Novena to St. Valentine, patron of engaged couples and happy marriages*
February 14, 2019
Meet India’s newest recognized saint*
February 15, 2019

For and with Catholic youth in mind*

Taresa Best, 34 years, the newly appointed Episcopal Delegate for Youth left her job in the public sector to work full-time for Church. It was the right time.

She says, “I love working with youth and young adults and while I might have been doing other things, I still maintained a relationship with the Youth Commission up to at least 2015 because I would come back and do a module of their training and I’ve always said anything the Church asks me I would say ‘yes’.”

Best was the first Youth Training Officer hired at the Archdiocesan Youth Commission. She was involved in her parish, St Dominic’s, Morvant as a Youth Co-ordinator and became a missionary for two years in Union Island, Grenadines. She holds a Master’s Degree in Development Statistics with a focus on socio-demographic data. Best’s résumé includes tenures at the Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (CREDI), the Ministry of Planning as a UN national volunteer policy writer and researcher; and a “short stint” as a part-time lecturer at The University of the West Indies. From January 2016, she was a research specialist based at the Community Mediation Services Division of the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts as a research specialist.

Interviewed at the Catholic Media Services Ltd (CAMSEL) office, Independence Square February 13, Best said she had time to step back and see herself “in a broader way”. Best says, “I felt as if God was saying to me it’s not that you don’t have a vocation to youth ministry, it’s just that ‘this is where I want you go be right now. I want your eyes to gaze on something different’.” She has listened to God’s guidance.  Last year the message came that she would be moving in a particular direction and would be prompted. When the opportunity to be Episcopal Delegate came, she said ‘yes’.

Best describes herself as introverted but loves bringing people together for discussion. Her involvement in Church, and youth groups influenced this: “It’s all about people talking and sharing spirituality”. She intends to build relations with groups, between Church and young people and facilitate capacity building. Best envisions youth ministry training as being about formation, “forming youth and young adults but also forming persons who minister to youth and young adults”.

Best said many young and older millennials have experienced youth ministry for a year or two. She recalled meetings on weekends when there was a time to discern God’s role in their lives. “That’s what I’d like to see come back in a big way,” she added. She knows couples who met and are doing well because of the foundation given by their training.

Another objective is to have a cadre of individuals who can provide service to and with young people. Best thinks anyone can get involved in youth ministry, if their perspective was one of seeing God in the youth as opposed to dictating “you have to know this you have to know that”.

Best said, “…there are grandparents, and parents and anybody and everybody can get involved in different ways and for me it’s about helping to empower all of Church to understand all of our children are our responsibility.” She is influenced by Nelson Mandela’s sayings on Ubuntu—”I am what I am because of who we all are”.

Best commented, “A person becomes a person through people; if we want young persons …we have to literally invest our personhood in them so that’s my style of ministry.”