Read: DSA Story #3: How your generosity is forming young disciples

These happy young people are from Damascus Ministry’s National Team, an Ohio-based apostolate that provides mentoring on how to evangelize young people – and their work within the Diocese of Lansing is funded by your generous giving to the Diocesan Services Appeal. Thank you. God bless you.

“In addition to tips for creating a welcoming environment and leading small groups, the Damascus team also reminded us of the power of praying and fasting for our youth — and practical ways to remember to pray for each person by name,” said Abby Walraven, Youth Minister at Saint Rita parish in Clarklake, who experienced Damascus training last year, to FAITH Magazine. 

“The Damascus team reminded us that ultimately, we change kids' lives when we allow God to work through us –- it is not about the perfect youth group plan, or the best snacks, that will change a young person's life for the better. Rather, it is leading them to God the best we can and letting him do the rest.”

Damascus National Team were brought into the Diocese of Lansing last year. The first round of their training sessions were for youth and young adult ministry leaders but this year the Damascus training has been opened up to directors of religious education, youth ministers, parents, coaches, and mature teens who are ready to be equipped to lead their peers.

The Damascus coaching sessions including topics such as: sustaining one’s own relationships with the Lord in the context of ministry; prayer ministry; small group ministry; and recruiting and training volunteers.

“I appreciate that the Damascus team doesn’t just give a presentation or training, but they talk about the Biblical basis of these practices and then there’s a practicum,” explains Brian Flynn who is the Diocese of Lansing’s Director of Parish Youth Discipleship and Catechesis.

“For instance, there is a time to practice prayer ministry. Not all of those who attended had been involved in prayer ministry before but everyone had the chance to be prayed with and then, in turn, to pray with people.”

The Diocesan Services Appeal or DSA is an annual appeal which is used to sustain the ongoing, day-to-day work of the Church across the Diocese of Lansing. Contributions are put to work, right away, in a multitude of ministries and activities that offer direct assistance to individuals and families and to our parishes, schools, and affiliated Catholic organizations.

The theme of this year's DSA is "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving". The text, taken from the Book of Psalms, is aimed at reminding each of us of how we are to respond to the many gifts we have been given by God, including that great gift of His Son, truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

• Additional Material from “Forming Disciples of Christ” by Mary Gates, FAITH Magazine. To read the article in full click here

• To find out more or to donate to the DSA, click here

• To know more about Damascus, click here