As the autumn season gets underway, our parish community is happy to welcome Bartlesville native Blythe Zielenski as our new Youth Coordinator!
“I feel honored to get the opportunity to serve our youth and be a vessel for God’s unconditional love,” Blythe says.
Born and raised Catholic, Blythe attended Kansas Newman College — now Newman University — in Wichita, where she earned a theology and biology degree.
“At one point I was considering going into youth ministry, but my love of medicine and science won over,” she says. “I received my master’s at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and am a Physician Assistant.”
Beyond her work here in our parish, Blythe also works in the clinics at MedWise Urgent Care, as well as managing the advanced practice providers. She has five children and has been married to her husband Jason for more than 25 years.
Blythe has served as a volunteer with the high school youth for the past eight years and has led mission trips, been in charge of fundraising, and chaperoned for many activities. She also acted as a chairperson for the St. John’s auction, volunteered for several committees at the school, served as a board member at ElderCare, taught NFP, and served the Bartlesville community for almost 20 years as a medical provider.
Having started her new position here in the parish back in August, Blythe feels honored to serve the youth in our community. Teens today have some unique challenges and she hopes to provide valuable support for them through this ministry.
“I often hear how kids ‘have it so easy’ compared to other generations,” she says. “This may be true materialistically, but emotionally and spiritually they are fighting battles that I have never seen before. Temptation, addiction, mental illness, and loneliness are skyrocketing in teens due to social media, breakdown of the family, and the turning away from our Christian values as a nation. Our youth need the truth of the Church and unconditional love more than ever! I hope I can build a team that can support our youth in this way.”
Because we live in a noisy world, it can be hard to hear the voice of God. Being constantly interrupted with media and other distractions, there can be temptations to listen to other sources. Blythe hopes to lead the youth in listening to the Holy Spirit and learning to be comfortable in silence through quiet meditation.
Throughout the year, the ministry rotates through three different topics and curricula — Apologies, The Search video series hosted by Chris Stefanick, and Dive into the Gospel with Fr. John. Blythe hopes to bring the youth group to the DCYC and March For Life. In addition, the ministry plans to engage the young in service opportunities such as helping the food bank, preparing for Thanksgiving, and working with local Catholic charities.
Overall, Blythe aims to build a community that supports each other, while gently challenging the youth to become the best version of themselves.
“Our family motto is to ‘evangelize always, and when necessary, use words,’” she says. “The best way to do this is by living the life of Christ and letting His love shine to those around you! We are broken people caring for broken people, and we have to give each other grace, even when it’s hard! When I was younger, I always thought I wanted to do mission work overseas. But as I have grown, I have realized that every day is a mission. There is such a hunger for God’s love, so I try to let God shower His love through me with the people I work with, my patients, my family, the youth I serve, or the person I run into at the grocery store! God is always whispering the needs of others into my ear and I just try to be faithful to His work!”