Office of Catholic Youth's associate director John MacMullen speaks at the 2015 Youth Ministers Training Day. Photo courtesy of the Office of Catholic Youth)

Toronto archdiocese tries to keep up with demand for youth ministers

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  • April 21, 2017

TORONTO – Youth ministers are in demand at the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Office of Catholic Youth is trying to keep up.

“It’s been good to set up these youth ministry foundations and it sounds like generally, there are still more parishes. Now we’re running into a new, good problem that there’s a shortage of ready people to step into these roles,” said Fr. Frank Portelli, director of the Office of Catholic Youth (OCY).

“I think right now there are still two or three (job postings) on the archdiocese website.”

Portelli said the growing interest in parish youth ministers is due to a subsidy program made possible by the archdiocese’s Family of Faith campaign.

Family of Faith concluded its 18-month fundraising campaign at the end of 2016, having collected $171 million in cash and pledges, exceeding its goal of $105 million.

About $5 million has been allocated to directly aid in establishing parish-based youth ministry over 10 years.

“One of the things that has happened is priests who would not have otherwise hired, have felt attracted to this subsidy,” said Portelli.

There are 76 youth ministers in the archdiocese and the goal is to have youth ministers in all 225 parishes. However, this plan does not assume all parishes will adopt youth ministry in the same way.

The youth office will work together with the pastor in defining the individual parish’s vision for youth ministry. Staff will then work to match a trained youth minister according to the parish’s needs.

“Now it seems like the more we talked to parishes, it’s starting to get to a point where there’s vacancies and nobody really knows how to fill them from the people that are in our networks,” said Portelli. “That’s not to say that there aren’t people who can fill them.”

The youth office has hired 10 full-time and three part-time youth ministers over the last year, four of which transitioned from part-time to full-time work. The office is also preparing four candidates to be hired into parishes.

This does not take into account the volunteer youth ministers that are also working in the archdiocese.

In order for a parish to qualify for the subsidy program, there are two requirements: the parish is in financial need and they are committed to hiring a youth minister.

The subsidy covers up to 60 per cent of the youth minister’s salary to start and diminishes over the four to five years of subsidy.

An average salary for a full-time youth minister can range between $34,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the parish’s requirements, but also the applicant’s qualifications, education, experience and other credentials.

All employment opportunities are available on the archdiocese website (archtoronto.org). To learn more about the youth ministry subsidy program, visit the Youth Ministry page.

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