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New diocesan Youth Council looking for applicants

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In “Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive),” Pope Francis tells us, “God is the giver of youth and He is at work in the life of each young person. Youth is a blessed time for the young and a grace for the Church and for the world. It is joy, a song of hope and a blessing.” 

Bishop Michael W. Fisher talks with some teens during a breakout session at Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora. The diocese is forming a Youth Council that will allow parish teens to regularly share their concerns with the bishop. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

It is very evident that youth have plenty to offer the family, school and Church. It is the desire of Bishop Michael W. Fisher to listen carefully to each and every person here in the Diocese of Buffalo, and certainly this includes our youth.

The Diocese of Buffalo seeks to form a diocesan Youth Council to provide opportunities for young people to participate in the renewal of the life, mission and work of the diocese through gatherings with the bishop and appropriate adult lay leaders.

Those representatives will advise and consult with the bishop and Catholic Center leadership on issues that affect youth and the Church; advocate for youth across the diocese; and provide witness of missionary discipleship to parishes, Families of Parishes, and the rest of the diocese.

“It’s to talk about things that are of interest to them, obviously as it relates to the Church, but also to talk to the bishop about how we can support, not only the youth in the diocese, but certainly families,” said Theodore Musco, diocesan director for Youth and Young Adult Missionary Discipleship.

In addition to regular bi-monthly gatherings, usually with the bishop, youth will be expected to participate regularly in their local parish and Families of  Parishes. The bi-monthly meetings will be about 90-120 minutes and take place at various locations throughout the diocese. There may be additional Zoom meetings throughout the month. Representatives are expected to communicate with the pastor and appropriate lay leaders of their parish and Family of Parishes.

The council will be used primarily as an advisory body to bring the needs of parish youth to the bishop, and less of a planning committee for diocesan events.

“We’re not going to make it a service-oriented board,” said Musco. “We’re not going to do anything that would take them away from the work they should be doing in their parishes or families.”

The representatives will also have the opportunity to grow in their faith through prayer, conversation, collaboration and witness to the Gospel.

The council will be divided into two groups: students in grades 6-8 and students in grades 9-12. Each group will receive training and formation before and while they serve on the council. The council will be composed of teen representatives from each vicariate and four teen representatives chosen from various apostolates. Each representative will serve a one- or two-year term.

Interested youth should discuss this commitment with their parents or guardians, pastor, Catholic school principal or other administrator, director of religious education/faith formation, youth minister, and anyone else who could be helpful. Commitment to the council is a serious one and that should not be taken lightly. It is also a family commitment. Parents and guardians will receive all information and notices provided to the council members.

Candidates for the council should be practicing Catholics; available for formation opportunities previous to and during their time of service on the council; able to inspire other teens by word and action; be aware of the hopes and desires of youth; committed to attend regularly scheduled meetings; able to serve at various diocesan special events.

Adult representatives are also needed. Each adult rep will serve one- or two-year terms (renewable once) as members of a Youth Council Advisory Board under the leadership of Theodore Musco, diocesan director for Youth and Young Adult Missionary Discipleship.

Please feel free to contact Theodore Musco, director of Youth and Young Adult Missionary Discipleship, at tmusco@buffalodiocese.org or 716-847-8374.

To access the digital version of the application and to request further information, go to www.buffalodiocese.org. Application deadlines have been extended to July 30.

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