Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)


Pastoral Ministry


Eilish Ryan


I am currently serving the parish of St. Anthony Marie de Claret as the Director of Religious Education. Prior to outlining this proposal, I assessed the strengths and weaknesses within our catechetical programs, looked at the dynamics of the St. Anthony community, and discussed the project with our pastor to obtain his preferences. The common thread of concern was the lack of involvement and presence of the youth in the life of the parish. I decided to design and implement a pastoral project, using my ninth grade class as the pilot group, which would allow students to serve alongside adult leaders in existing outreach ministries within the parish. In my reading on adolescent spirituality there is agreement that service is important to youth, and it is one of the better ways to positively influence spiritual growth. One of the goals of our confirmation preparation program is to develop in our teens a heart of service. For these reasons, I believe that the most effective area to integrate the youth into the community is to add to the curriculum a service unit in outreach ministry.

My intention is to identify the parish ministries and organizations that perform outreach, invite the leaders of each to come to our class and present an overview of their services, have the students select the ministries in which they are most interested in participating, and then assign them to a ministry for a period of six weeks. Students and parents will be contacted by the leader with details on meetings or events in which they will participate. Both leaders and students will receive forms on which to log participation, and an evaluation form to complete once the project is finished. Students will be given a pre- and post-survey to assess religious attitudes and practices: Class time will be devoted to the Works of Mercy, the scripture from Matthew on the Judgment of the Nations, and Catholic Social Teaching. I have chosen the liturgical season of Lent to provide further emphasis on charity and sacrifice.

It is my hope that this project will become an annual addition to the ninth grade year in religious education, and that through it teens will feel an increased sense of belonging to their parish. Participation in this outreach ministry project will give the youth an opportunity to serve the poor, the incarcerated, the elderly, and others in need of assistance. Through this experience in applied learning they will see faith in action-both in ministry leaders and themselves .