If Christ is presented to young people as he really is, they experience him as an answer that is convincing and they can accept his message, even when it is demanding and bears the mark of the Cross. For this reason and in response to their enthusiasm, I do not hesitate to ask them to make a radical choice of faith and life, and present them with a stupendous task: to become "morning watchmen" (cf. Is 21:11-12) at the dawn of the new millennium.
The Catholic bishops of the United States defined Catholic youth ministry in the 1997 document Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry (RTV). This document, printed in both English and Spanish, provides a structure for the ministry as well as a language, theology, and pastoral approach for responding to the personal and spiritual needs of today's adolescents.
Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte #9
“What is needed today is a church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants to enter into dialogue with them and, through his body, which is the church, to propose the possibility of a choice, which will require a commitment of their lives. As Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus, so the church must become the traveling companion of young people...” (Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 1995, Philippines)
The church must become the traveling companion of young people—and that is what we mean by youth ministry. If, indeed, “it takes an entire village to raise a child,” then it certainly takes an entire church to journey with young people as they grapple with the Good News and respond in discipleship.