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Since 1979, the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® Program has educated thousands of leaders for dynamic and effective youth ministry in Catholic parishes and schools throughout the United States, Canada and Ireland.
The Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® is a ministry education program for adults in ministry with young people primarily in parish and/or school settings. It equips leaders with the knowledge, skills, practical tools, and techniques needed for creative and comprehensive ministry with and for young people today. This Certificate Program has helped to shape ministry with young people throughout Catholic (Arch)dioceses and Eparchies throughout Canada for over 30 years.
This program is designed for adults (at least 18 years of age and completed high school) involved professionally or as volunteers with younger (10-14) or older (14-19) adolescents in a parish or school setting. However, the content of this program will also address the spiritual needs of young people into young adulthood, as well as those who are not directly impacted by the Church’s mission through parish or school, social media and virtual communities and faith development.
The potential audience for the program includes: coordinators of youth ministry, parish catechists, youth ministry volunteer leaders, family ministry leaders, junior high leaders, high school chaplaincy team members, young adult ministers, teachers, clergy, religious, university students and seminarians. Individual weekends are also helpful for leaders who specialize in particular ministries. For example, the Justice and Service course can serve leaders involved in social justice ministries.
The primary aim of the program is to promote personal, spiritual, and ministerial growth. Courses in the first year cover youth ministry principles and practice, and leadership theory, processes, and skills. The second year focuses on fostering the faith growth of youth through evangelization and catechesis, prayer and worship, justice and service, and pastoral care.
The Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® utilizes a Blended Learning Program. Over the course of the program, students participate in four online asynchronous courses that are completed at their own pace over a given time period, as well as eight days of gathered courses at a local site (two days per weekend) over the course of two years. Weekend courses meet Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. Though the Certificate Program is based in the United States, the Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies reflects the needs of the Canadian Church, realities of Canadian youth today, and are taught by Canadian Faculty.
The Certificate program is utilized in a number of ways:
- as an integrated formation program leading to a Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies
- as an enrichment or continuing education program for experienced leaders
- as a workshop series which can be taken on a course-by-course basis by professional or volunteer leaders
Participating leaders will experience the following benefits:
Confidence. Participants feel more confident in their youth ministry role because they have integrated and applied the most recent and innovative theory, and approaches into their own setting and responsibilities.
Competence. The comprehensive sequence of courses provides a solid foundation of theory, theology and practical approaches, which can be applied in any parish or school youth ministry setting.
Credibility. This model has been taught as the Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies Program in Canada for over 30 years in different centres throughout the country by Canadian Faculty and endorsed by local (arch)diocesan youth offices.
A Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies is awarded by the sponsoring institution (diocese, religious community and/or university) and the Center for Ministry Development to students who participate in all eight gathered courses, all four online courses and complete the certificate assignments for each course.
The Certificate Program continues to be inspired by the Teaching of the Church and Conferences of Bishops, including, but not limited to:
- Evangelium Vitae – The Gospel of Life (Saint Pope John Paul II, 1995)
- Cartias in Veritate – Charity in Truth (Pope Benedict XVI, 2009)
- Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel (Pope Francis, 2014)
- Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home (Pope Francis, 2015)
- Christus Vivit – Christ Lives!d (Pope Francis, 2019)
- Documents of Vatican II and Catholic Social Teaching of the Church
- Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults (USCCB, 1996)
- Renewing the Vision (USCCB, 1997)
- We Are Strong Together (CCCB, 1991)
- Called Together, Making the Difference (Irish Episcopal Conference 2009)
- You Give Them Something To Eat: A Resource and Guide for Pastoral Planning for Youth Ministry in Canada (CCCB, 2016)