The Leadership Gathering
Leadership gatherings are an important part of the Pentecost Vigil Celebration. They ensure that the event’s positive effects last long after it is over. The first Pentecost was not just about the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was also about uniting the first Christians among themselves and then sending them out to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In the same way, the Pentecost Vigil Celebration is about uniting young adults and empowering them to serve others, especially their peers.
These leadership gatherings vary according to local needs. Ideally, they are facilitated by representative(s) from the diocese. In a diocese with a thriving network of parish groups and other young adult organizations, these gatherings can focus on connecting existing groups to each other. In a diocese with few existing groups or organizations, these gatherings can instead focus on helping interested young adults to start new groups. It all depends on local needs.
The leadership gatherings can serve a number of purposes. Depending on local needs, they can:
- Give leaders a chance to network, discuss topics of concern, or collaborate on joint projects.
- Help leaders start new parish groups or strengthen existing ones.
- Build or strengthen a diocesan core team for young adult ministry.
- Allow diocesan representatives to introduce themselves and explain the support they can offer in a personal way.
Whatever the case, leadership gatherings ideally allow a good amount of time for open conversation. Discussion topics can be chosen in advance by diocesan representatives or a planning committee. Possible conversation topics include:
- Brief presentation by diocesan representative about resources available to support local groups, followed by question and answer
- What is going well with parish groups, what is not going so well
- How to make parishes more young adult friendly
- Forming effective core teams at parish and diocesan levels
- Specific opportunities for collaboration between different groups, such as a service project, mission trip, or diocesan-wide retreat for young adults
If the bishop is available, the leadership gatherings can also include time for the bishop to meet with young adult leaders in his diocese. The conversation could be arranged in a number of ways. It could be informal and unplanned. It could also be a chance for the bishop to speak a few words and then listen to the suggestions and concerns of young adults. For example, the bishop might say something about the diocese’s ministry to young adults and his own hopes and concerns, and then invite the young adults to describe the needs they see among their peers, so that he can take them into account in his pastoral and catechetical planning for the diocese.
The gatherings can be held before the public activities of the Pentecost Vigil Celebration begin, or they can take place during quiet moments while other things are going on. Some dioceses may prefer to make the events invitation-only. Other dioceses may prefer to put out a general invitation to all interested young adults, especially if they are looking for volunteers to start new groups or serve on a diocesan core team.
For materials to assist young adult leaders in building up local ministries, see the resources listed on this website.