St. Patrick Church is situated in downtown Columbus surrounded by warehouses and a secular community college. It has no neighborhood or school that would naturally connect the faithful to its pews. Instead, the 1,000 families that make up St. Patrick go out of their way to be a part of this vibrant community rooted in the efforts of the Dominican friars who feel a strong sense to carry forth the tradition of Catholic education and worship. One way the friars bring Catholics closer to Christ is by fostering vocations through their youth faith formation programs.
About nine years ago, a group of St. Patrick parishioners got together to understand how they could keep momentum going with the parish’s youth ministry programs. John Schlater was involved with these initial discussions. He and his wife, Deb, have been involved with St. Patrick’s for over 20 years. “There is a genuine vigor from the Dominican friars when it comes to working with our young people. We needed to find a way to ensure that resources would be available to sustain current and future youth ministries,” said Mr. Schlater. What came about from these gatherings was the creation of The St. Patrick Parish Vocations-Youth Endowment Fund.
The Fund helps support a variety of programs, including youth ministry programs, weekly catechesis (CCD) and sacramental preparation, campus outreach to Catholic students at Columbus State Community College and Columbus College of Art and Design, and St. Patrick’s altar server program. Currently, there are over 100 active members in youth ministry programs and over 250 children participating in CCD.
In addition, over the last 15 years, more than 20 young men and women have entered formation for the priesthood and religious life from St. Patrick. “If there are resources to support youth ministry programs, there should be a logical transgression to religious life for young Catholics,” notes Mr. Schlater. He also credits the Dominican friars and their efforts to educate and inspire the youth. “The children see them living with a sense of purpose and the happiness that stems from the Dominican way of life.”