Youth Ministry: The Initiation

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by Eric Groth

  Do you have or know a story-telling grandpa with an over-active imagination? In Initiation, a film produced for the Outside Da Box sacraments video catechism series, one such grandpa colorfully tells the story of his initiation into the Catholic Church to a couple of somewhat skeptical grandsons. He describes it like a fraternity initiation where he had to do three things: (1) Be drowned in water, (2) be covered in oil and set on fire, and (3) eat flesh. You can see where this is going. 

He eventually explains that in the plunging into water, he became dead to sin and alive in Christ; the oil was an anointing in which he became filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit; and in the partaking of the flesh he consumed the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

If you can pretend for a moment that you are not Catholic and look from the outside in on these “strange” activities, we really are an interesting part of Christendom! We really do have fantastic practices. 

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated, “The answer to the question of how Christ saves is to be found in the sacraments.” 

The sacraments are all about our salvation. Take a moment to reflect on all seven of them—baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony—and you will see that they really are about the Holy Trinity leading us to our eternal heavenly home. 

As a minister to the teens in our parish (and a film producer who likes to be creative), I am always looking for the catchy advertisement, activity, or presentation that will inspire our young church to seek Jesus and his kingdom before all other things. 

While being programmatically relevant is important in youth ministry, we must never forget that the age-old tried-and-true “outward and visible signs of inward and invisible grace” (thanks St. Augustine) are the greatest things in which we can invite our teens to participate. 

Eric Groth is president and executive producer of Outside da Box. Visit for short films that help teens know, love, and serve the Lord. 

Copyright 2016, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.

This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, April 2016.

Image Credit: Shutter Stock 36076513

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