Summer Ministry Article – June 4, 2023

During the Summer months, this column will be highlighting the good work and parishioners involved in one of our various Parish Ministries.  Each week, we will feature an article from a different ministry, written by one if its members, as a reflection on the generosity and stewardship of the SMOS community.

Youth Ministry Reflection

by Emma Grace Johnson

My dad used to say that middle school girls are possessed and that middle school boys lose every ounce of intelligence. (Can you tell that raising me was a handful?) While this statement is a bit dramatic, it does describe most people’s sentiments toward middle school and even high school students. 

Walking into this first full year of youth ministry, I was a bit intimidated (okay, a lot more than a bit, but don’t tell the teens, they smell fear!). And despite all of my fears, the middle school and high school students at Saint Margaret’s have amazed me. We have interacted with over 70 different students and had over 350 different interactions with students over our first year of ministry. Each and every one of these students have gone above and beyond in every single thing they do!

In today’s second reading, we hear Paul tell the Corinthians, “Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” This verse is perfectly embodied by our teens in all that they do. 

Brothers and Sisters…At our Spring retreat, we asked, “When have you most felt connected to a group of people and why?” Most of the teens shared difficult times (trauma does often bond us), but one of the teens said “Right now.” This teen had never been to any other youth ministry events, and this was maybe 4 hours into the retreat. Our students create a culture of family where all students feel known and loved. 

Rejoice…Have you attended a youth mass? We have them about once a month at the 4:30 pm vigil mass. At our youth masses, you can feel and hear the joy! Our teens sing and play in worship of our Lord with all their hearts, and there is no doubt that they are rejoicing. Thank you, Elise Ibendahl, for leading this rejoicing! 

Mend your ways…I’ll be the first to admit that we have had some hard times in youth ministry. I’ve messed up (so many times!), we’ve said things we didn’t mean, feelings have been hurt, and the list goes on, and yet our teens have been so gracious to one another and so forgiving. We are constantly improving & becoming better. 

Encourage one another…We did a low ropes course on our fall retreat, which ended up being much more challenging to our teens than they thought it would be. Several of our high school teens stepped up and were incredible leaders and cheerleaders helping their peers accomplish daunting tasks! #WubClub

And a BIG shout-out to Sam Messier and Br. Dominick Jean, OP! They have attended numerous sports, recitals, and theatre performances for all our teens. They have encouraged them in all that they do, not just youth ministry activities! 

Agree with one another…One of our final events of the year was titled “Stump the Brothers” where our teens could bring any questions they had ranging from life questions to deep theological questions. Several of the teens worked together to curate lists of questions both that they wanted answered and that they thought would stump the Dominican brothers…Do you think God can ride a bike?

Live in peace…Our teens serve at least once a month either at Saint Joseph’s Housing Initiative or with St. John’s Peacemeal. They serve our neighbors in need seeking to and become ambassadors of hope, carrying the torch of peace and compassion forward. They understand that true peace is not just the absence of conflict but also the presence of justice, equality, and love. Thank you, Chelsea Deiters, for coordinating this ministry. 

and the God of love and peace will be with you…we have cried together, we have mourned together, we have celebrated together, we have adored the Lord together. Amidst all the highs and lows that have come with this first year of youth ministry, we have done it all with and through the Lord. May his love and peace continue to be with us in all that we do. 

St. Margaret’s Community, I encourage you to pray for our teens that they may continue to grow in their faith. Prayer for our leaders (including myself)  that we  may have the courage, patience, and strength to continue in this ministry. 

One special prayer intention in our ministry is for new adult leaders. We are in desparate need of adult leaders who are willing to walk alongside our teens on their faith journey. Please pray for this intention, and if you are interested in serving in this way, please reach out to me at

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