Mark Restaino, Director of Youth Ministry
The St. John Neumann Youth Ministry is for any middle school, 6th-8th grade, and high school student interested in growing their faith, serving the community, and having fun with friends.
The Youth Ministry at St. John Neumann partners with our Religious Education program and together we seek to disciple teenagers through education, service, community, prayer, and the sacraments.
During the school year, from September through April, the youth ministries meet pretty regularly. The Middle School Youth Ministry meets on Wednesday nights from 5:30-6:45 pm right before 6th-8th grade RE. And the High School Youth Ministry meets on Sunday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm. We also offer various outings and events throughout the year, including the summer.
Each night at youth group, we’ll have food, games, and prayer. Some nights we’ll offer a service craft, such as writing supportive letters to seminarians or cutting jeans to be made into shoes for children in third world countries. The ministries might also bring in guest speakers to give talks or lead discussions.
One-off outings or events may include a movie night, Christmas caroling, a mission trip, a retreat, a lock-in, a student Conference like Steubenville, or a trip to Feed My Starving Children, laser tag, Phil’s Friends, The Shrine of Christ’s Passion, the NIL Food Bank, March for Life Chicago, or Six Flags.
Is the High School Youth Ministry the same thing as Confirmation Prep?
Nope. Confirmation is part of the Religious Education Department and focuses on preparation for that specific sacrament. While High School Confirmation students are required to attend the High School Youth Ministry, the ministry itself covers a variety of religious topics while, at the same time, helping students put their faith into practice by offering opportunities for community and service, all with the intent to inspire teens to pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus and his Church.
Is Youth Ministry only for public school/RE students?
Nope. Middle School and High School Ministry are open to any 6th-8th grade and 9-12 grade students – public school, Catholic school, or homeschool. And if you are a college student or young adult, please consider being a Youth Ministry Missionary (details below).
Does Middle School or High School Youth Ministry cost anything?
We ask that each middle school student bring $5/week or pay $50/year to help cover the cost of dinner (e.g. pizza). We also ask that each high school student pay $100 to help cover the cost of food, speakers, and other expenses.
What can my child expect from the Youth Ministry?
The youth ministries will give students a space to ask questions about their faith, to unplug and unwind from the stresses of life, and to be encouraged to share their personality and talents with others.
Do I have to register my child for Middle School or High School Youth Ministry?
Youth Ministry Missionaries
Middle School or High School Youth Ministry Team Member
Regularly attend either the Wednesday night 5:30-6:45 pm middle school youth group or the Sunday night 6:30-8:30 pm high school youth group. Attend the monthly Youth Ministry Team meetings. Must be at least 18 and a high school graduate.
Middle School or High School Student Leadership Team Member
Regularly attend either the Wednesday night 5:30-6:45 pm middle school youth group or the Sunday night 6:30-8:30 pm high school youth group. Attend the monthly Student Leadership Team meetings. Must be in high school.
Prayer Team Member
Agree to pray for a list of high school students from September through June. There are no meetings to attend, you can pray at your discretion. The Prayer Team will receive a monthly email with prayer ideas.
Supervise the students at a service, spiritual, or fun outing. You can attend any events you choose. Must be at least 21.
Diocesan Requirements for Youth Ministry Missionaries
All volunteers within the Diocese of Rockford, who have contact with children or young people in their volunteer activities for parishes, are mandated to fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete a Criminal Background Check
- Complete an Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status Form or verification update
- Read and sign receipt form for the Sexual Misconduct Norms Booklet
- Attend a session of the Protecting God’s Children Workshop
- Read and sign the Volunteer Acknowledgment for the Code of Pastoral Conduct of the Rockford Diocese