By: Kevin Bohli, Director of the Office of Youth Ministry
Built on Christ, the theme for Youth Ministry in the 2010 -11 year, was based upon the Pope’s World Youth Day theme for this coming summer, “rooted and built up in Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col. 2:7). Each year, the Office of Youth Ministry (OYM) looks to our pontiff for both inspiration and focus as they plan the many trainings, days of reflection, retreats and seminars for diocesan youth ministers, in addition to the annual WorkCamps and high school RALLY.
The OYM is eagerly awaiting a 2011 summer that is filled with excitement. For a second time, they will be hosting two WorkCamp weeks. Winchester will be home to the June WorkCamp, and additional teens will be serving in Woodbridge during July. WorkCamp has again grown significantly as approximately 700 teens from nearly 40 diocesan parishes will be completing about 140 service projects this summer. The work will make homes “warmer, safer and drier” in 14 counties, cities and towns across the diocese this summer.
Additionally, nearly 300 diocesan pilgrims will be traveling to Spain this summer for World Youth Day. All diocesan pilgrims will be attending the 26th World Youth Day events in Madrid, including a unique experience with the diverse, multi-cultural yet universal Church. Also, many of the pilgrims elected to attend the “extended pilgrimage,” a trip that arrives in Spain a week early and travels to Montserrat, Lourdes (France), San Sebastian, Segovia and the Camino de Santiago. This extended trip will include daily Mass, other prayer and devotional exercises and seeks to introduce the pilgrims to ways to grow in their faith, hopefully in such a way that they can bring the experiences home with them and permeate their lives.
The pilgrimage concludes with a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, which will have a homily based upon the themes outlined in Col. 2:7. This will also mark the end of the youth ministry year that has been “Built on Christ.” The OYM asks that for your continued prayers that all of the teens continue to encounter Christ this summer.