Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creativity in Pastoral Work With Youth

One of the dioceses in Korea has attempted a new approach to spreading the gospel among our young people.  Each of the six deaneries of the Suwon Diocese will set aside a parish for use by the youth of that deanery, offering them an opportunity to meet together in one parish with other young people from the deanery. 

An attempt will be made to make these 'youth parishes' as inviting as possible to the young, so they will have a place they will want to come to. Although the young people are welcomed, the priest responsible for the youth of the diocese said it is meant primarily for the many young people who have stopped going to church. They will have their own Mass, catechism and religion classes, service programs, clubs, cultural events and festivals to match their desires. Each parish will have their own specialties that fit the make up of the deanery to which they belong. And each youth parish will have their own youth council to draw up plans and implement them with the pastor, the assistant and parish sisters. Parishes that have good youth programs may have no need for this approach. But all will be free to participate or not.
The diocese has promised  to make this an auspicious start with financial help and whatever else is necessary for success. The experiment will be evaluated at Christmas next year. If successful the number of parishes involved will be increased at the 50th anniversary of the diocese.

The success of this dream will depend on how well the youth parishes implement the programs and motivate the young  people to attend.  No matter how good the  programs are, without  the cooperation of the parishes the experiment will not succeed. The bishop is in full support and is asking the priests of the diocese to do what they can to make this innovative outreach to our young people a success.

Attempts of this nature have been tried in many dioceses over the years with all kinds of programs and events, but with mixed results. Hopefully, this attempt will be successful and point the way to even greater success  in other dioceses in Korea.                                                                         

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