When Encounter started in Cincinnati about five years ago, it was not a fully mapped out “pastoral plan.” It never has been. Instead, this movement has grown and surprised us through our continued prayer and discernment. About five years of praying and developing and meeting with youth ministers has resulted in forging many strong relationships, creating some really cool events (e.g. Encounter, Renewal. YDisciple Regional Gatherings, etc.) and launching dynamic ministries (e.g. Apostello).
With all of this growth, we've lately realized a need to prune a bit, to scale back and simplify.
As I have spent the past six months meeting with various youth ministers throughout the Archdiocese, hearing their needs and questions, I quickly realized the strength of Encounter is not the public events, but the fellowship rooted in prayer experienced by the leadership team and Partners. So when we talked of re-visioning and pruning, we had this fact in mind - the beating heart has to be communal prayer.
The beauty of Encounter is that we always seek to strengthen our individual relationship with Christ first, before we focus on our ministries. Youth leaders involved in Encounter have testified to becoming more faithful disciples, husbands, wives, and youth ministers due to this community. Pope Benedict XVI captures the essence of our experience when he reminds us that disciples/apostles are called as a result of Jesus' prayer to the Father, and as such, disciples beget other disciples only as a result of this intimate life in Christ (cf. Jesus of Nazareth 169-ff). We want other youth ministers to experience this with us.
We are essentially inviting youth ministers to gather in prayer once a month - sometimes with our teens and sometimes without them.
FOR YOUTH MINISTERS
A monthly meeting from 11:30-1pm with an optional holy hour to follow. The goals of Upper Room are as follows:
- Forging Christian fellowship/friendship via lunch
- Lectio and intercessory prayer together for each other and our ministries
- Share how God is working in our communities through Discipleship (i.e. literally answering the question, “What is God doing at my parish through discipleship-based Youth Ministry?")
- Bring our questions about discipleship to the table and learn from each other's experiences
A 10am-2:30pm day-retreat that happens in December and May. The goal is simple - resting in the Lord. We gather for Mass, reflection, lunch, and Eucharistic adoration.
Faith Formation/Professional Development Events
Bringing in guest speakers, workshop leaders, and developing a Discipleship Institute. (Slated to come in the near future!)
FOR YOUTH MINISTERS AND TEENS
A quarterly, Saturday-evening worship event that gathers youth ministers and their teens for a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ in Eucharistic adoration. You can learn all about Encounter Cincinnati by checking out our website, and by watching the promo video.
Abide: Forming Missionary Disciples
A summer conference that equips participants with the necessary practical skills and experiences needed to root their lives in Christ and His Church, and to invite others to do the same. Separate tracks are offered for teens, youth ministers and youth ministry volunteers.
More information available soon at abidecinci.com.
An evangelization initiative that walks with teens as they engage in personal apostolate focused on peer evangelization.
Above all, we want you to be a part of our continual prayer and community. Questions and comments are encouraged. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We are excited to start this new chapter together!