The Bellarmine Chapel junior high youth ministry program is open to teens in grades seven and eight, while our ninth through twelfth-grade students have the opportunity to participate in our high school youth ministry program. During the school year, both of these groups meet weekly on Sunday evenings from 4:30 p.m. until 6:45 p.m. At these gatherings, our teens have the opportunity to share a meal, participate in community-building activities, discuss topics important to them, and grow in faith together through prayer.
The format of our youth group gatherings is less like a classroom and more like a small faith community. Small groups are used to give our teens a safe place to raise and discuss questions based on the theme for the day, and activities help tie together the themes with current events, sacred scripture, Tradition, and doctrine. Cura personalis, care for the whole person, is very important in our youth groups. Teens are encouraged to be who they are, ask questions freely, and share their own experiences with the group.
In addition to our weekly gatherings, our junior high and high school youth groups have the opportunity to participate in monthly service events and fun nights. Our service events are held off-campus and are coordinated with local cities and organizations. Our fun nights may be held on or off campus. These nights include board/card game nights, indoor or outdoor movie nights, outdoor sports/activities, and more.
All of our students have the opportunity to participate in a yearly retreat and are encouraged to support the younger children by volunteering for Daring Disciples Camp, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and GIFT. Our high school students have the additional opportunity to participate in immersion and leadership programs across the country, such as Notre Dame Vision, Appalachian Institute, and NCYC.
Youth Group Activities
During the school year, our youth groups meet on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. These gatherings are led by Xavier University student interns under the supervision of the Director of Youth Ministry. For the 2022-2023 school year, our high school youth ministry intern is Chloe Kretschmar. A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Mount Notre Dame, Chloe is a senior Theology and Religious Education major. Our junior high youth ministry intern is Stephanie Leonor. Stephanie is a junior Theology major from Cleveland with a passion for youth ministry. Chloe and Stephanie will walk with our teens throughout the year by leading activities and discussions on topics of interest to our teens.
Here at Bellarmine, we know everyone needs some fun in their lives. Once a month during the school year, we host a fun night for each of our youth groups. These fun nights include a shared meal and a fun activity and are typically held on the Xavier University campus. Over the summer, we host weekly summer hangouts after the 7:00 p.m. Mass for all of our seventh through twelfth graders. These hangouts are very informal. We have bonfires with s’mores, sports outside, and board/card games inside if the weather does not cooperate.
At Bellarmine Chapel, social mission is our identity. Our junior high and high school youth groups have the opportunity once each month to go out in service of the community. We work with local cities and organizations such as Lydia’s House, the Evanston Beautification Committee, Tikkun Farm, and St Vincent de Paul to clean low-income housing, weed flower beds, prepare kits for food pantries, and more.
Once each year, our junior high and high school students are invited to go on retreat. Our high schoolers go off campus for a 3-day retreat, while our junior high students spend their retreat day on campus. The high school retreat is offered in January or February and is facilitated by the Director of Youth Ministry and the Youth Ministry Interns with the support of Xavier University students and adult parishioners. The junior high retreat is offered in April, facilitated by the Director of Youth Ministry and the Youth Ministry interns with the help of our high school teens and adult parishioners.
Our high school students have an opportunity once each year to immerse themselves more deeply in an area of social justice. From food insecurity to immigration, our teens see firsthand how powerful groups and organizational decisions can affect others’ lives. The themes for these experiences rotate every four years so that each student will experience a new theme each of their years in high school.
- For the summer of 2023, our teens are invited to the Br David Darst Center in Chicago, IL for an immersion experience that introduces topics such as homelessness, immigration, food insecurity, and more.
Every year, our high school students have the opportunity to attend leadership training programs. The first program, hosted by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, is called Arrupe Leaders Summit. This program can take up to six student leaders. The second program is called Notre Dame Vision. This one is hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. All high school students may register for this program.
In addition to our youth ministry interns who support the school year youth group program, our children need a strong group of young adults and adults who can mentor them throughout the year at our summer programming, during our Confirmation program, and at special events throughout the year.
- If you enjoy playing games and having fun, assist with youth group fun nights.
- If you enjoy service activities, assist with youth group service days.
- If you enjoy traveling, assist with our overnight events (leadership programs, immersion experiences, conferences, etc.)
- If you enjoy prayer, assist with our retreat programs.
- If you enjoy great conversation, assist with our youth group gatherings.
- If you enjoy cooking and/or cleaning, provide a meal or wash the dishes from the meal.
Those who feel called to serve our parish this way should contact the Director of Youth Ministry.