Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
November 23, 2009
Parish ready to hire youth minister
St. Mary's raises more than $50,000 for program
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
RED DEER - Following a six-month fundraising campaign, St. Mary's Parish is on the verge of establishing a permanent, paid youth ministry program.
Parish council made the decision to proceed with the program following its Nov. 4 meeting. What still remains to be determined is whether the individual hired as the youth ministry coordinator will be a full or part-time person.
"Over the years St. Mary's has had a number of different volunteer youth programs but our parish community is very large at 2,600 families and it's time we have permanent programs in place for our young people," said parish council chairperson Adriana Lagrange.
Last June the parish council took the first step towards a formal program by embarking on a campaign to raise $75,000 to provide a salary for a youth coordinator, money for programs with some cash in reserve for the second year.
To date the campaign has raised $52,000, prompting council to give the go-ahead to a committee to hire a coordinator and develop the program parameters.
"We will continue approaching parishioners for donations towards the program and if we are successful in raising the remaining $23,000 needed, then the position will eventually evolve into full-time," said fundraising chairperson Rod Stafford-Mayer.
"We are confident that now that the parish knows the program is going ahead for sure, people who were hesitant will now come forward with their cheques," he said.
Fundraising efforts have also spread to Catholic schools in the city. Students at St. Thomas Aquinas Junior High raised $1,700 towards the youth program and one interested mom is setting up an effort at one other Catholic elementary school.
It's hoped that similar fundraising efforts can be launched at the other eight Catholic schools in the city.
The Red Deer Catholic School Board has also recognized the need for ongoing youth ministry when it hired its first full-time youth coordinator at Notre Dame High School in September.
In less than three months Jeanette Manser has students excited and thinking about their faith and participating in programs in the school and in the community.
"Youth programs are vital in our parishes," said Lagrange.
"If we don't find ways to keep our young people engaged and excited about their faith, the future of our Church will be in danger. Now that our parish is taking this step I am sure we will raise the rest of our financial needs and we will be hiring a full-time youth coordinator," she said.
There are two other Catholic parishes in Red Deer, Sacred Heart and the Ukrainian Catholic Parish of St. Vladimir. It's expected that Catholic youth from across Red Deer will be able to participate in St. Mary's program.
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