June 1, 2024 | Special Issue, Youth
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Youth in Lucas Oil at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis on Nov. 20, 2023. RILEY GREIF | WKC

Youth Ministry: Renewed efforts, reasons for hope


I am going to be honest, I was pretty concerned about the state of youth ministry in our diocese coming out of the pandemic. At the time, there was no way of knowing how trends might shift and if we would be able to regain any momentum in our work with young people. Upon reflection, I find a great deal of reasons for hope.

A significant turning point came in April 2023 when our office was given the opportunity to provide updated youth ministry formation for our diocesan priests at their spring presbyteral day. We enlisted the help of ProjectYM to provide information on this current generation of youth, their needs, and strategies for youth ministry. As a result, several parishes renewed their efforts and energy in youth ministry.

Youth speak to Bishop Medley in the Thematic Park at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis on November 17, 2023. RILEY GREIF | WKC

Throughout the year, the attendance at youth events began to steadily grow and bounce back more closely to how things felt pre-pandemic. The exclamation point for us came in November when we attended a sold-out National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis with a delegation of 215 from our diocese. It was truly a Holy Spirit driven celebration.

Numbers never tell the whole story, but I am deeply encouraged by the sheer amount of parishes and new youth leaders who have reengaged in youth ministry.

Charlie Hardesty is the director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Owensboro.

Originally printed in the June 2024 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
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