Part of our mission here at Corpus Christi is to “bear witness to the love and compassion of Jesus.” A key aspect of this mission is ensuring that our parishioners have opportunities to learn more about the Catholic faith, regardless of age. This school year, we are reviving and re-imagining our Youth Ministry program. Gina Dahlstrand, our new youth minister, could not be more excited. Gina will coordinate Confirmation and offer Youth Ministry programming for sixth through 12th grades.
“Research shows that without parent support, it’s hard to keep kids engaged in the faith,” Gina says. “Youth Ministry is another component of our mission to evangelize families. We want to include parents in the journey.”
Gina started as our parish youth minister in late June but has worked at the parish school for six years as a teacher. Having older children herself, she recognizes that if a teen doesn’t attend Catholic high school, there aren’t many options for them to continue to be formed in the faith outside of Confirmation preparations.
“I want to help teens develop a Catholic and faith-based mindset,” Gina says. “We want them to turn to their faith when they need to make decisions as young adults.”
Youth Ministry programming will include monthly gatherings for 6th-8th grades, as well as 9th-12th grades. Gina also hopes to get together with the older students more in a small-group setting. She also hopes to attend school events and be there for youth as a positive influence in their lives.
“I look forward to offering a place for our youth to get together, explore and question,” she says. “Our program will be less structured than traditional faith formation programs.”
Gina knows that youth need many positive adults in their lives.
“High school is tough,” she says. “Our youth needs adults to check in with them and know we are a safe place. I look forward to providing a space for them.”
Corpus Christi is such a special place for Gina and her family. She wants our youth to see our parish as a place for them to go, not just a place to attend Mass.
“I’d love to see youth excited to come to youth group,” Gina says. “I look forward to that!”
She also hopes this will be a springboard for youth to participate in other ministries.
“I want youth to see themselves as members of our community,” Gina says. “My dream is that they will want to be more involved because it’s good for the soul.”
In addition to serving the youth of our parish, Gina also enjoys being with her family in her free time, spending time outside, and taking road trips to visit family.
For more information, contact Gina Dahlstrand at 785-843-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.