Youth Ministry Track

This is an in-depth program developed to provide deeper formation for the youth minister, including presentations that are practical, academic, theological, and spiritual. Believing that the most significant factor in the catechetical endeavor is the individual catechist passing on a lived faith, Franciscan University has committed itself to assisting in the preparation of men and women equal to the task of catechesis in a youth ministry context.

Certification Requirements

Certification Requirements are fulfilled over two consecutive years which  include 24 workshops (16 residential summer workshops and 8 online) as well as 8 general sessions. Participants begin with Year I and move to Year II Curriculum. Sessions for both are offered every year at the conference. Participants pursuing the certificate training must attend 8 Youth Ministry Track Workshops and all four general sessions during the week, at each conference (as well as 4 online workshops that follow). Attendance will be monitored at all sessions, including general sessions. Each participant will complete and submit an assessed project or paper each year. In the last year of training, the candidates will complete a 6-page essay assignment.

2018 Youth Ministry Track Workshops:

Year 1:

A Vision for Effective Youth Ministry

Engaging Youth Culture

Incarnational Ministry: Relational Ministry with Teens

Partnering with Families

The Church, the Body of Christ:
Working with Bishops, Pastors, Staff, and Parents

Effective Catechesis in Youth Ministry

Methods and Practical Skills for Youth Ministry

Year 2:

Personal Spirituality and the Call to Holiness

Counseling and Pastoral Care with Teens

The Liturgical Nature and Sacramental Life of the Church

Our Life in Christ: The Basics of Catholic Morality

Mobilizing Teens for Service, Leadership, and Vocation

Theology of the Body: Teaching Catholic Sexuality to Teens

General Introduction to Adolescent Development

St. John Paul’s Understanding of the Family

Track Presenters

Bob Rice, PhD, Track Coordinator, desires to share the love of God using every talent with which he has been blessed. He is an internationally known speaker, acclaimed musician, inspirational teacher, and innovative writer. Bob received his PhD in evangelisation (not a typo, that’s how the Brits spell it) from Liverpool Hope University and currently is the director of the Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is married to Jennifer and they have seven children. You can keep up with him at


Gina Bauer is a dynamic presenter, with 25 years of experience serving the Church as a youth director, religious educator, and speaker. Gina is able to convey Catholic teachings in a compassionate, down-to-earth style that reaches the hearts of listeners, equipping them with practical tools to live holy lives in today’s culture. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her master’s in theological studies from the University of Dallas Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies. Gina currently works at St. Joseph in West St. Paul. She and her husband, Duane, have four children.


Jim Beckman serves as the executive director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. A graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1987, Jim has served in various roles of leadership for national, regional, and local ministry ever since. Jim also is the executive director of ImpactCenter, a nonprofit dedicated to leadership development in the Catholic Church and serves as an adjunct professor for the Augustine Institute, teaching on leadership and discipleship. He also serves as an ambassador for Franciscan University of Steubenville. He and his wife, Meg, live in Oklahoma City with their five children.


Dr. James Pauley, S.T.L., S.T.D. (cand.), is a professor of theology and catechetics at Franciscan University. He has just published his first book, Liturgical Catechesis in the 21st Century: A School of Discipleship (LTP Press). In 2014, Dr. Pauley was appointed founding editor of The Catechetical Review, Franciscan University’s journal dedicated to the new evangelization. Dr. Pauley began working as a parish catechetical leader in 1989 and has served professionally in parish, diocesan, and university catechetical formation for 28 years. He is a frequent speaker in dioceses and parishes nationwide. James is married to Katrina, and they are blessed with three daughters.


Eric J. Westby, PhD, is an assistant professor of theology and catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He completed his doctoral studies at the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham, England, offering a critique of seminary formation in light of priestly catechetical ministry. He holds a master of arts degree in theology and Christian ministry from Franciscan University, from where he was the first student to complete the certification in catechetics. He has been involved in parish catechetics since 1988 and is the founder of and More importantly, he is husband to Nikki and father of five girls.


Dr. Kristin Witte directs U.S. Catholic Educational and Catechetical Engagement for the USCCB’s official international humanitarian aid organization, Catholic Relief Services. Dr. Witte strives to encourage fellow disciples to embrace Christ’s healing mission. She has served as a campus minister, coordinator of Pastoral Care for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, parish youth minister, and Catholic school religion teacher. She has earned three master’s degrees and completed her doctorate in ministry with an emphasis in pastoral counseling from The Catholic University of America. Dr. Witte and her husband, Andy, reside in the Baltimore area with their daughter, Kyra Grace.