To The Editor:
I am writing to you and the community to let everyone know that an article which was printed in the April 29 church bulletin of St. Francis Borgia Church did not contain the complete truth.
It was announced that a unanimous decision was made to end the youth ministry program (WashMOLifeTeen which has been in place for eight years) at SFB Parish on May 27, 2012.
A new youth program with no affiliation to the local Catholic churches would be starting Aug. 12, 2012, at the regional high school for all youth in the deanery. The bulletin announcement and the announcement from the pulpit was not telling the truth. The youth minister for the program was not a part of the unanimous decision making, nor were the adult advisers or peer ministers.
Father Sigmund explained to the teens that the reason for ending the youth ministry program at SFB Church was because the Washington Deanery did not consider it a deanery-wide program. The present youth minister along with a past youth minister did meet with the Washington Deanery on a few occasions to explain that the youth ministry program hosted at SFB Parish was a program for all youth in the deanery.
Over the past eight years and four youth ministers along with many adult advisers and peer ministers, the program has grown to include teens from all faiths. On any given Sunday night you could find youth from four to seven different parishes attending the youth Lifenights. In addition, there are a few teens who do not attend any particular church. These teens have built a faith-based home with the WashMO LifeTeen program.
The bulletin announcement states that it is hoped that all the parishes will see this new youth program at the Catholic regional high school as a regional youth program just as the Catholic high school is a regional high school. My fear is that if the youth ministry program is moved to the local Catholic high school that the ministry aspect of the program will be lost.
Youth ministry is not an 8 to 3 job. Youth ministry is being available to the teens when they need you 24/7/365 days. An additional concern is that the youth from the public schools will not feel welcome at this new youth program. Many current teens who are part of the WashMO LifeTeen program are parish school of religion graduates, along with Catholic high school students. The current youth ministry program hosted at SFB Parish has welcomed teens from the local public high schools, Pacific, St. Clair, Union and Washington.
I feel that by moving the youth ministry program to the Catholic high school these teens will not feel welcome.
It is a sad day when our local Catholic churches cannot support the teens of this community unless they are a part of the Catholic school system in some manner.