Be There: Light the Way

This year, 16 archdiocesan parishes enrolled in a youth ministry training program.

One hundred and twenty young people served the needy through a weeklong service project. And 2,100 traveled to Springfield, Mo., for a weekend youth conference.

Those activities were made possible through the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, which is embarking on its third annual "Be There: Light the Way" fund-raising campaign.

This year’s goal is $70,000, according to Sister M. Consolata Crews, FSGM, acting director of the Youth Ministry Office. The campaign will conclude in Spring 2005.

Donations will go toward staffing and services that the office provides. This past year, the office provided services to about 20,000 youths and others involved in youth ministry, said Sister Consolata.

"The ‘Be There’ campaign is vital for the operation of our office," she said. "We rely on the support of generous people. It’s an opportunity of trusting the Lord and His provision through the generous giving of so many."

In a letter to potential donors, Sister Consolata said that a gift of $400 would provide online consultation for a parish that participates in VITAL, the office’s new program that trains parishes to have comprehensive and effective youth ministry programs.

A gift of $50, she wrote, would allow five teens to take part in a REAP Team retreat. The REAP Team is an archdiocesan youth retreat ministry that falls under the umbrella of the Youth Ministry Office.

And $20, wrote Sister Consolata, would fund the office’s Web site www.stlyouth.org for a month. The site, which currently gets about 200 visits each day, offers resources for those involved in youth ministry.

In the last several years, the Office of Youth Ministry has undergone a number of staff and budget changes.

Over the last two years, more than $300,000 has been eliminated from the office’s budget. Office funding comes from a grant from the archdiocesan Annual Catholic Appeal (formerly the Archdiocesan Development Appeal), a limited-time archdiocesan grant and the "Be There" campaign.

Several staff positions also were eliminated in the last several years. The office now has two-full time staff members: Sister Consolata and Joel Stein, the office’s Web developer; a part-time event coordinator, Rosanne Twellman; and an intern, Sister Mary George Brown, FSGM. The Reap Team has two full-time staffers, Paul Masek and Heather Gallagher; and one part-time member, Susan Farrar.

"We are very grateful for the support and prayers of our donors, whom we pray for daily in our staff prayer," said Sister Consolata. "They play an important role in ‘being there’ for young people. The ‘Be There’ campaign is important because it is a source and means to be able to continue on the work of strengthening youth and young adult ministry in the archdiocese."

To make a donation to the "Be There: Light the Way" campaign, call (314) 633-2500 or visit the office’s Web site at [www.stlyouth.org/donate/](http://www.stlyouth.org/donate/).

*Reprinted with permission from the [St. Louis Review](http://www.stlreview.com/).*

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