Action Alert!

Youth ministry, old style

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jun 08, 2006

Mike Aquilina, on his Fathers of the Church blog, has hit a home run with his comments on how the early Church handled "youth ministry."

Young converts were pouring into the Church, he notes.

How did the Fathers do it?
They made wild promises.
They promised young people great things, like persecution, lower social status, public ridicule, severely limited employment opportunities, frequent fasting, a high risk of jail and torture, and maybe, just maybe, an early, violent death at the hands of their pagan rulers.

The whole entry should go in your "must read" pile.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Clorox - Jun. 09, 2006 6:38 PM ET USA

    The Islamic terrorists have besmirched the glorious word "martyr." From their point of view, a martyr dies inflicting cruelty on enemies. But sadism in defense of martyrdom is, well, a vice. The Christian martyr is a witness to the Faith by inflicting enemies with the "hot coals" of Christian charity despite persecution. St Thomas More holds fast to the Faith while insisting "This is not the stuff of martyrdom." Frankly, I'm glad he said that, after reading this piece on the Church Fathers!

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Jun. 09, 2006 5:28 PM ET USA

    When parents, priests or catechists try to be “hip” and accommodate the youngsters with rock music, touchy feely liturgy, speaking “their language” and allowing their fashions, they cave in to the culture of death. Teen and youth culture is an invention of merchandisers and corporations to sell more and create consumers. It is also a tool to brain wash kids into the ways of the culture. The Church should reject this, but after Vatican II even adults cater to the present culture.

  • Posted by: Deacon Bart - Jun. 09, 2006 8:56 AM ET USA

    Phil, don't be foolish! If this stuff works the kids would shame the elders; can't have that. Heaven forbid, we might have to have perpetual adoration and first Saturday Mass, and Communion on the tongue while kneeling. Impossible! I'm blessed to be at a parish where all this is happening. Also many vocations-go figure. Mike got it exactly right and JPII of happy memory and BXVI know(knew) it as well. Praise God there is hope for us all thanks to the devotion of our kids.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2006 3:25 PM ET USA

    I am checking the approved Youth Ministry models as approved by the Archdiocese - sorry I dont see anything about dying like St Tarcisius or St. Pancratius (Pancras). I don't see anything about reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Getting eaten by the lions isnt on the approved list of activities. Tell me did these so called early "fathers" have background checks? Calling young people to care about something other than themselves sounds abusive. We will have to clear this with Virtus

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jun. 08, 2006 1:41 PM ET USA

    Thanks for the links, Phil. This should also be in every vocation director's file, possibly making a brochure from it to promote vocations to the Priesthood and religious life!