Last week I attended the annual membership meeting of the NFCYM (National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry) with our Youth Ministry division team from Archdiocese of Los Angeles and youth ministry colleagues from across the United States.
On our final day of the meeting, we had a presentation by Katherine Angulo from the McGrath Institute at Notre Dame. Her presentation title was Pastoral Care of the Minister: Are we DONE yet? The agenda said the presentation would help us reflect on our journey through Covid and what we must do to emerge strengthened for what comes next.
I want to share with you some helpful insights Katherine shared with us during her presentation in hopes that you will also find it helpful for yourself.
Initially she led us in an activity to complete a timeline of our journey since 2020. She said we were more than welcome to use the document she created at the institute for our ministry so, I am sharing it with you.
I found the exercise powerful to look back to February 2020 and through to the current month. We were instructed to write a word or words to describe how we were feeling or what we were experiencing each month.
Katherine shared with us that she suggests we reflect on our journey in four steps:
- Step back
- Step simply
- Step together
- Step faithfully
The first step of stepping back was to reflect on how far we have come and what we have experienced since the start of the Covid journey. To step back we can complete the timeline and fill out the life map to look at ways we shared with others, received from others, gave to ourselves and gave gratitude to God during this journey since March 2020. One of the things I realized while completing the timeline that not everything that has happened during this time of Covid has been negative. There were many good things that have happened because of the journey. It was really helpful for me to remember how I was feeling and what I was experiencing over the months.
Second: step simply. Katherine shared with us four ways we can flourish and thrive simply. In ministry we can flourish when we are intentional about taking care of their physical and mental health, setting boundaries around our work and personal lives, nourishing friendships and mutual relationships, and working in alignment with God.
In the third step of stepping together she shared with us that we don’t have to be alone on this journey and that we should be in community with others. We will emerge from Covid stronger when we build up our relationships in all the communities we are involved in.
For the final step Katherine talked to us about being faithful. To know that our stability and resilience in life comes from Christ. She suggested we be original and humbly use the gifts God gave us. She also reminded us that when we step faithfully we are trusting that God is going to guide us to emerge from all that has happened in these last two years stronger and able to find better ways to minister to and with young people.