The Future Is Now

Patience pays off for Texas volunteer.

Hispanic youth minister prepares new leaders for tomorrow
Alicia Avilés (left) and other members of Instituto Fe y Vida review the new Biblia Católica para Jóvenes.

A simple response to what she saw as a simple call has given Alicia Avilés a hundredfold. Avilés cast her lot with the young people more than 15 years ago, when she felt the call and decided to devote her life to this ministry. She works as a volunteer with the Archdiocese of Houston and as an instructor of Instituto Fe y Vida, an organization that trains young leaders throughout the nation.

“I felt called to this mission when I was 19 years old,” says Avilés. “I had a very personal encounter with Jesus, and I felt I needed to be involved in youth ministry. I know this is what I have to do because I see that Hispanic youth have great ideals and needs. They are at a key transition stage. They represent huge and growing numbers, and they are changing the face of the church. It is urgent to train people to welcome them into the church, help them to adapt to the new culture, and motivate them to be trained as leaders.”

PasCon, a youth ministry team in the Archdiocese of Houston, started at the end of the 80s, when the diocese invited six young people—Avilés among them—to develop a diocesan plan. “After one year,” Avilés says, “when we saw that it was moving very slowly, we created a support group to help and advise the emerging leaders.”

PasCon received training from Instituto Fe y Vida. Over the years more than 60 scholarships have been granted for youth ministry formation.

About serving as a Fe y Vida instructor at the national level Avilés says, “It is truly enriching for me to be able to meet so many people who have such a desire to serve God in youth ministry. Although my role is that of a teacher, I learn from them. The affection of people, the friendships I have made, and being personally connected through calls or e-mails with people from all parts of the country are just beautiful. God has so expanded my ministry.”

Your turn:

  • What calls have you received from Jesus?
  • What invitations have you gotten from other members of the church? How have you responded?

Be good if you can

St. Philip Neri

His advice was to be good, if you could. He was joyful, had a great sense of humor, and was affectionate. He earned the trust of all those who came in contact with him. He founded the Oratory, which served many Italian youth.

  • Could those around you tell by your joy that you are a Christian?
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