Youth of the Kingdom

María Reyes

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

A familiar quote from St. Paul ironically happens to be one of my own personal inspirations as I reflect on my experience as coordinator of Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese. I can’t help but look back at the day that I received the news informing me that I would be the point person for the Archdiocese. It was as if God himself had knocked and I was answering His call.

This year has been a blessing for me because never would I have imagined meeting so many wonderful people committed to working in Hispanic outreach. When you are used to working mostly at a parish level, all of your energy is focused at forming disciples at the local level. The struggles and joys of the local community form your opinions and feelings about the larger Church community. However, when you are able to step outside of your own reality and see the larger Church community, the learning and growing possibilities are endless.

Working as coordinator has brought about many new experiences and blessings, but with these blessings also come challenges. One of the greatest challenges is part of the job description. “You are to be the bridge that links the Hispanic community to the larger Church,” I was told. That includes some immense responsibilities: engaging Hispanic youth; encouraging and empowering Hispanic young adults to take leadership roles within their parishes; increasing awareness of the needs of our immigrant brothers and sisters.

I sometimes felt I had been handed an “impossible task.”

It is my great faith in God that allows me to understand that this work is not simply an ordinary job, but an extraordinary vocation – and that what I have been asked to do is not easy but also not impossible. God would be providing me with the strength, courage and necessary people to persevere in this outreach.

The Hispanic Youth/ Young Adult ministry is in great need of development of solid youth ministry programs and leadership formation. I ask for your continuing prayers, as well as the commitment of your time and energy. If you find yourself drawn to working with youth in any capacity, please feel free to contact OYYA at (215) 965-4625. Please contact me directly to learn about our upcoming retreat movement and other ways to become involved.

I give thanks to God for allowing me this opportunity, and I thank the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for seeing the importance of this ministry.

Maria Reyes is the coordinator for Hispanic Youth and Youth Adult Ministry for the archdiocesan Office of Youth and Young Adults.