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New Diocesan Youth Council Formed


Twenty-one young people from across the Diocese gathered at St. Ann in Frankfort this month for a spiritual retreat. The retreat marked the first gathering of the Gaylord Diocesan Youth Council (GDYC). Br. Michael Whitman led the youth and thirteen adults which included diocesan leadership, parish youth ministers and mentors on a weekend of prayer, reflection and community building.

The GDYC found its genesis in a gathering of youth last March. The event, Youth Congress: 2010, challenged the 140 participants to surface a new diocesan direction for youth ministry. Through a series of small group discussions those youth outlined present strengths and weaknesses as well as and future needs for the continued faith development of youth in our diocese. Participants to the Congress were also given the opportunity to discern interest in serving on the newly forming Gaylord Diocesan Youth Council. Ultimately, twenty-one (21) youth expressed a desire to serve on the GDYC and were subsequently accepted to serve on the council.

The GDYC retreat found its center in prayer. The youth and adults gathered in the morning, at mid-day and in the evening around the Christ Candle and the waters of the baptismal font. Voices were raised in song, in scripture and in story with all three centering on the call to discipleship, to a life in service to God and others.

“I felt privileged to share in the deep reflections of the young people,” said Dannie Brzezinski, Director of the Diocesan Secretariat Faith Development. “They showed a level of maturity in their willingness to share their faith that I hadn’t expected in a group just getting to know one another. I am excited to be a part of this council with them,” said Brzezinski.

One of the highlights of the retreat was working together through a personal assessment process called True Colors. True Colors is a personality inventory designed to help participants understand the dynamics of different personality types. The exercise will help the members of the GDYC better understand their strengths and what they uniquely bring to the dynamics of forming a cohesive working council. Catholic Human Services provided the materials necessary for the inventory and Wayne Winter, youth coordinator from St. Joseph, West Branch facilitated the process.

They youth also participated in learning exercises designed around communication, leadership styles and the eight components of youth ministry.

Bishop Bernard Hebda joined the group and celebrated the Eucharistic Liturgy with parishioners of St. Ann and the GDYC on Saturday. He also accompanied the youth for a picnic supper at a park on Crystal Lake.

The following youth form the Gaylord Diocesan Youth Council: Kevin Bey, Amanda Bigalke, Zach Boensch, Morgan Dantzer, Amanda Derengowski, Sarah Hilliard, Trevor Howell, Scott Kelly, Alex Kowalkowski, Jacob Loew, Stephanie Mandeville, Laura Martz, Elliot Meiser, William Miller, Christian Morrison, Robb Nemecek, Nicole Noble, Tony Norton-Hernandez, Claire O’Brien, Eric Patrick and Olivia Wurm.

The GDYC will meet quarterly with the next meeting scheduled for September 18. For more information regarding the work of the GDYC, please visit the diocesan website at

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