The Best-Laid Plan

Oct 6-12, 2005
VOL 124 NO. 34
The Best-Laid Plan
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
New director named to the Diocesan Youth Ministry Office

Bob Walters left his position of vice principal and teacher at Tyburn Academy High School in Auburn to take on the role of director of the Diocesan Youth Ministry Office as of Oct. 3. He brings experience from working in youth ministry and from serving as a director of religious education to his new position at the diocese.

Walters held the positions of youth minister and director of religious education at St. Mary’s Church in Farmington, N.M. from 1996 through 1999.

His career began when he graduated from Franciscan University Steubenville. At a career fair sponsored by the school, an opening for a combined youth ministry and religious education position caught his attention. “I really wanted to teach, so that drew me into the youth ministry aspect of it,” said Walters. “It was obvious once I got that position that God wanted to teach me about youth ministry. I saw how youth ministry and religious education have to work hand in hand. I loved working there. I tried to make a real strong Catholic program.”

Not long after that, Walters was called to work in Auburn, NY. His job was to build a Catholic Boy’s Club program, writing the curriculum and then piloting it in the Central New York area. It eventually was piloted nationwide. The program focused on developing the qualities of virtue, character and leadership in boys. “When I made the decision to move to Syracuse, I felt that I was in the palm of God’s hand,” said Walters. “I was completely at peace.”

In his new position with the diocese, Walters intends to set up a five-year strategic plan with specific goals. He’ll accomplish this by holding regional meetings with the youth ministers to get a feel for their wants and needs. “I’m hoping to meet those needs,” said Walters. “I know first hand what a youth minister goes through. I’m hoping to give them sound youth ministry principles that I think most youth ministers lack, through no fault of their own. They want to help, but they just don’t know how — it’s simply because they have never been taught the basic methodology. I want the ministers to enjoy what they are doing. I’m excited because I know what is possible. Given the experience I’ve had in the past, I’m prepared to go out there and train them, and to coordinate and plan the ministry.

Walters said that when he was growing up his faith was not strong. “I went through a lot of unnecessary struggles because I didn’t have God in my life,” he explained. “At a certain point, a good priest and other individuals made Christ real to me — a real person, and helped me come to a relationship with Christ. That put me on a road to happiness to where I am now. I know Christ wants me to give it back. When you work with kids and you see the results, you see that they are desperately craving Christ. Youth ministry is there to lead them to Christ, and once they are there, to form them in their faith so that they can give it away. When they are giving it away, they are living their faith.”

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