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European Training Conference in Barcelona: Life Teen at Work

My My My Barcelona

Barcelona: a city that encapsulates the richness of an ancient history with modern flair and vibrancy from art and architecture to exquisite food may have a new surprise in store. A spiritual revival that has its own unique texture and foundation is in the making. That movement was born in a place a little distance from the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona. It had its humble beginnings in Mesa, Arizona. That movement is none other than Life Teen.

Life Teen as a Catalyst

Life Teen is a catalyst for more diverse and profound encounters with Christ all over the world. Those of us who have been engaged in a Catholic culture that involves Life Teen likely will not find the depth, energy, and dynamic environment in which the Holy Spirit chooses to reveal Himself a surprise, but for the rest of the world; take notice. God willing, your city may be next.

What is so Different about Life Teen?

For starters, it isn’t just another youth program. Bishop Josep Àngel Saiz, the first Bishop of Spain to incorporate Life Teen in the diocese shares his thoughts about what is happening since the inclusion of Life Teen in 2011 at the Parish of the Holy Spirit of Terrassa. He addressed a group at the European Training Conference in Barcelona. Life Teen has a clearly stated mission, a foundation in the Eucharist and Sacramental richness that is the Catholic faith, coupled with the ability to reach teens where there are with materials and media that appeal to this generation of young people, and no Parish choosing to incorporate Life Teen in their community does it alone, no matter where in the world they are.

Leading Teens Closer to Christ

Bishop Josep Àngel Saiz says the motto of Leading Teens Closer to Christ is the criteria for executing and evaluating all activities. The Bishop and those involved in the Life Teen work in Spain ask themselves, “Have our teens experienced Jesus Christ, Have they had an encounter with the Lord? Knowing that all of this is a gift from God and that we must implore with prayer.” He expresses further that “Life Teen knows that the transformation power is only from the Holy Spirit and for this reason it’s focused to help teens to open their hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit to make an experience of salvation. It also wants to help teenagers have a deep experience of the presence of the Risen Lord in the Sacraments.”

Eucharist and the Sacraments

It can be easy to water down our faith in an effort to try to reach younger audiences but Life Teen keeps Tradition and the magisterium of the church in high priority while it “collaborates with the Church in the process of enculturation of the faith; to proclaim Jesus Christ while speaking the language of the youth. As St. Paul said: To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews….We can also say: to the teens I became as a teen…” The Bishop explains further, “Life Teen wants to be 100% faithful to the magisterium of the Church, and to the teaching and guidance of the Pope and bishops, but also wants to be a dynamic orthodoxy…”

Reaching Teens Where They Are

Bishop Josep Àngel Saiz’s homily continues as he shares that “today teens are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp…Life Teen always prioritizes a personal encounter with Christ. It is important that teens feel loved by the Church, and that takes shape in specific people who love them: bishops, priests, youth ministers, catechists….Hence the importance of being with them, worry about their life, be at their side in the important moments of their life, to pray for them, to show them that we love them.”

Hand in Hand

The Bishop stresses that a critical part of why Life Teen works is in the necessary spiritual life of those who serve. “[Life Teen] knows very well that the efficiency comes from the holiness of pastoral agents: priests, catechists, core members… and for this reason its interest in the growth of the Christian life and the continuous training of the catechists.” The active involvement of our Religious in Life Teen is invaluable and imperative in the success of any inclusion of youth ministry. Spain represented this enthusiastically with the presence of 39 priests in attendance from Spain and abroad.

Steve Allgeyer, VP of Ministry Advancement for Life Teen was in attendance as well and couldn’t wait to share his excitement at seeing such a vibrant youth community work succeed and grow. He credits all who work hard to create and make available, “the materials, design, website, resources, events, etc. It was a shining moment for our content and identity.” Steve expresses that “who we are and what we are all about is being conveyed very clearly around the world.” Steve, who works in Missouri, is a prime example of how committed Life Teen is to making available the life changing opportunity for teens to encounter Christ today.

Unfinished

Steve puts it best when he says, “God was glorified and our work in Europe is thankfully Unfinished as we grow Life Teen to reach more teenagers.” As the new theme has been revealed, it is fitting to say that our work is yet Unfinished. Life Teen and those obedient to the call of the Holy Spirit to serve teens all over the world will surely continue to see growth and fervor for our Lord.

 

About the Author

Cassandra Smith

Wife, Mom, and Daughter of a King...on a mission to live joyfully and write/say some stuff in a way that makes sense and glorifies God.

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