BRANCH OF THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT: Vincentian Marian Youth
NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Monthly Encounters
PROJECT ADDRESS: Miraculous Medal Shrine Church, 1811 W Saint Joseph St., Perryville, MO 63775-1598
CONTACT PERSON: Shirley Klump
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 6.5 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: http://www.vmy.us
Our monthly Encounters at the Miraculous Medal Shrine Church in Perryville, MO reinforce systemic change not in the poor but in the youth that attend. “Systemic Change requires transforming attitudes.” The Encounters consist of a three segments:
Faith Alive segment covers the needs of the community, world, etc., teaches service and what programs opportunities are offered for them to grow in advocacy.
Mass involves homilies that speak to the issues of the youth today, contemporary music, youth involvement to help them see the needs of individuals and how to become active in the ministry of the church.
Cram and Jams help reinforce the importance of a healthy community, good choices in friendships, and further time to learn more about VMY.
Our monthly Encounters were the first part of the VMY organization that was begun when Fr. Ron Hoye, CM began Vincentian Marian Youth almost 7 years ago. He began by approaching some of the people in the surrounding communities to see if there was any interest in beginning a mass that was more youth oriented. Seeing the needs of the young people in our area, there were many people that had been praying that such an organization would form. There were many people that came forward to offer to assist.
The Encounter was broken down to three segments as mentioned above; Faith Alive, Mass, and the Cram and Jam. Within those segments there were particular needs and committees formed to meet those needs; music, Compass (bulletin), formation team for Faith Alive and the mass, refreshment committee, ministers of the mass, etc. Anyone participating or attending are considered members of the Vincentian Marian Youth if they so choose to become involved in our encounters and organizational activities. We also offer a consecration to Mary each year and have a consecrated membership that consists of both youth and adult members. The consecration is taught during the weeklong mission trip each June and the ceremony is held at our August Encounter.
Adult leaders are still in charge of each committee mentioned above incorporating the youth to fill the ministry positions of the mass and the music positions as talent comes forth. Since our monthly Encounters are provided for teens we do not have a great number that will continue to attend once they move on to college because of distance, however we do have some that have come back to serve in the music ministry or as Eucharistic Ministers, etc. We have also had quite a few that have entered the religious life. We have 10 actively seeking consecrated religious life at this time. Again we must reiterate that our systemic change does not deal directly with the poor but with the teens to develop a love for serving the poor and Christ’s church.
All together the Encounters provide a place for the teens to begin to address advocacy and systemic change, not only in the world, but first within themselves. Only when change occurs within will they can take it outside themselves to help others. The Encounters overall address this statement: “Systemic Change requires transforming attitudes.”