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.