After some two years of discernment, prayer and planning, a new Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office has been launched in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, with a renewed focus on discipleship and accompaniment.
The June 8 launch included the introduction of “Project Timothy” a leadership development program led by diocesan Evangelization and Mission Leader John Hickey and Sr. Marta Piano of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity. The two leaders will recruit, mentor and accompany young adults who have a desire to share their faith and reach out to other youth and young adults.
Other priorities for diocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry have also been established: providing support and trainingfor youth ministry in parishes across the diocese, and offering diocesan events “as a place of encounter” for youth and young adults.
“The focus is less on programming and more on discipleship and accompaniment,” describes Bishop Mark Hagemoen.
“The focus of Project Timothy is calling and supporting youth as ‘disciples’ through what Pope Francis calls ‘the art of accompaniment,’” the bishop writes in a June 8 letter to the diocese about the new direction for Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the diocese. “
“It has been a slow process, but we are excited to announce this shift in the way will be delivering Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the diocese of Saskatoon,” says Marilyn Jackson, diocesan Director of Pastoral Services. “We sure did not anticipate it would take two years.”
COVID-19 caused delays, she says, but adds that these delays “did not stop the Holy Spirit from moving gently through our time of discernment.… God revealed his plan, one piece at a time.”
The two-year discernment process started with the establishment of a task force to identify features and gaps in youth ministry. “It was a group of adults, young adults, single, married, teachers, ministry leaders and clergy. The data we collected was then shared with a consultant, who presented us with a model of making missionary disciples,” says Jackson.
“Our diocese has been ready to launch our youth ministry strategy for awhile,” notes Bishop Mark Hagemoen in a video released June 8 (above).