How do you select parishes/schools to have missionaries?
We look for parishes/schools that are understaffed in reaching their youth with the Gospel for whatever reason. Some are understaffed because of finances; others because of historical factors; still others because of parish culture and dynamics. Finally, we look for leadership that is desiring to reach their youth despite these obstacles and are willing to move toward a long-term solution for youth/campus ministry over time.
How do you select missionaries?
As best as we are able, we try to let the Holy Spirit guide our discernment through prayer. Beyond that we consider a number of factors including best matching strengths of candidates with needs of parishes/schools; male/female ratio of missionaries; and certain discipleship qualities. We recruit far and wide and from all educational backgrounds. That being said, we do give preference to sons and daughters of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and we give preference for studies / experience related to ministry.
Does a missionary get paid?
Yes. A missionary is an employee of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and gets paid, but not in the traditional sense of “employee”. Missionaries fundraise their salary and a part of their formation costs through mission partners who support them financially and with prayer. Also, since this is a missionary endeavor the paycheck is very moderate. However, our hope is that the benefits of formation and experience through missionary youth ministry far outweigh any monetary gain.
What all is included in “formation” opportunities?
This is a great question! The answer is, “A lot!” Some of what is included is:
- one week of support raising training
- several weeks of intensive formation before beginning in the parish
- monthly formation with whole community of missionaries and youth ministers called DESERT DAYS
- annual day of reflection called RENEWAL
- annual silent retreat
- 8-day pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi
- twice per month mentoring with a VIA Staff Member
- mentoring and supervision from the parish pastor or designee
- opportunity for free grad courses in year two
- and more!
How do the finances of it all work?
This is a great question and the answer highlights the commitment of so many people to make ministry that wasn’t before possible, now possible. The Missionaries themselves support-raise prayer and financial support to cover their salary and a small portion of their formation costs. This is done heavily through their own personal network, but also the network of at their Missionary Parish. The parish then is asked to cover the cost of an operational budget for the youth ministry, about $2000-$5000 depending on the parish size and vision. The parish is also asked to offset a portion of the formation costs to the Office for Youth Evangelization and Discipleship at the cost of $2500/year/missionary. These two items seek to highlight a parish’s commitment to youth ministry and to well-formed missionaries while building the foundation for resourcing youth ministry long-term. The remainder of the formation costs, payroll costs and housing are then covered by the Youth Office through a combination of our annual budget and specific benefactors who are particularly supporting VIA Missionaries at an Archdiocesan level.
Why should I support youth ministry at another parish?
This is a great If you’re reading this then it’s quite possible you are part of the personal network of a missionary who has asked you to support their mission financially and with prayers. There’s also a good chance you are already supporting a ministry and maybe even specifically youth ministry in your own parish. So, this question is quite natural. The situation is that there are many parishes who desire to reach their young people through intentional youth ministry, but have not for a variety of reasons, been able to do so yet. We as Christian disciples have many ways of spreading the Gospel. Sometimes that is directly through our own witness and ministry in our local community. Sometimes that is indirectly through our support of local parishes and ministries. However, Jesus sent his disciples to “all the nations” and being a disciple calls us beyond our own parish and community boundaries even if only indirectly through the work of others. Your support of VIA Missionaries is your participation in Jesus’ commission to all of us to go to the ends of the Earth or in the case the ends of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. You become a true partner in mission and the VIA Missionary is able to carry not only your treasure, but your heart to the unreached youth of our Archdiocese for “where treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
What can I expect after I make a donation to VIA Missionaries?
You should expect to receive an email receipt for your gift as well as an End-of-Year Giving Statement in January. More importantly, you should expect to hear from the Missionary(ies) that you support through email, phone calls, newsletters, and/or in person updates at appropriate intervals. At any time, please feel free to check in with your Missionary or pass along your prayer intentions for them to carry into their daily holy hour.