Guiding Our Younger Parishioners in Faith
Our children and youth ministries take a comprehensive approach to lead all our children and young people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, integrating them into the life of the Parish Community and to a deeper understanding of their Catholic Faith. It all begins at the child’s Baptism as we seek to support and encourage parents, as the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith, in our mission of living the fullness of Christian life through the perfection of love. To fulfill this mission we offer a variety of programs, resources and opportunities to support parents in the faith development of their children.
For children who have not yet received their First Communion, we offer Children’s Liturgy during our Sunday Mass. At this young age, children learn the stories of our salvation by reflecting on the Sunday Gospel and through activities which relate the Gospel message to their daily lives. More information on Children’s Liturgy can be found here.
As the children grow in their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, they move into a time of preparation to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time. This usually occurs when the child reaches grade 2. Preparation sessions are held in the Fall and Winter during the Sunday Mass. More information on sacramental preparation for First Communion can be found here.
Once the children have received their First Communion, we encourage them to remain with the congregation during Sunday Mass to grow in the practices and devotions of our Catholic Faith. A great way to encourage children to learn about our worship and prayer is by becoming an altar server. More information on altar serving and getting involved in the Parish can be found here.
The children continue to grow as disciples and in grade 6 usually begin their preparation to complete their initiation into the Church by receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. This preparation is completed jointly by the Parish and our Catholic school, or by the Parish itself for youth attending a public school. More information on sacramental preparation for Confirmation can be found here.
Edge & Life Teen Programs
Following Confirmation, our young people are encouraged to continue to grow and develop within themselves the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our youth ministry programs of Edge for those in grades 6, 7 and 8 and Life Teen for high school students. More information on these programs can be found by clicking on the name of the program above.
The Life Teen Movement
As a Eucharist-centered movement within the Roman Catholic Church, Life Teen leads teenagers and their families into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. With the Blessed Virgin Mary as our intercessor and guide, Life Teen seeks to unleash the fullness of the Sacramental power present within the young Church.
Life Teen believes that “Eucharist-based ministry has the power to transform teens, transform parishes, and transform culture.” “Inspired by pope John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization, Life Teen believes that youth are the key to this new springtime in the Church.”
In 1985 Life Teen was launched as a parish-based youth ministry in Mesa, AZ focused on the Mass and gathering high school aged teens together at a Life Night. We continue to be focused on bringing teens to Christ in the Eucharist and gathering them to be formed in the Roman Catholic faith.
In 2003 Edge Middle School catechetical resources were developed in response to age compression and middle school youth having experiences that were previously common only with high school students. Edge middle school youth ministry is an essential part to any parish faith formation program. It is created specifically to reach out to 6th-8th grade students and lead them closer to Christ.
We currently have over 1,800+ parishes implementing Edge and/or Life Teen. Life Teen can be found in 31 countries, including Canada, South Africa, China, Malaysia, The Philippines, East Africa, Uganda, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, England, and the Netherlands.
We Lead Teens to Vocations
From a joint survey by the USCCB Office for Vocations and Life Teen 2015
• 49% of all current seminarians in the United States were involved in some Life Teen activity.
• 28% of all current seminarians in the United States said their involvement in the Life Teen Movement helped support their discernment to enter the seminary.
What is Edge?
Edge is a Catholic youth ministry experience created for adolescents to meet their educational, spiritual, emotional and social needs.
At this age, youth are open to good and bad behaviours as well as positive and negative ideas. Many of the values and beliefs that they held as children are now questioned and challenged. As young adolescents they are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe.
Within the context of faith, young people are moving from a child-like spirituality to one that will hopefully grow into an adult faith commitment to Jesus Christ within the Catholic Faith Community.
The name Edge recognizes that young adolescents are on the edge in their lives. They are on the edge of something new, of growing up and of coming into their own. And this is where the Church comes in: to help give our young people the edge they need in life, Jesus Christ, the Sacraments, Scripture, morals and values, all offered within a community that will love, nurture and challenge them to grow.
Edge provides an unparalleled moment in the lives of adolescents to offer guidance, reassurance and the love of God to a group of people who is encountering so many options and choices.
Who is Edge For?
Edge welcomes all students in grades 6, 7 and 8 to join us in this experience to know more deeply and live more truly our life in Christ.
The Goals of Edge
Edge exists to lead adolescents to Christ by giving them the basis for living a Catholic identity in their daily lives. This is accomplished in four main ways:
- a life transformed by learning to hear God speak in his Word and respond to that Word;
- a life centred in the Eucharist, especially in the weekly Sunday celebration;
- a life marked by seeking to understand the teachings of Christ as taught by the Church; and,
- a life lived out in prayer within the Parish Community.
What We Do in Edge
On a regular basis, the youth gather on a Thursday evening at St. Mary’s. This evening allows the youth to gather and go deeper in their faith, to understand it and share it with their peers through witness talks, interactive discussions and opportunities to learn how to respond to the issues they face in healthy ways informed by the Gospel. Prayer and song are incorporated into the evening as well as social times.
It is our hope that new leaders from the parents of our youth will join us in this ministry. The formation and catechesis the youth receive and the fellowship they kindle are very necessary in our culture. Please pray for the youth of our Parish and all who are involved in youth ministry.
Creating Safe Environments
The Diocese of Thunder Bay is committed to creating and maintaining safe environments in our Faith Communities for those who work, volunteer and gather within our Parishes and institutions. In keeping with Diocesan policy, involvement in parish ministry requires a mandatory screening process for all applicants. Ministries which will place the applicant in the company of vulnerable individuals will require additional screening, including a criminal record check.
Interested? What’s the next step…
If you are interested in assisting with one of these ministries, please contact the Parish Office to learn more and to register, or download the volunteer ministry application and return it to the Parish Office.