Christina Mastroeni

With great leadership comes great replacements.

Many people do not fully understand the role of a leader. First and foremost, you must lead (I think that may go without saying). However, the second most important aspect of becoming a good leader is finding a good replacement.

We can all think of a time when we were (or know someone who was) led by a fantastic leader. In which case everything they did, planned, and performed was exceptional; but when the time came for them to find a replacement or when the spot needed to be filled, either no one would rise to the occasion or no one was able to compete with the previous leader.

If we have no one to fill our shoes and carry on a legacy we left behind, then how are we good leaders if we build an empire just to watch it fall?

On Palm Sunday my youth group at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Bensalem preformed the Living Stations of the Cross. The crowd went wild, and we even had a guest appearance from our Spirituality Group on campus atHolyFamilyUniversity. It is always wonderful seeing our friends and families come out to support us. We felt like stars! Anyway, I digress ….

After the performance, Msgr. Edward Deliman thanked us and I told the other leaders I was going to make an announcement. Sunday night I publically announced that the original youth ministry leaders are all graduating this May (hopefully), and that we found five new leaders to take our place.

Now I use the term “find” a little too freely. Please do not think we hand out flyers and put advertisements on CraigsList. No, much thought and prayer is put into finding our replacements. We have very specific requirements: these new guys obviously have to accept Christ in their lives and practice the faith. We want to be sure they have leadership capabilities and could listen and understand us when we prepare them.

As if that was not enough, we know our kids. We want to make sure that the new leaders are going to be able to bond with them and that everyone is a good fit. Camaraderie is so important when it comes to youth group. If you cannot bond with children then they may associate religion with a bad experience at youth group!

I remember finding our first replacement. I led a Spirituality Group meeting on campus at Holy Family University. After I had everyone break into teams for an exercise, I walked around and found a girl who was on fire for Christ. I knew she would be perfect. After that meeting, I immediately called the other leaders for approval. Ever since we found our first one, it seems God just put the others right under our noses! All we had to do is talk to them and make them feel welcome.

I am filled with joy as I think about the leaders that will be taking over the youth group this fall. We fell in love with them, as did the parish, and the kids. I am confident in each one of them that they have the tools and faith to make this group flourish and pick wonderful leaders once their graduation dates come close.

The only thing we forgot to prep them on is patience. I’m sure they will figure it out!


Christina Mastroeni is a senior at Holy Family University in Philadelphia and an intern at