From Father Phillip
Jun 1, 2018
Thank you To Barb Abler
As previously announced, our Tri Parish Director of Youth Ministry, Barb Abler, will move to a well-deserved retirement as of June 30. I speak for many with a deep sense of gratitude for the gift of Barb. She is someone who inspires me by her love for the Church and Jesus’ young disciples. Barb is a woman of deep prayer, taking several Holy Hours during the week, as she prays for the needs of our children, our parishes, and many others. While she will be involved moving forward, it will not be the same without Barb’s energy and her love for Jesus Christ expressed in this unique way as a staff member. Congratulations, Barb.
Share your gratitude with Barb anytime on Sunday, June 24 between 11:15-1:00 at the Saint Pius X Cafeteria. This is an opportunity for all to share some fellowship and personally thank Barb for her extraordinary commitment to our parish youth.
Welcome to Sarah Daszczuk
We are happy to announce that Sarah Daszczuk has taken on the role of Tri Parish Director of Youth Ministry. This is a wonderful opportunity for our parishes as Sarah brings experience, prayerfulness, and a connectedness to an exciting new vision and direction for youth ministry that is up to date with the larger Church.
Sarah grew up in Kenosha at her home parish of St. Therese of Lisieux. After a powerful Confirmation experience, she knew God was calling her to dedicate her life to parish ministry. She received her BA in Theology and Youth Ministry from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS and her MA in Evangelization and Catechesis from the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. Sarah has been serving in Milwaukee area parishes for the past 6 years, in both youth ministry and adult formation. In addition, she has been a speaker and conference coordinator with Arise Milwaukee for 5 years.
Sarah will begin on July 1. Take an opportunity to not only welcome her but to help her bring about a new direction for our young parishioners at a key age in their lives by responding to the ways she will ask for assistance.
New Directions in Formation for Children and Youth: Focus on Intentional Discipleship
With the arrival of Sarah, and the second year with Sam El-Azem (our Tri Parish Director of Formation for Children), our three parishes move deeper into a different era in formation for children and youth. The Holy Spirit has been guiding us and will guide us in the years ahead. I ask for your commitment and patience as we continue to look at things differently.
Changes will occur in formation for children and youth as we confront a difficult truth: statistics, and our observation of reality, show that our young people are not realizing the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith and are falling out of practice. There are many reasons for this, above all the challenges of today’s culture. But this is a moment in which, as parishes, we must begin doing things differently.” We are choosing not only to address this sad reality, but to actively acknowledge that the way we’ve been doing things isn’t effectively evangelizing and forming our young disciples.
As our three parishes begin implementing new formation opportunities, here are a few highlights of what is taking place, the details of which will continue to be refined:
- This fall, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will begin for our youngest children in religious education, 3-5 years old. This is an extraordinary step that has taken tremendous energy and commitment to make happen. We will push forward to ultimately grow this very effective and tested method until we reach sixth grade.
- Youth Ministry will now comprise of grades 6-12, rather than grades 9-12. Both Sarah and Sam will work closely to align their programs so as to most effectively form committed disciples of Jesus Christ.
- There will be a gradual transition to small discipleship groups for our youth, combined with large group experiences. The traditional classroom methodology, which has produced mixed results, will take a back seat to fundamentally teaching young people to know Jesus Christ and His Church, first of all. This coincides with the focus on small discipleship groups that must comprise our adult experience of the faith. As people who desire to know Jesus Christ, we must make it “normal” to talk about Jesus Christ all the time in our lives.
- Ultimately, our sacramental preparation will begin adapting to new methods that may be more effective in communicating the power and necessity of the sacraments to children and youth. We will pray about changes but we must all anticipate very different ways of approaching sacramental preparation. These changes will require a greater commitment on the part of parents, children, and youth.
Here are some areas in which I ask for special charity and patience, to ultimately explore the formation future for our children and youth:
- Working among three parishes brings benefits along with challenges. It may become difficult to accommodate all needs. Class times may conflict with one’s preferred Mass time at their parish, which may necessitate attending a different time for Mass, for example.
- This is an excellent time for current volunteers to assess their participation in our child and youth formation, and for new individuals to step forward. Be attentive to requests from Sam and Sarah for your generous assistance, and the witness of your joyful relationship to the Church. Please pray about your future involvement.
- Assessing how Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will integrate with our Catholic schools (Christ King and Wauwatosa Catholic) is a work in progress.
- Without strong parental faith models, we are at greater risk of our children falling away from the Church. Parental support will be necessary if we want to see any success in the health, happiness, and holiness of our children. Parents never come from a position of perfection in the faith, but they can give a commitment to knowing Jesus right from where they are, and growing. Our children are watching us carefully and we will do all we can to support parents who want to give more to their children in a witness of the faith. Parents and their faith practice are invaluable, and this will be emphasized moving forward.
We can no longer assume that our children will practice the faith due to ancestral or ethnic practice passed on from previous generations. Consequently, the Catholic Church in recent years seeks to help all people become intentional disciples through personal encounter and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Opportunities for our children and youth to encounter Christ and grow in personal relationship with Christ is our goal, our call and our focus as a Catholic parish.