The Way: Youth to Young Adult Initiative
The Way: Youth to Young Adult Initiative fulfills one of the last remaining goals of the diocesan Mutually Shared Vision, established in February 2019 following 18 months of listening sessions and committee discernment. The guiding vision, One Family: Restored in Christ, Equipped for Mission, included the goal to “craft a comprehensive youth to young adult initiative by November 2022.” Delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the goal has come to fruition now in The Way. Within this comprehensive path of faith formation from infancy to young adulthood, is the lowering of the age for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Beginning in Fall 2024 the ordinary time for preparation and reception of Confirmation will be the 6th grade.
The Early Christians were known as people of The Way (cf. Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; 24:14). Ultimately, we know that it is Jesus himself who is the Way: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Now, this initiative will provide resources to help parents guide their children along The Way. The end goal of the journey is for children to become mature disciples of Jesus Christ, to find their vocation, and commit to it wholeheartedly.
El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) was inspiration for the Youth to Young Adult Initiative. Just as signposts or markers on the Camino indicate progress, children also experience specific milestones as they journey toward adulthood, both in their development and spirituality. A trail map has been created to guide this journey, assisting parents, religious educators, and teachers to understand what children should learn and when to more closely unite their efforts.
We have illustrated this as a trail map for an extended pilgrimage that lasts from infancy to young adulthood and lays the foundation for a lifetime of belief and practice. Like a pilgrimage, it has times for retreat and reflection, fellowship, formation, and perhaps a few moments of extra effort. Ultimately, it aims to help families and youth discover the direction of their lives as Catholics.
Vision for Parents
The Way: Youth to Young Adult Initiative provides guidance and resources to assist parents and guardians in guiding their children from baptism through adult faith and commitment to their vocation. This is a vision for parents, not a curriculum for parishes and Catholic schools. The Way primarily addresses parents because they are the most vital disciple-makers in their children’s lives. Educators, priests, parish staff, youth ministers, catechists, and others will provide essential support to parents in youth formation. Resources from this initiative will provide clear formation objectives based on the stages of discipleship and developmental stages (shown on the map on pages 8-9). We will develop resources guiding parents in how to help children grow in faith and discipleship at different stages of the journey.
Resources, retreats and other moments of encounter will begin to roll out in Spring 2024 and continue to develop in the years following.
Documents and resources for The Way: Youth to Young Adult Initiative
Bishop Johnston’s Pastoral Letter – Strengthening Faith in a Challenging World (Nov. 1, 2023 +All Saints) PDF
Learn more about the entire Diocesan Vision here.