Ready, Set, Go—Diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Prepared for a Busy 2015

By Tim Bishop

WHEELING—The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is set for another banner year in 2015. Bob Perron, executive director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said he is excited for the expansion of many of the office’s programs as well as the implementation of several new ones. “Youth ministry continues to grow,” he said. “In our diocese, we face big challenges but every year we are committed to finding new ways to meet those challenges and still offer young people in our diocese an opportunity to come closer to Christ and to grow in their faith.”

Perron said the office is excited to continue a number of programs as well as start new ones. Perron said youth from around the state have a lot to look forward to.

2015 March for Life

Hundreds of West Virginia youth are gearing up for the annual Mass and Rally for Life to proceed the annual March for Life in Washington, Jan. 22. This year, Catholic youth from the Mountain State will be featured during the Mass in a number of liturgical roles.


Youth will have to opportunity to grow in their faith during a series of youth nights to be held throughout January and February. The missionary team from the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville will travel the state for a series of youth nights to be held at 16 parishes around the diocese. The youth nights are based on a four-year series on the teachings of the catechism called “Journey to Emmaus.” That series was developed by the Diocese of Arlington, Texas, and is being used in conjunction with the video catechism series developed by Perron. Each night will consist of prayer, engaging activities and lessons on the incarnation.

Confirmation Retreats

Retreats are also continuing in the coming months as youth prepare for the sacrament of confirmation. Each retreat focuses on prayer and fellowship and gives youth an opportunity to meet with Bishop Michael J. Bransfield before their confirmation as well as other young Catholics from around the state. The next retreat is slated for Jan. 11 at the St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston where the guest speaker will be Chris Padgett. On Feb. 15, a retreat will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling with Cooper Ray serving as guest speaker. The final retreat will be held March 15 at St. Leo Parish in Inwood where Noelle Garcia will serve as keynote speaker. The retreats are held on all dates from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a cost of $20. Adult chaperones may attend for free.

Camp Bosco—Manus Christi

In 2015, Camp Bosco—located adjacent to the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville—will embark on its 51st year of offering residential camping in the diocese. Faith is at the core of Camp Bosco. Mass is celebrated for campers at St. John Bosco Chapel on camp grounds Sundays and Thursdays. Campers also experience many forms of prayer throughout the week—individual time with God on the hikes and backpacking adventures and together as a group each evening. Archery, swimming, horseback riding and hiking are just some of the activities of the camp. The camp also features a 90-foot slide to the pool, a zip line and mountain bikes.

Manus Christi is also expanding in 2015. The program is now set to run for three weeks—formerly a one week program. Manus Christi mixes vibrant prayer, engaging catechesis and formation and significant service with and to those in need. The service and mission experience gives participants the opportunity to encounter Christ in those in need while learning about and living the concepts of personal dignity, the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Anne Madden, director of both programs for the diocese said she is excited for coming year. “We’re so excited,” she said, “to see friends old and new at Manus Christi and Camp Bosco and continue growing the family of God! We can’t wait to have fun, serve those in need, take on new challenges, enjoy big adventures, go backpacking, and fall deeper in love with Christ.”

2015 promises to be a big year for youth ministry in the diocese. If you would like to learn more about the many youth programs within the diocese, contact Heather Bise at (304) 233-0880, ext. 311.