SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City seeks to minister with, to, by and for youth and young adults.
“As a means of doing so, it has established the diocesan Youth and Young Adults Council,” said Junuee Castro, director of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who will facilitate the council.
The council is comprised of volunteers who each serve one-year terms. They are youth and young adult leaders from parishes throughout the diocese, with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities and languages, but all with one common goal: “To be an active voice for the young Church by striving to accomplish to grow in spiritual development and leadership skills and build a community of fellowship and faith; to listen to the concerns and visions of young people throughout the diocese and advocate for their need,” according to the DYYAC objectives.
To participate in the DYYAC, members must be active in the Catholic Church and demonstrate the ability to work closely with adult advisors and youth leaders. In addition, they must be eager to serve the young Church in Utah, help plan and facilitate diocesan-sponsored events and assist in promoting these events; attend and participate in council meetings and events; and be compliant with the diocesan Safe Environment policies.
Anthony Martinez, a parishioner of Saint Patrick Parish in Salt Lake City, is a DYYAC member. He has served as his parish’s director of religious education for almost five years and has been in youth ministry for 14 years at his parish.
“I am very happy to be here. … Still learning, but eager to keep on serving,” he said.
Another member of the council is Lionel Jimenez, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish, where he has been the youth minister for the past five years. He has also helped teens who are transitioning into college, and serves as an usher at Mass.
Ofa Vaisima, another St. Patrick parishioner, has been a youth minister for several years. At her parish, she also helps with CCD, leads the children’s choir, and is the deputy director of Safe Environment at her parish.
For 17 years Lan Pham Ngu, a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, has been a catechist. She also helps with her parish’s children’s choir and is actively involved with programs that involve refugees and helping women and their children who are in bad situations, among other ministries and activities.
“I am so glad to see everyone at this council; … it is awesome that we are all together,” she said of being a member of the DYYAC.
Mary Pobanz, a St. Peter parishioner, moved to Utah from Nevada two years ago. In Nevada she was a youth minister, altar server and lector, and helped with the CCD. Now at St. Peter’s, she is a music minister, lector and youth minister.
“I am hoping that I can help form a youth ministry formally in our parish because we don’t have that yet,” she said.
Selina Rios, a Sts. Peter and Paul parishioner, has been a youth leader for the last three years, among other ministries at her parish.
Jaqueline Capella is a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, where she is in charge of the lector ministers. In addition, she is an associate member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and a certified lay ecclesial minister.
“I would like it if the youth fly and do all the things that we need to do in the Church now. … They are very important for us and we want to be here for them,” she said.
Teresa Hernandez, a Saint Mary parishioner, is another member of the DYYAC.
The council will be formally presented on Oct. 26 at the Youth and Young Adult Leadership Summit.