As part of an on-going effort to communicate the renewed focus and efforts of our Parish Mission, I wanted to continue a new series in our bulletin, Getting #ToKnow Our Staff. We will spotlight a staff member here at St. John, including some of their responsibilities and background. That way, if you have a question, or need some assistance, you can put a name and face to those that will be helping you.
As you may have read on our Capital Campaign page, we have moved forward with our Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) program here at St. John. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me, explaining how they met their spouse at a CYO Dance, or their best, life-long friendships were developed on their playing fields on their CYO teams when they were younger. Our Parish Family’s experience with CYO spans those that are 25 to those that are 90. The Holy Spirit is alive in all of us, showing that we are on the on the right track with our “new wineskins”, programs that enliven the Catholic Faith in the youth today and strengthen and grow our church for decades to come. We are going to be able to Illustrate the positive force the Catholic Church can be in the community and it will take all of us working together to do so. High schoolers need mentors from those in our Parish Family that have the experience and worldly knowledge. Children need supportive coaches and, of course, cheering fans.
In order to make these efforts a success, we need the right leadership that will both engage to the youth as well as organized to run the various sports, social, and artistic programs. In fact, when looking for an individual for our position of CYO Social and Spiritual Coordinator, I made it clear that the “O” in CYO was the priority. We have found an excellent young man in Kyle VanDuser, who will bring a wealth of personal experience, fire for the Catholic Faith, and a tremendous ability to create relationships with the youth of Naples to meet them where they are and accompany them on their life and faith journey.w, to love, and to serve God in this church and in our community.
My wife and I are very excited to be joining this wonderful church staff. As parish members we have fallen in love with St. John the Evangelist catholic church. Now, as we look forward into what God has for us, we want to share with you what we believe is God’s vision for CYO. Jesus said in Matthew 18:2-5:
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
By this we know that God has a special place in his heart for youth. We want to reflect Jesus’ heart for children through our actions in CYO. God has a special calling on this next generation and we want to provide a way for God to shine in and through the youth in Naples. CYO has a solid structure and long history of engaging youth in their faith. We want to re-establish CYO’s precedence in SJECC and also in Naples. Youth will have a place to worship, grow, and fellowship with peers in our new The Rock Ministries. Further info on place and time will be provided as soon as possible. We believe that the church was built on “the Rock’ that was peter, and we want to use his example to build the foundation of the next generation. On The Rock, we pray that God will build up St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of the future to withhold the values of those that have gone before. Continuing the mission to know, to love, and to serve God in this church and in our community.
Kyle, as our CYO Social and Spiritual Coordinator, will have a wide and varied set of responsibilities. He will manage our incoming 8 missionaries from NET Ministries, ensuring their housing needs are met and planning their outreach efforts. He will be executing The Rock, our new weekly youth engagement, along with monthly activities that fit our mold of CYO programs, with physical, social, and artistic foci. Most importantly, however, he will be providing personal, relational ministry for anyone that he can reach. His existing relationships at all the local high schools from leading the Fellowship of Christian Athletes already gives him direct access to youth across Naples and Bonita Springs. His conversion story and life are inspirational and engaging. His positive and infectious love of Jesus shines through every conversation you have with him, so I hope you will all have the pleasure of meeting and speaking with him soon.
It is our life’s goal to discover our talents and spiritual gifts. It is our purpose in life then to give them away. CYO at St John’s will strive to find and develop any gift or talent a student may have. Then, provide many opportunities for them to give that talent to God by using to further his gospel.
Please join me in welcoming Kyle and his wife to our Parish Family and our CYO. We will have a Social Hour on September 8, from 6:30 PM to 8 PM, in the Seminar Room, so you can come meet him and learn more about our CYO plans.