An explanation of the youth programming we use at St. Mary’s

We use a program called Journey to Adulthood for our older youth. There is a focus on the students growing up and taking more and more responsibility each year until they basically run the meetings and lessons themselves. It usually starts when our students are in 6th or 7th grade and goes through their years in high school.

Everyone starts in Rite 13, which is a program designed for students who are in 5th-9th grade, and lasts 2 or 3 years. The next step is to be in the J2A (also called Journey to Adulthood) program, which is a continuation of what the students learned in Rite 13 - this stage is usually 2 years long. The group then enters a year called Confirmation and Pilgrimage (CAP). This year follows the same curriculum of J2A, but there is an added emphasis on confirmation, and as the name implies, it is the time that the students and their teachers plan and go on their pilgrimage. Additionally, during their CAP year, students will take much more responsibility for their learning and growing. Following pilgrimage, our students who haven’t graduated and moved on are part of the Young Adults in the Church class (YAC), where they mostly lead it themselves, with adults as their guides and mentors.

Once our students enter the Journey to Adulthood program, they stay together, as cohorts, during their entire time. For example, last year our Rite 13 class was comprised of our 5th-8th graders. This year those same kids will continue as our Rite 13 class, but now it will be our 6th-9th graders. These same kids will stay in the same cohort, and in 2022, they will go on pilgrimage together.

This year, we’ll have a Rite 13 group in their second year of Rite 13. Also, this year, we’ll see our J2A group transition into a CAP group. This means that we won’t have a J2A group at all this year. It all seems sort of confusing until you start thinking of it as cohorts of kids who go through the entire program together. Keeping the students in these cohorts helps them create strong bonds, and have continuity in their lessons from one year to the next.