Our Covenant journey with Our Lady of Lourdes began almost two years ago. Jason and I met with three volunteer youth ministry leaders from the parish who were seeking advice on running their ministry. We had chosen a trendy Mexican restaurant for the conversation, where we were seated on low, swanky sofas for the meal. Above the loud and distractingly catchy playlist, we shared our passion for Jesus and for youth ministry while trying not to drop the insides of our tacos all over our laps. It’s hilarious to look back now upon this scene where the Holy Spirit was so obviously present in the sharing of our hearts. By the end of our evening together, we knew a partnership had begun.
A Covenant relationship is a service of the OYYACM as part of Strategic Ministry Development. The OYYACM partners with the ministry’s leaders in order to determine a ministry mission, vision, and strategic goals that are specific to the realities, charisms, and culture of the parish. Our Covenant efforts officially began in Fall 2019 with Ministry Leaders Julia Quezada, Geovanne Garcia, and Cosme Carreon and OYYACM Strategist Katie Erskine Aguilar. After community research and strategic planning, the Covenant was signed and formalized in January 2020, lasting through May 2021.
Our Strategic Goals & Objectives were as follows:
- Our Lady of Lourdes Core Team is both comfortable and competent in managing the youth ministry budget–involving planning, tracking, fundraising, and working within the processes utilized by the parish.
- Creating and following budget for the 2021 Fiscal Year
- Training on diocesan policies and procedures regarding handling ministry finances
- Secure 40% of budget needs from sponsors & tithing to alleviate pressure on fundraising
- Teens in youth group claim their call as missionary disciples and embrace Franciscan spirituality.
- Secure photos and testimonials from teens regarding their relationship with Jesus through the Youth Ministry
- Complete two Urban Pilgrimages: a communal and spiritual journey in solidarity with those who go without access to clean water
- Partner with Vera Agua Vera Vita to run a parish-wide Lenten campaign to raise awareness and money for those who go without access to clean water
- Develop and articulate a ministry theory and model based upon genuine relationships.
- Develop and maintain an archiving system to document and organize all materials used in the ministry
- Develop a theory and structure of youth ministry for Our Lady of Lourdes and publish on website
- Recruit, train, and retain 10 additional volunteers for the 2021-2022 ministry year
The High School Youth Ministry at our Lady of Lourdes, called L.I.T. (Living in Truth), could not be more appropriately named. During the painful and tumultuous months of Covid-shutdown, L.I.T. served as a beacon of light for young people feeling lost and parishioners seeking hope that parish community not only still existed, but was not shying away from any of its calling as the People of God. L.I.T., like many ministries in the diocese, employed the entirety of its creative, evangelistic efforts to be pastorally present to those suffering, celebrate major milestones in their teens’ lives, and connect with and later, gather with, young people safely. Covid did not steal a year from this ministry. It was filled with opportunities to encounter Jesus, inspired moments of conversion and grace, and the sort of absolute absurdities common to any sort of ministry with teenagers. With support from our entire OYYACM Team, Julia, Geo, and Cosme grew both deeper in their fervor for mission and stronger in their skillsets as Ministry Leaders. They are building a legacy of faith at their parish and it was an honor to serve alongside them through the Covenant.
If you are interested in learning more about the Covenant process, please check out our website or contact myself at Kaguilar@cathdal.org or Josh Salinas as Jsalinas@cathdal.org.