By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—Young Catholics of West Virginia have an exciting opportunity to serve their church in a unique and rewarding way. Applications are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 Diocesan Youth Board.
The board is comprised of up to 20 Catholic youth representing different geographical regions of the diocese.
Joe Peterson, Program Coordinator for the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, said youth board members are high school-age youth who serve for a year at a time assisting in the mission of the diocese to bring the Gospel to other young people.
“During their time as a youth board member, they will receive spiritual formation and opportunities to grow in leadership skills, through training, retreats, prayer experiences, mentorship, and building Catholic friendships throughout the diocese,” Peterson said.
Youth board members, he said, also help to plan and carry out the Ignite Youth rallies held throughout the year and the High School Winter Retreat.
“We also count on their voices to speak into other youth outreach initiatives that come up throughout the year,” Peterson said.
Those who apply will attend an interview weekend in September at Mary, Help of Christians Pastoral Center in Huttonsville. Peterson said this will serve as both a retreat for everyone who applies and “allows both us and the applicant to better know each other and what may lie ahead than a 30-minute video meeting would be able to.”
Following the interview weekend, the Office of Youth Ministry staff will name the youth yoard representatives for the year.
Just recently completing his second year on youth board is high school junior Dylan O’Sullivan, who is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Weston. Being on the board, he said, has made a huge impact on his life.
“I can certainly say today that without youth yoard, I would not be where I am today,” O’Sullivan said. Through board membership, attending retreats, planning rallies, O’Sullivan and his fellow board members take on an important role. “It helps us because now, we’re not only being taught about the faith, we’re teaching others about it, and helping others grow in their faith. This is a way of owning it ourselves,” he said.
O’Sullivan joined the youth board at the urging of Shawn Madden, interim director of the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, and Anne Madden, program associate. His pastor, Father James R. DeViese, Jr., also recommended that he join. This was after O’Sullivan’s first year of attending Camp Bosco, which he called very transforming. Heather Bise, from the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, e-mailed his mother about it as well. “I guess that’s God’s way of telling me that that’s what I’m supposed to be doing! So I applied,” he said.
“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called,” O’Sullivan said. “By joining youth board, God has opened up many opportunities for me, and has helped me to step even further out of my comfort zone. It is such a joyful experience to be able to be a catalyst for others in the development of their relationship with God. Jesus said, ‘I came not to be served, but to serve.’ Youth board is our chance to put others above ourselves and to serve Jesus by spreading the Good News. My hope is that by instilling that spark in other young people, we can create a roaring fire for the love of Jesus that sweeps the world. There is nothing more that we need, especially in troubling times such as these. To make the hearts of others glow and radiate the light of Jesus by their love for him— that is what we need, and that is what we intend to do.”
Applications are now being accepted at www.youngwvcatholics.com/youthboard. More information about service on the board is also available at that address.
Applications for Diocesan Youth Board Now Being Accepted
By Colleen Rowan