BISHOP’S YOUTH AWARDS 2024
It is with great pleasure that we announce the opening of this nomination process for the 2024 Bishop’s Youth Awards. The Bishop’s Youth Awards, a time-honored tradition in the Diocese of Scranton since 1996, celebrates current 8th and 12th grade youth who embody the spirit of the early Church who “devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles and the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42, NABRE).
As the Bishop’s Youth Awards develop and grow, we continue to revitalize and evaluate the process for this award. Therefore, we ask that you take the time to review all of this information since several aspects of the Awards have changed this year.
Date, Time and Location
Because of the overwhelming number of individuals awarded this prestigious award each year, the Bishop’s Youth Awards will take place over two Masses.
The date of each Mass depends on the pastoral region of your parish.
Candidates in parishes located in the Southern and Western Regions will be honored at a Mass on Sunday, April 7th at 2:30 P.M.
Candidates in parishes located in the Northern and Eastern Regions will be honored at a Mass on Sunday April 14th at 2:30 P.M.
Both Bishop’s Youth Award Masses will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Peter located at 315 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton.
Discernment of Nominees
The Bishop’s Youth Awards are given to current 8th and 12th grade youth from one of our 110 parishes, who are active in their faith and are striving to be true disciples of Christ. Candidates are eligible to receive this award if they meet the criteria laid out in the following section.
We ask that you carefully discern which 8th and 12th grade candidates you will nominate and how their life in Christ pertains to the Bishop’s pastoral letter and vision for the Diocese of Scranton, Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered.
Criteria for Nomination
In his Pastoral Letter, Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, Bishop Bambera identifies four key pillars that highlight how we, as the Church, should be living out our faith in Christ. To be nominated for the Bishop’s Youth Awards, individuals must be actively pursuing one, if not all, of these pillars.
These four pillars are:
- Word: Bishop Bambara calls us “to be servant leaders who are people of the Word, preaching, teaching, evangelizing and cherishing the Gospels message throughout our entire lives” (Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, 9).
Candidates who exhibit lives in Christ through Word show a passion for the Word of God. These are the individuals that volunteer as leaders in Religious Education, Vacation Bible School, Youth Bible Studies etc. These candidates are also individuals that live out the command of the Christ “to make disciples of all nations and to teach and observe all that he has commanded” (cf. Mt. 28:18-20).
- Worship: Bishop Bambara calls us “to be servant leaders who Worship our God and celebrate the sacraments in union with the universal Church” (Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, 10).
Candidates who exhibit lives in Christ through Worship show a particular passion for the Eucharist and the Sacraments. These candidates regularly attend Mass. They actively participate in liturgical ministries (altar servers, lectors, choral group, hospitality ministry, bulletin/programs writing etc.) available to them based on what the parish allows. These candidates also exhibit dedication to particular devotions of the parish and school (rosary/novena leaders, adoration coordinators, etc.).
- Community: Bishop Bambara calls us “to be servant leaders who build Community through hospitality, respect, inclusion and holiness” (Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, 10).
Candidates who exhibit lives in Christ through Community actively pursue relationships with peers and other members of the parish and/or school. They actively seek to foster friendships throughout the parish and school (potentially crossing generational gaps) that help accompany others to Christ. These individuals recognize that God made us to be in relationship with each other and him. They are involved in youth ministry; ministry to the elderly, homebound or childcare; volunteer at church picnics and parish functions etc.
- Service: Bishop Bambara calls us “to be servant leaders who engage in Service to our neighbors near and far and who work for justice and stewardship to hasten the Reign of God” (Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, 11).
Candidates who exhibit lives in Christ through Service actively pursue the Corporal Works of Mercy in their lives. They seek out opportunities to “feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, and give alms to the poor.” Examples of pursuing a life lived through the Corporal Works of Mercy would be participating in or leading service trips; frequently volunteering at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or participating in or leading donation drives; organizing or participating in activities that elevates the life and dignity of all humans.
Process for Nomination
- All nominations will come from the parish, with pastoral approval. Schools will submit their nominations to the parish of their nominees.
- Pastors are invited to ask anyone, including but not limited to the Parish Faith Formation Directors, Youth Ministers, Catechist, Directors of Faith Formation, Principals and teachers at the Catholic Schools in the Diocese, who is involved with the formation of youth to identify candidates. Pastors are encouraged to set a deadline for nominations by those involved with youth formation, ideally a week or two before the diocesan deadline of February 2nd.
- Pastors are asked to consult the Parish Faith Formation Directors, Youth Ministers, Catechists, Directors of Faith Formation, Principals and teachers at the Catholic Schools in the Diocese to review and discern the submissions of nominees. During this time contact information for each nominee is to be verified.
- To maintain the integrity of this prestigious award, we ask that you do not nominate all individuals in these age groups, but rather put forth the names of individuals that are exemplary to their peers.
Submission of Nomination
Once the individual candidates have been considered, discerned and discussed, the nominees are to be submitted to the Office for Parish Life through this LINK. When submitting nominees through the form, the approval of the pastor must be indicated.
The submission of nominations must be received by the Office of Parish Life no later than February 2, 2024. Nominations will not be accepted after this deadline, nor will the names of nominees appear in the program if they are not received by this date.
Notification of Recipients
Upon the pastor’s approval, nominees will be informed by letter and email, sent by the Office for Parish Life. Additionally, the letter will provide details pertaining to the Mass for their region.
Once the letters have been mailed, the Office for Parish Life will notify the pastors so that they can congratulate their recipients. Additionally, pastors are asked to talk with their recipients about why they were nominated for this Award.
For any questions pertaining to the Bishop’s Youth Awards, please don’t hesitate to contact Marianne Guarnieri at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (570) 207-2238