For many years, the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville, now in partnership with the Dominican Youth Movement USA, have been offering Youth Preaching Workshops to high school students in an effort to heighten their awareness to the various ways preaching can occur in their own lives; this year will be no different! We encourage you to read more about these Youth Preaching Workshops as well as a new opportunity below.
What is the Youth Preaching Workshop?
The Youth Preaching Workshop is a unique weekend experience where high school-aged students will meet new people and engage in a lot of fun activities, all while deepening their relationship with God and reimagining what it means to be a “preacher.” At these workshops, participants are introduced to the charism and foundation of the Order of the Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, and are encouraged to fulfill their own baptismal call to “Preach the Word of God, in all things you do.” They learn the different ways they can accomplish that goal, beyond just pulpit preaching; participants learn that they can preach through dance, music, drama, art, storytelling, and community service- just to name a few. Most of all they learn that preaching can be fun and is something we do all the time! The weekend ends with a Commissioning Liturgy, where participants are called forth to go out and become “Youth Preachers.” Parents/Guardians/Family of the participants are invited and encouraged to attend the mass and to join us following the liturgy for lunch in the Motherhouse.
Is the Youth Preaching Workshop a retreat?
Well, yes and no. While we do take the time to step away from the world to reconnect with God through prayer, we also take time to discover tools to go out, serve, and help others connect to God’s love through our lives. It seems like a retreat but it is a workshop in every sense of the word. Youth Preaching Workshops ensure that the preaching continues beyond the weekend by providing takeaways for all presentations as well as online resources and support available only to alumni of the program.
The Dominican Youth Movement USA recommends that you choose/encourage young people who you feel have leadership potential, usually high school sophomores or juniors for the high school workshop. The students must be accompanied by an adult chaperone/mentor who will help them process the information they learned after they return and use it for the good of the school/parish community.
The Youth Preaching Workshop is unlike most “weekend retreats” (remember- it is a workshop!) so it may be difficult communicating to students and parents what exactly to expect. At first glance, the word “preacher” may be intimidating. But reassure them that while the main focus is on becoming a “preacher,” they will surely have lots of fun meeting new people and engaging in a lot of different activities during this overnight experience!
Will the participants be asked to join the Dominican Order?
Nope! The Youth Preaching Workshop is just an introduction to the Dominican Order and its charism. When we commission the participants as “Youth Preachers” during the Liturgy on Sunday, we are simply commemorating the time and effort they dedicated this weekend to learn about the Dominican Order, the charism, and the many ways to preach with their lives. The Sunday Liturgy is also a time to welcome the Youth Preachers into the Dominican family! As alumni of the program, they become members of the Dominican Youth Movement USA; and while we hope and encourage our members to continue using the knowledge and tools learned, to stay connected to the Dominican family, and to make preaching a living dynamic in their daily lives, there is no expectation to make religious vows (unless they would like to!). The Dominican Youth Movement USA is a partnership of people, both lay and religious, committed to passing on and integrating the Dominican charism into our lives.
Continuing Dominic’s Dream
In his time, St. Dominic had a dream of creating a group of women and men dedicated to the Gospel, who would go throughout the world and preach the “Good News” of God’s love. In our time, we too have a dream! Our dream is for our young people to catch the same fire for the Gospel by exposing them to new and creative ways to preach- ways which empower them to participate in preaching the “Good News.”
The next date for our Youth Preaching Workshop is November 16-18, 2018. There is a $20/participant cost. This workshops will be held at St. John the Baptist Diocesan HS Retreat Center in West Islip and the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Amityville Motherhouse in Amityville.
Youth Preaching Workshops To-Go
Perhaps you are unable to make this workshop? The Youth Preaching Workshops To-Go is a unique program that takes the core components of the Youth Preaching Workshop held at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville and brings them to young people across the nation. The Dominican Youth Movement USA offers customizable workshops to introduce communities to the Dominican Charism and its foundation in the Four Pillars as well as the many ways of preaching, including preaching through the arts and through community service.
The response from the young people who have participated in previous workshops has been overwhelmingly positive! If you would like to learn more about the Youth Preaching Workshop or the To-Go program please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see how we can assist you. The Dominican Youth Movement USA has flyers and information guides that may assist you in speaking with students. Although we would like to make this opportunity available to as many students as possible, space is limited so call ASAP.