Superior Catholic Herald
Cultivating discipleship — “making fishers of men” — is the goal of a new program aimed at diocesan youths.
Discipleship U, the Diocese of Superior’s inaugural high school leadership training, is April 25-27 at CrossWoods Camp in Mason.
Fr. Andrew Ricci, rector of Christ the King Cathedral, Superior, said he’s “all jazzed” about the first-ever opportunity for diocesan teens to be locally trained in their faith, carry that experience home with them and serve as mentors and leaders in their parishes.
“It’s in our backyard, so it’s approachable, reasonable and affordable,” he said.
“We want them to become disciple-builders,” added Megan Noll, director of marriage and family programs for the Diocese of Superior.
Noll joined the diocesan staff five years ago. For the past four years, she’s been reaching out to junior high students. Those teens have gone on to high school, and “now they need more,” Noll said.
A weekend immersion in prayer, and in learning how to pray, is the next step.
“To be a good disciple, we have to be able to follow Christ,” she added. “We have to be able to converse with Christ.”
Discipleship U is billed as a weekend with “dynamic sessions of worship, disciple-building talks and activities, service and fun.” Organizers are collaborating with NET Ministries — National Evangelization Teams — to run the sessions.
Unlike other diocesan youth programs, this one is designed specifically for teens who are considered leaders by their pastors and youth ministers.
All youths have gifts to give, Noll said. Teens with leadership skills are more likely to talk about their faith, and she believes disciple-building should bear fruit in the form of evangelization.
“The hope is that they’ll be able to share what they’re learning with their friends and their families,” said Noll.
Vocations to the religious life or priesthood could be “indirect fruits,” she noted, although the training will not address that topic directly.
“Mostly, we just want people to get closer to God,” Noll said.
And, when they do, anyone who is being called to a religious life will hear God’s call. “To me, there will be a natural flow to vocations,” she said.
Her approach to youth ministry — particularly in reaching out to junior high students — takes into account the various stages of life, Noll explained.
Junior high is a time when many teens are thinking specifically about the big questions — Who am I? Who is God?, etc.
“By high school, you’re thinking about ‘Where am I going?’” she said.
Noll hopes the high school leadership program will bring to fruition those seeds of faith already planted.
“It’s really building intentional disciples,” she said.
For more information about the program, contact Noll at or 715-234-5044, ext. 4403.