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.

This Year’s Youth Ministry Track Workshops:

General Introduction to Adolescent Development
Recruiting, Training, and Developing Teams
Personal Spirituality and the Call to Holiness
A Vision for Effective Youth Ministry
Methods and Practical Skills
Incarnational Ministry: Relational Ministry with Teens
Engaging Youth Culture
The Church, the Body of Christ: Working with Bishops, Pastors, Staff, and Parents

Salvation History: The Father’s Plan of Salvation
Mobilizing Teens for Service, Leadership, and Vocation
Theology of the Body: Teaching Catholic Sexuality to Teens
The Liturgical Nature and Sacramental Life of the Church
Catholic Social Teaching
The Christocentricity of Catholic Morality
St. John Paul II’s Understanding of the Family
Counseling and Pastoral Care with Teens

Track Presenters

Dr. Bob Rice, 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 teaches at Franciscan University in Steubenville, where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their seven children. He will be leading worship at the Power and Purpose Conference; the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Retreat; the Applied Biblical Studies Conference; the Defending the Faith Conference; and the Main Campus Youth Conferences. In addition, Bob will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Gina Bauer is a dynamic presenter to audiences of all ages. With nearly 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 earned a master’s degree in pastoral theology from the University of Dallas Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies, as well as a bachelor’s degree in theology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Currently, Gina is the senior high youth director at St. Joseph in West St. Paul. She and her husband, Duane, have four children. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Jim Beckman directs the Impact Institute under the Lay Division of Formation of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, and is an Associate Professor of Leadership & Discipleship at the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. He has been involved with parish and Diocesan ministry, evangelization and leadership development for more than 30 years. He is a dynamic and passionate speaker and has a great love for the Church. He and his wife, Meg, live in Highlands Ranch, CO with their five children: Aaron, Claire, Daniel, Jonathan and Brian. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Dr. James Pauley, S.T.L., S.T.D. (cand.) is associate professor of theology and catechetics and has served on the theology faculty at Franciscan University since 2002. He received his doctorate in sacred theology from the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary in 2014. His doctoral research was focused on the 20th century history of the renewal of liturgy and catechesis and the proposal of principles for the revitalization of liturgical catechesis. 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 in Phoenix and has served professionally in parish, diocesan, and university catechetical formation for more than 25 years. A native of Arizona, James is married to Katrina, and they have three daughters. He will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.


Eric J. Westby, PhD, is an assistant professor of theology and catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. 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 Masters 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. He is the founder of and More importantly, he is husband to Nikki and father of five beautiful girls.


Dr. Kristin Witte directs the U.S. Catholic Educational Engagement for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ international humanitarian aid organization, Catholic Relief Services. Dr. Witte, who strives to encourage fellow disciples to embrace Christ’s healing mission, has served in a variety of ministerial roles including assistant director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University in Maryland, coordinator of Pastoral Care for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, parish youth minister, and religion teacher at a Catholic school in Washington D.C. She has earned three master’s degrees, and she completed her doctorate in ministry in 2010 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. She will be presenting at the St. John Bosco Conference.