For over 25 years, Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology has offered its One Bread, One Cup liturgical leadership conferences for high school youth, and 2022 summer conferences now are in full swing. Not just an opportunity for a community-building spiritual “high,” One Bread, One Cup offers young people the opportunity to build real skills for liturgical leadership. Students have a lot of goofy fun, but they also learn to be lectors, sacristans, servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, cantors, liturgical artists, intrumental musicians, preachers, hospitality ministers, and composers of intercessions.
Building on the core Eucharistic themes of gathering, Word, sacrament, and mission, the five day conferences give young people a deeper grounding in why we do what we do at liturgy, and how. Teens are introduced to the Liturgy of the Hours and the basics of chant, and also participate in a Reconciliation service, a Holy Hour, and various devotions.
Paid college interns work with trained catechists to run three conferences each summer, forming their own tight community and acting as the backbone of the program. During off-weeks between conferences, interns receive their own theological formation, which can count toward credits in Saint Meinrad’s Graduate Theology Program.
Youth attend with high school and parish groups, with adult leaders receiving formation during the conferences as well. While youth ministers are not burdened with heavy supervisory responsibility during One Bread, One Cup, their role becomes more important when the young people return home. It is important that adults advocate for youth so that their gifts may be put to use in the parish and at school.
Over the years I have been involved with One Bread, One Cup in various capacities, including teaching chant and liturgical art. It is a fine program that cultivates a greater sense of belonging among young people, giving them the skills they need to be part of Church life today. I highly recommend it for any parish or Catholic high school group looking for a way to cultivate leadership among their youth.