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Featured Article: Let the Children Come to Me: How We Saved Our Catholic School - It was September 2007. I was three years into my pastorate at the historic St. Augustine Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Washington. Our school had just received its notice of termination: with 175 students, it would close in June 2008 along with seven other parish schools serving predominantly African American students. Flash forward nine years. We did not close but are still here today alive and well! Read Full Story

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Black Catholic Young Adults

The Road to Youth Ministry
Discerning God's Call

Margaret Brogden, Coordinator of Youth Ministry Formation, Archdiocese of BaltimoreMinistry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn't possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry.

Article Index
What We've Seen and Heard...Black Lives Matter
The past three weeks have awakened a sleeping giant in Baltimore. For some, the incidents brought back horrible memories of a time long past.. Click for full story
We celebrate Most Reverend Fernand Cheri’s ordination
We are providing a link from you tube to the entire ordination of Bishop Fernand Cheri in New Orleans. Click for full story
Meeting Them Where They're At
As a youth minister I longed to help young men see another way. Click for full story
Now Soliciting Nominations For Participants 2015 Black Catholic Young Adult Listening Session
African American Affairs is seeking 25 Black Catholic Young Adults to help us begin to develop an approaches to effectively evangelize and cultivate leadership. Click for full story
Domestic Violence and Abuse
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. Click for full story
Empty Shell Marriages
Sociology textbooks define Empty Shell Marriages as: A marriage in name only, where a couple continues to live under the same roof but as separate individuals. Click for full story
Must See Sermon
In this Young Adult Service, the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, a Baptist minister from Alexandria, Virginia, challenges the young and young at heart to explore their trust in God by showing how God reveals himself. Click for full story
Sunday Prayer for Teens 2014-2015
Sunday Prayer for Teens provides a great way to support a teenager’s prayer life throughout the year in a cost-effective manner. Click for full story
Dying to Self
What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that “I no longer live?” How do I deny myself? Click for full story
Shining her Light: Proud Young Women, Black & Yes, Catholic!
In honor of Black Catholic History Month, 13 year old Vanessa was asked by her churches BCHM Committee to share with her Parish what it means to her to be Black and Catholic. Click for full story
Vocation, a Journey to Conversion
A reflection written by Fr. Davis when he was a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2013 in New York. Click link for full story
Online Resources for Teens:
Check out the these resources for teens concerning alcohol, sex, living a pure life and more Click link for full story
Examination of Conscience
Every day we must examine our reflections and take account for the mark we have left on the world. Click link for full story
The Time has Come
On June 1, 2013, seven young men of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers religious community were ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in what was both a festive and holy occasion. Click link for full story
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Click link for full story
The Road to Youth Ministry: Discerning God’s Call
Ministry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn’t possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry. Click link for full story
Is Waiting Worth It?
The boundary for sex is marriage. God instructs us to wait to express our physical sexuality with another human being. He knows the power of it and knows that the best place for it to be expressed is inside of marriage. When sex happens inside of marriage it acts as a bond that keeps two people together, for life. Click link for full story
My Reflections on the National Black Catholic Congress XI
I have attended Congresses in the past as a youth. But now as a young adult, I believe I learned more from the experience. Perhaps now, as I am developing my own relationship with God, I was able to comprehend the various topics discussed in a deeper manner. Click link for full story
Reflections on Keeping Young Adults in the Catholic Church
I see the kids and teens in my own church and while they may not be on fire with their faith yet, I see that spark that will soon ignite and want so much for them to keep that spark ignited. I want them to join their church committees, be a true member. I want them to stay with their faith and profess to the world that yes we are black, we are Catholic and we are just as on fire with our faith as other Christians. Click link for full story
Words from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress)
Reflections from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) with pictures. Click link for full story
The Princess Within: 3 Steps to Realizing Your True Identity
The attack on our feminine souls can be strong and relentless. The war on our identity can seem like a never-ending nightmare. Where can you turn to find relief? Where can you go to find the answers to who you really are? How can you begin to realize that you are beautiful and perfect, a true princess? Click link for full story
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
The more we learn, the better we may be able to understand the abilities and vulnerabilities of teens, and the significance of this stage for life-long mental health. Click link for full story

The best thing about this call is that God has already given us everything we need to answer it. The first thing we have to do to answer this call is pick up the phone, metaphorically speaking. We do this by saying yes to discipleship. Yes Lord, I want to do your will. Yes Lord, I will follow where you lead.

Yes Lord, I accept the gifts that you have given me and I promise to use them to build your Kingdom. Yes, Lord, Yes!

The call to mission and ministry means that everyone is to participate in the mission of the Church. We are all called to evangelize and help bring about God's Kingdom. In order to figure out the best way to serve God and the Church you need to enter into a discernment process. Here are the steps that I recommend. Please note that this is not the only way to discern nor will this way be effective for everyone. This is what has worked for me.

Discerning God's will is a lifelong process. It takes time, energy and constant reflection on who you are and what God wants you to do.

  1. Acknowledge the call to mission and ministry received at your baptism.
  2. Embrace and proclaim your "Yes" to discipleship.
  3. Accept and grow in understanding of the gifts that God has given you.
  4. Ask God, in prayer, how he would like you to use your gifts.
  5. Reflect on your lived experience. Ask yourself: What do I like to do? What gives me energy? What makes me happy?
  6. Experiment with various ministries. Try to match your gifts to the needs of the community.
  7. Pay attention to your feelings as you minister. What feels right? What brings you joy and peace? What affirmations are you receiving while participating in ministry?
  8. Spend some quiet time reflecting on you ministerial experience. Use theological reflection to further unpack your experience.
  9. Talk to God about your feelings and experience. Ask God how he would like you to use your gifts.
  10. Take time to be still and listen to God's response.
  11. Talk to trusted friends about your experience. Listen to their feedback, affirmations and suggestions then take all of this back to prayer.
  12. Be still and listen.
  13. Continue to participate in ministry - matching your gifts to the needs of the community.
  14. Continue to practice theological reflection on your ministerial experience.

Discernment requires reflection on your lived experiences. Sometimes, it is only in hindsight that we see how God is forming and shaping us for ministry. For instance, I realized a few years ago that I have always been a youth minister. As a child growing up in the inner city of Baltimore, I would gather the younger children and supervise their play on my front porch. I would bring out my toys for them to play with and even provided snacks. We even put on little plays for the neighborhood. I have always enjoyed being with young people. It is and was something that came naturally and made me happy.

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A few years ago I was given the opportunity to work in the area of adult formation. I participated in this ministry for two years. It was rewarding work. However, as much as I enjoyed that ministry something was missing. I didn't have the same sense of peace and joy that came when working with young people. I realized then that, although I have a zeal for all ministry, I am the best me and more able to fully use my gifts when working in the field of youth ministry. Youth ministry is not just something I like to do; it is my calling. I can't not do it!

Knowing yourself is a big part of discernment. When you find your calling; the place that God wants you to be -it just feels right. Understanding the specific demands of a particular ministry helps the discernment. In discerning a call to youth ministry, you will need to consider the following:

  • A youth minister has to be able to meet your people on their turf.
  • A youth minister must know what the Church teaches and proclaims.
  • A youth minister finds creative ways to present the Good News to young people.
  • A youth minister helps young people become disciples of Christ and active members of the Church.
  • A youth minister prays with and for the young church.
  • A youth minister understands that young people are gifted and already belong to God.
  • A youth minister understands that serving young people means more than just hanging out with them.
  • A youth minister must be an advocate for youth in the community and parish.
  • Serving young people means serving their families and engaging other adults as collaborators.
  • Serving young people means always working on their behalf but not always working directly with them.

I love who I am and what I do. Both are gifts from God. God has led me in my discernment of this ministry and placed me where I belong. Thank you God!

Margaret is the coordinator of youth ministry formation for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. She is a native of Baltimore and was educated in the Baltimore city school system. She holds a BA in economics from the University of Maryland and a MA in pastoral ministry from the Washington Theological Union in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is currently working on a MA in urban ministry. Margaret has done numerous workshops for youth and youth ministers on both the parish and diocesan level.

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