The youth of today will be the parish leadership of tomorrow. Parishes need to cultivate a culture of youth leadership today to have a thriving parish tomorrow. This article examines three ways parishes can easily achieve that with a variety of ideas leadership can engage in that foster deep connections and empower youth to build a resilient parish community.


Celebrating Milestones: Acknowledging the Contributions of Youth

Recognition is a powerful motivator. Regularly celebrate the achievements, talents, and contributions of the youth within the parish. Whether it’s academic successes, artistic accomplishments, or leadership milestones, acknowledging and celebrating these achievements reinforces a culture of appreciation and support.

Beyond traditional means, consider dedicating a space within the church to a “Milestone Memory Wall,” showcasing photos and reflections that chronicle the collective growth of the youth.

Shine a spotlight on youth accomplishments in church bulletins, newsletters, or websites. Feature success stories, profiles, and interviews that not only celebrate the achievements but also inspire other youth in the community.

Institute an annual Youth Achievement Awards ceremony where outstanding accomplishments are formally recognized. Categories can include academic excellence, community service, leadership, and artistic achievements.

Conduct special blessing ceremonies for youth embarking on new chapters of their lives, whether it’s starting college, pursuing a career, or engaging in charitable work. This emphasizes the church’s support and prayers for their continued success.

Foster a sense of community by organizing collaborative art projects that showcase the talents of youth. Whether it’s a mural, sculpture, or digital project, this collective effort becomes a visible representation of the diverse talents within the youth community.


A Seat at the Table: Youth Voices in Parish Decisions

Empowering the youth to actively participate in the decision-making processes of the church is a powerful step toward building a stronger community. Encouraging youth representation on the parish council not only provides a platform for their voices but also brings fresh perspectives to the table. Establishing a youth advisory board within the council can specifically address the concerns and aspirations of this demographic.

The future of the parish is intrinsically tied to its youth, and recognizing their role in shaping that future is paramount. Granting the youth a real voice in parish decisions ensures that their perspectives are considered in matters ranging from community events to long-term planning. By actively involving them in discussions and valuing their insights, the church sends a powerful message: “You are an integral part of our community, and your opinions matter.”

Create a dedicated youth advisory board within the parish council, providing a designated space for youth members to discuss and contribute their perspectives on relevant issues.

Empower youth to take the lead on specific initiatives or projects within the church. This not only provides valuable leadership experience but also allows them to make tangible contributions to the community.

Designate a youth representative to the parish council who can actively participate in meetings, share insights, and advocate for the concerns and ideas of the younger demographic.

Encourage the rotation of youth participants in council meetings, allowing different individuals to take part and share their perspectives. This ensures a diverse range of voices is consistently present.

Actively involve youth in decision-making processes related to events, activities, and initiatives. This not only empowers them but also demonstrates the value placed on their contributions.

Facilitate mentorship programs that pair experienced council members with youth leaders. This fosters a supportive environment where seasoned leaders can offer guidance and insights, helping youth navigate their roles effectively.


Fostering Deeper Connections

At the heart of a thriving faith community lies a network of strong and interconnected relationships. For youth within the Ukrainian Catholic Church, building these connections is pivotal. Activities that promote fellowship, such as youth retreats, game nights, and communal meals, create spaces where bonds can be formed, and friendships deepened. By fostering an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie, the church becomes a second home for its young members.

Encourage youth involvement in spiritual growth activities, such as Bible studies, prayer groups, and theological discussions. Creating spaces for dialogue about faith not only deepens individual connections with God but also strengthens the collective spiritual fabric of the community.


In conclusion, the power of connection within youth communities is not just about creating bonds—it’s about empowering the future leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. It’s about instilling a sense of belonging and purpose that transcends generations, ensuring that a legacy of faith that seamlessly passes from one generation to the next.