St. Columba’s supports our young people in 6th through 12th grades with engaging programs, worship opportunities and service activities. St. Columba’s is called to help form our young people as active and participating members of the Body of Christ, open to the world and confident of their vocation to make a difference in the name of Christ. View this video of our Rite 13 liturgy, the first step in our youth's Journey to Adulthood program.
Youth in Worship
Youth are an integral part of worship at St. Columba’s and take leadership roles every Sunday of the year. Youth begin serving as acolytes while still in elementary school; older youth take on the broader responsibilities of sacristans. Youth serve as regular members of our lay reader and usher teams. Youth musicians sing with our choirs, ring with our handbell choirs and play with the St. Columba orchestra. Taking responsibility for worship keeps youth actively engaged throughout their middle and high school years.
Youth Formation: Journey to Adulthood
Our youth formation program takes place on Sunday mornings from 10:15 to 11:05 am. The program is called Journey to Adulthood (J2A) and encompasses three, two-year phases: Rite 13 for middle school, J2A for early high school (which culminates in a pilgrimage), and YAC (Young Adults in Church) for later high school. Journey to Adulthood is designed to help our youth grow in faith and learn about Jesus’ life and teaching as they grow in maturity and learn the responsibilities of adulthood. Adult leaders (who aren’t parents) make a two-year commitment to being with youth week in and week out, which strengthens intergenerational ties in our community.
A new Rite 13 cohort begins in September of odd-numbered years for 6th and 7th graders. Even-numbered years create a "gap year" for 6th graders not yet involved in Rite 13. In these alternate years, 6th graders continue their spiritual journey with their peers in Sunday School. They also participate in occasional fun activities and day trips through a program that we call "Gap Kids," which is designed to ease the transition into the next year’s Rite 13 class.
Youth Service Projects
Youth are invited to reach out in service to others in a variety of ways. They participate in monthly parish-wide projects such as Second Tuesday Grate Patrol. There is also a special summer project for youth, St. Columba’s Appalachia Project (SCAP) which takes a group of high schoolers to West Virginia each June to rebuild and repair houses for those in need. Click here for the Ministry directory for more information about these opportunities.
More than anything, we hope to build a community of youth at St. Columba’s where everyone is welcomed and valued. This community provides an alternative to school communities where youth are too often divided into popular and unpopular, cool and uncool. Parents help build this community by hosting a number of fun, age-specific social events across the course of our program year.
Pilgrimages are another way of expanding our youth's spiritual horizons. Plans are underway for a youth "Civil Rights Pilgrimage" with travel to Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in the summer of 2019.
Contact: Catherine Outten Olivo, director of youth ministries