Catholic Adult Organization: Why Should the Kids Get All the Fun?

Many of you remember Catholic Youth Organization, or CYO, from your own childhood or from previous places you may have lived.  CYO’s rebirth here in Naples has been well-received by both our own Parish Family, as well as the lager community, and we will have a tremendous set of programs and activities for the youth as the Life Center opens.  One of the advantages of starting CYO again from scratch is that we have what is called a “greenfield”, or opportunity to start this effort without the constraints imposed by prior work.  CYO begins at the ground up, and we all have an opportunity to participate in its birth and growth: youth as participants, and adults of all ages as coaches, instructors, mentors, cheerleaders, and supporters.

Our other major initiative, the Catholic Adult Organization, or CAO, does not have that luxury of starting in a greenfield environment to provide wellness, artistic, and social activities.  St. John is widely recognized for the sheer volume and quality of activities that occur on our campus annually.  Last year, there were over 5,000 events at St. John outside the Masses and Services in the church, most of which were focused on our adult communities, the young adults, adults, and experienced.  At some points during the year, it was overwhelming, with multiple concerts, dances, and dinners happening all within a single week.  With so much activity, it could start to degrade and delude the focus and support of our Parish Family and the mission of our church.  We must strike a balance of activities that can enliven various age groups and various life journeys, including those of us with children, widows, divorced or separated individuals, young adults, and many others, while maintaining the wonderfully engaging and enlivening spirit of Saint John.

This past week, the Ministry leadership of our Parish Family got together for a Town Hall Meeting to discuss this very issue.  Many ministries provided their valuable feedback on the Catholic Adult Organization structure and plan, including how they can participate to fulfill both their own individual missions and contribute to the Parish Mission.  Everyone recognized the need to collaborate on events and activities, and that the CAO structure will enable a Ministry to sponsor and support events (and receive the income for their programs) while utilizing the centrally available services of food and beverage management, facilities support, and event coordination.  More importantly, when presented with the totality of activities and opportunities to work together, it became clear that a monthly concert sponsored by either a single Ministry or multiple ones would have better attendance than 4 different ones at the same time.

I want to thank our Ministry leadership that took time out of their busy schedules to attend the meeting as well as our Pastoral Stewardship Council, who led the discussion.  Our Adult Faith Formation program led by Jack Kindsvater, provided a wonderful breakout session on how to apply The Joy of Love to the various Ministry types.  I am also grateful to Bill Warvel, who has volunteered to lead our CAO Program and assist with developing the team to integrate all the adult-related activities of our Parish Family into a consistent and collaborative program.  Please make sure you check out Page 13 for our CAO announcements as we move into the summer and the exciting opening of the Pulte Family Life Center.

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