Nearly 1,050 members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish are in junior high and high school, which makes one feature of the new Parish Center particularly important: the space dedicated to the parish’s youth ministry program. Currently at least 40 students in grades 7-12 are consistently involved but we could serve so many more if we had the space, said Steve Nespor, director of youth ministry.
This important ministry includes weekly Sunday evening gatherings for high school students and monthly meetings for those in junior high. Both groups meet separately to share a simple meal before discussing a particular topic. Currently, the youth ministry meetings are held in the St. Vincent Room, a multi-purpose room that has a capacity of 30 people. When more space is needed, the young people move to Hanneman Hall.
Nespor said he appreciates having the meeting space, but believes a larger area designed with young people in mind will allow the parish to better serve this growing population and make them feel like a priority in the church. “A youth room can be key to creating an environment of grace and hospitality that communicates that the church values young people and creates space for them to explore their faith,” he said. He said he envisions creating a comfortable, welcoming and familiar environment that helps students have positive experiences that lead to a relationship with Christ.