with them on their faith formation and
maturity in life. The positive influence and involvement of parents in youth
affairs can never be substituted by an animator or priest, as they are the best
formator’s in this regard.
The question is always asked as to who should be an animator for the youth.
Here are the qualities of a youth animator as seen by the youth themselves:
*Approachable, confident, persuasive, reliable, sense of humor, self-control,
respectable, dedicated, committed, understanding, lively and creative, active
in church and youth matters, must leadership and facilitative skills, honest
and open, must have a heart to forgive, not afraid to make decisions, must have
the urge to work with the youth, good listener, must have catechetical
knowledge and be grounded in the faith.
These qualities best answers the question as to who should be a youth animator.
The election or nomination of a youth
animator needs to be done in consultation with the youth leadership, as their
exclusion in this matter will result in a poor relationship between the youth
and the animator(s) concerned. The best way to describe the role of the
animator is that of offering guidance, discipline and being a good listener
(the rest will fall into place).
3. Regional structures.
Regional structures are to facilitate, form relationships and offer support
between neighboring parishes and the diocese. The success of regional and
diocesan structures depends totally on the proper functioning of parish
structures, as everything depends on grassroot involvement and participation.
4. Parish visitations. 2011
Parish visitations will form part of an evaluation and assessment of what
actually is happening on a parish level as far as youth ministry is concerned.
It will take the form of a consultation with the youth and their leadership. It
will also facilitate an opportunity to further promote the youth manual and
offer leadership skills to both the Youth and Animators.
5.1. Youth Vigil
It will be a great opportunity that at the end of the year (second weekend of
December), there should be a diocesan youth vigil, where they will all come together to pray and gives thanks
to the Lord for all the graces receives throughout the year.
5.2. Youth Conference
Another possibility instead of hosting the youth vigil, could have the diocesan
youth conference at St Brendan’s during the Christmas holidays. There
conference will deal with the four elements contained in the youth manual. The
youth conference could scheduled to begin on Monday evening and concluding on
Friday lunch time. For the full three days different speakers amongst priests
and religious would be invited to offer Mass, Confessions and to also give
Vocation, faith formation and human development talks. There could also be
discussions amongst the youth themselves on various topics that would be
relevant to their needs in society and in the church.
Fr Andrew - Youth and Vocations Coordinator - Tzaneen