Life Teen describes itself as “……a movement within the Roman Catholic Church, Life Teen leads teenagers and their families into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.” But here at St. Charles, Life Teen is the catch-all name for our weekly youth ministry meetings. Using the Life Teen resources, each week we have engaging and fun nights centered around a different topic to help deepen our faith and our relationship with Christ. We play games and eat snacks, but also dive deep into discussion and prayer.
“The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind’s eye. In it we see our inner face. From the scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection.” -St. Gregory the Great
Each week our high school students have the opportunity to delve deeper into the word of God, and get some free food while doing so! It’s a win-win situation.
A fairly new ministry to St. Charles, our Antioch retreat is held every semester to give students a personal and intimate encounter with Jesus Christ. Organized and led by students, the Antioch retreat is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to share their faith with others to not only learn about their own faith, but to help instill it in their peers!
Every summer our High School Youth Ministry program spends time during their vacation to travel to different parts of Appalachia serving others and learning about themselves and their faith. We typically take two trips:
Bethlehem Farm is an intentional Catholic community based upon the four cornerstones of prayer, community, simplicity, and service. Spend the week living in community with a large group of volunteers and help with home repair in the local community. Learn about sustainability, conservation, social justice, and the roll we all play in the web of life.
Nestled in a holler in the eastern part of Kentucky, McKee is one of the poorest regions in the nation. If you’ve never taken a mission trip before, this is a good one to start with, because you’ll get a taste of many types of service, but the focus here isn’t home repair, cleaning detail, or food distribution: it’s a ministry of presence. The biggest ministry here is listening and caring about the people and their experiences.
A young woman of the parish, Anna Boyer, has attended both mission trips and reflected on them:
“The past two summers I have gone on mission trips with Luke Hoefer and other members of the church youth group. The summer of 2015 I spent a week up in the mountains at a place called Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia. Signing up to attend this trip was way our of my comfort zone and a big step for me. The first day upon arrival I second-guessed myself on what I had gotten myself into when I was told that I only got 2 showers for the week and one had to be outside, they encouraged pooping in the sawdust bucket, and was asked to not use any technology, not even a watch. I was pushed physically on the project sites building gutters for a house. I was pushed mentally by keeping an open mind to the whole trip and keeping a positive attitude towards the other people I was with and the activities I was asked to do. I was pushed spiritually by digging deeper into prayer and seeing God in the people in the community and in the nature that surrounded me. Over all, going to Bethlehem Farm positively changed my views on the earth and environment, and helped me grow spiritually.
Last summer, summer of 2016, I went on another trip with Luke down to McKee, Kentucky. This being my second mission trip, I was a little more aware of what I was getting myself into. While the trip was more laid back than Bethlehem Farm, I was still able to experience a lot of neat things such as Gary, the “Jack of all Trades”, Cowboy Up for Christ, or the church that I was able to be a part of for the week. The wonderful people in McKee were so caring, they are proof that you don’t have to have a lot to be happy or nice. I left for the trip with a great group of girls that I was not too familiary with (and Luke) and returned home with a group of girls that I would now call my friends. Through the laughs, tears, fun times and not so fun times, Bethlehem Farm and McKee, Kentucky are definitely trips that I will always remember and be thankful for.” – Anna Boyer, 2017
There are college scholarships available to teens in our parish. Please check each scholarship page and application for specific application guidelines, qualifications and deadlines.
While the Life Teen website is a one-stop-shop for any youth minister or volunteer to find resources to use, trips to offer, and training for themselves, the website also includes a blog written by the amazingly faithful people that help run Life Teen. The blog features many different articles on a variety of topics from prayer and sacraments, to movie reviews and dating tips.
A good way to describe this website would be “Buzzfeed for Catholics”. ChurchPOP contains articles on current events from a Catholic perspective, keeping you up-to-date on what’s happening from the Church’s standpoint. It’s also got quizzes to find out what saint you’re most like, or what devotional is best for you. It even has games and videos to check out!
BtheFarm is a blog run and written by the caretakers at Bethlehem Farm, one of our mission trip locations mentioned above. The blog highlights different things going on at the Farm during the non-volunteer seasons, keeps you up-to-date on what projects are being done, and even features articles talking about what their friends are doing to continue the lifestyle beyond the Farm!