VIA, which means “by way of,” is the way that the Office for Youth Evangelization and Discipleship pursues its vision. It is the fruit of lived experience amongst youth ministers who desire to grow in the interior life, in faithfully living out their vocation, and in giving their lives for the youth entrusted to them. VIA serves to invite youth to enter into communion with Christ by fostering disciple-making youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
We seek the face of Christ in the life of the Catholic Church, and bear witness -- inviting youth to join on the Way.
Prayer - Aware of our deep need for conversion and with faith in the God who speaks, we listen to the word of the Lord that we might be guided by Him.
Communion - We find in Acts 2:42 a description of life lived in the Catholic Church: "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers"
Testimony - We communicate the Gospel through the beauty of personal witness.
Accompaniment - We invite youth to share in life with us as we seek the Lord and His will for our lives that makes us more ourselves.
The VIA Icon
Inspired by the scallop shell, an ancient Christian symbol of pilgrimage (i.e. the whole Christian life), and more specifically, the logo for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain, the VIA icon depicts movement.
When viewed from the top to the bottom, individual lines converge on one word: VIA. This represents the unique paths that individuals take in carrying out their lives and pursuing their deepest desires in freedom. The deepest desire of every human heart is joy that results from a love that never ends -- love that has been made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life (cf. Jn. 14:6).
When viewed from bottom to top, stemming from the VIA (i.e. the person of Christ), disciples go forth each into his or her own “culture” -- family, friends, activities, etc. And, each person has particular gifts necessary for bringing the Gospel to each sector of society. The bursting or radiating forth from the word VIA depicts the Word of God carried out into the world through witnesses who live The Way.
A noticeable letter “V” holds one’s focus in the center of the icon, reinforcing the “V” in VIA. The colored panels, with a gradient fill was inspired by the stained glass windows at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati, and the four colors represent the four pillars of VIA: Youth, Ministers, Missionaries, and Athletes.
The individual event logos feature the horizontal VIA icon, with a text block containing the name of the event itself. The event text is smaller than the VIA text to represent how any event or formation opportunity we run flows from something bigger than that event, and that the event serves as an invitation into VIA -- a way of life.
In 2010, several youth ministers in the Cincinnati-area grew in friendship through trying to understand how to evangelize youth. In the summer of 2012, after several years of collaboration and praying with the Word via Lectio Divina, and convicted by Eucharistic faith, they decided to gather together for Eucharistic adoration and to invite the teens in their care to join. The event known as Encounter was born. Eventually, the youth ministers sensed a call to invite their colleagues to the event - with or without teens - to simply place themselves before the Lord in adoration, and Encounter grew.
In December of 2013, the group’s first spiritual director, Fr. Kyle Schnippel wanted to offer a retreat for these youth ministers and Renewal was born. Over time, the continued call to invite other youth ministers, or anyone really, into our prayer and friendship, increased and so did the number of people involved. This way of approaching ministry that was driven by prayer, fellowship, testimony, and a lot of time spent in front of the blessed sacrament together led to an increasing number of initiatives (e.g. Upper Room, Abide, etc.).
Youth Ministry ceased to be something one strategized about, but flowed from a life lived in the Church -- in communion. Eventually it became clear that this way of living life and ministry from the heart of the Church, as a community, needed a name. In June of 2016, we settled on VIA.
VIA means “by way of,” and it captures the essence of movement. VIA is not about events, programs, or responding to statistical trends. VIA is fundamentally a “how” — a way of living life and a way of proclaiming the Gospel to young people. VIA is a way of accompaniment — of living life together before the Lord. VIA is movement.
VIA is the way in which the Office for Youth Evangelization and Discipleship in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will pursue its vision, and guide its discernment regarding which formation opportunities to provide for youth, youth ministers, campus ministers, coaches, and the like.