Certificate in Spirituality specialising in applied youth ministry and facilitation

Course Overview

Programme Title/Award: 
Certificate in Spirituality specialising in applied youth ministry
NFQ Level: 
Level 6

Programme Aims and Objectives


To train participants in creative ways of bringing the Gospel message to young people. 

The course offers transferrable skills through a series of experiential workshops and lectures, while inviting the participants to deepen their own spiritual commitment to ministry. 

The practical placement of the course for the purpose of assessment will be the facilitation of the two school retreats.

(Retreats provide an ideal setting to practise and develop the skills learned during the course.  These skills are applicable to many areas of youth ministry.)


Course Topics

  1. Introduction to Youth Ministry and Youth Retreat Facilitation
  2. Course ethos - theological educational and antropological underpinnings of the course
  3. Adolescents and cultural influences; secularisation and the decline of institutional religion; media 'platforms' and their influence on adolescents
  4. Adolescent Development Piaget, Erikson, Marcia, Vygotsky
  5. Understanding the social media culture and influences on today's teens
  6. Holistic understanding of mindfulness and wellbeing - Reflection on the spiritual aspects of the person
  7. Christian meditation and young people
  8. Teens, stress, sexuality and developmental issues
  9. Class facilitation skills and approaches with youth ministry group work
  10. Practical use of music in applied youth ministry
  11. Practical use of drama and ice breakers in youth ministry and retreat settings
  12. Use of you tube, video and film in retreat facilitation
  13. Practical approaches to youth pastoral and retreats
  14. Reflective practice and theological reflection
  15. Understanding the sacraments of initiation, rites of initiation
  16. Youth culture and difficult questions
  17. New and old testament images of God  How our images of God affects our retreat facilitation and youth ministry 






 Course Objectives

  • To lead the participants through a series of experiential workshops and lectures while inviting them to deepen their own spirituality and commitment to ministry in the Church
  • To facilitate effective teamwork in the preparation and leading of both senior and junior retreats for the purpose of assessment

Learning Progression

Diploma in Spirituality (Applied Youth Ministry and Facilitation)

 STudents must attend 8 of the following 10 Workshop days

(September 7, November 9, 23 are compulsory) 

Dates  2019

  • September 7
  • September 14
  • October 5
  • October 12
  • November 9
  • November 23
  • December 7

 Dates 2020

  • January 25
  • February 8
  • March 28

Location: Margaret Aylward Centre Glasnevin 

Margaret Aylward Centre for Faith & Dialogue, Glasnevin, Dublin 11.

Admission Criteria for Certificate Course:

Applicant should submit an application form. Acceptance for the course is dependent on the successful completion of an interview.

Other requirements:

  • Ongoing commitment to their Christian Faith
  • A willingness and openness in working with young people
  • An openness to ongoing personal faith development and reflective practice

Cost of Certificate Year

€1,000 This includes registration fees, a student card, allowing library access in NUIM and relevant resources for the theoretical and practical elements of the course

There is a refund scheme available specifically for teachers to recoup costs of additional study, more information here..

Should a student wish to take the course at diploma level following the certificate they must

a) attend the workshop days they missed

b)  submit the four prescribed diploma essays 

c) organise and facilitated four day retreats 

d) submit a portfolio of their practical work

Cost: €700 




Module 1: Adolescent development, psychology and culture

Workshop days 1, 2, 3 

Learning outcomes

Students will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complex period that is adolescence and the relevant learning theorists
  • Describe how youth ministers can help adolescents cope with the challenges they may face, such as anxiety, depression, bullying and alcohol or substance abuse
  • Appraise and critique the implications of contemporary culture in dealing with young people in retreat and pastoral situations
  • Discuss and evaluate the effect of social media on young people. Propose ways in  which young people can use social media can enhance the Christian way of live
  • Identify the main characteristics of today’s understanding of the spiritual, psychological and social development of adolescents
  • Identify ways of engaging with young people who are disenchanted with the institutional Church and who no longer practice their faith
  • Identify the ways in which the Shekinah course can respond to the issues outlined in the wellness strand of the school curriculum – psychological and spiritual health of young people


Module 2: Applied skills in youth ministry

Workshop days 4, 5 & 6

Learning outcomes

Students will

  • Identify the skills and practice to engage in a multi-disciplinary approach to youth ministry.
  • Illustrate the value of facilitation skills over a teaching or preaching method
  • Identify the skills needed to develop an understanding of group management and boundaries
  • Evaluate the key areas needed to enhance skills and practice in youth ministry
  •  Examine ways of finding language and symbols to engage young people with gospel and faith values
  • Identify the relevant professional protocols when dealing with schools or parishes
  • Significantly enhance their effectiveness in ministering to adolescents through a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in a rapidly changing culture
Module 3: Approaches to theology, scripture and reflective practice

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Examine ways of finding language and symbols to engage young people with gospel and faith values
  • Relate the practice of meditation to an understanding of the Christian mystical tradition
  • Examine how the image of God developed in the Old Testament and how it achieved its fullest expression in the person of Jesus
  • Identify different levels of reflection with regard to their own work and that of others
  • Identify the process of ‘theological reflection’ as the common methodology of theological thinking
  • Assemble and apply a method of theological reflection understanding its strengths and weaknesses
  • Compare and contrast the difference between descriptive and reflective writing
  • Integrate theological reflection into their work as reflective practitioners
  • Significantly enhance their effectiveness in ministering to adolescents through a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in a rapidly changing culture
Module 4: Practical placement

Certificate Students will as part of a team of 2 students, facilitate 2 school retreats organised by the course directors.

Each of these retreats will be supervised.

Preparation will be done in class and will be assisted monitored by the course directors. 

Learning outcomes

Students will

  •  Show knowledge, ability and comprehension of the characteristics involved in preparing a youth retreat or youth ministry programme
  • Demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and comprehension of the necessary elements in youth retreat and youth ministry programmes to address the complexities of the current cultural situation for today’s youth
  •  Demonstrate their ability to design and implement an effective evaluation methodology for their work
  • Demonstrate their ability to design and implement a personal theological reflective practice for their work   

Student workload and criteria for assessment


It is a requirement that students attend all 10 workshop sessions. If someone is absent due to illness or other extenuating circumstances they will have to do an assignment pertaining to the particular section that they missed. They will also have to take responsibility for acquiring any relevant material pertaining to that session. Students who miss 2 or more sessions will not qualify for the certificate in that particular academic year. They may, however, repeat the missed workshops in the following year and thereby qualify for certification

Continual Assessment

Students will demonstrate their skills in leading meditation and prayer experiences, ice- breakers and involvement exercises. They will be encouraged to create audio visual presentations and demonstrate their ability to select appropriate media resources for appropriate age groups.

Written work

Students are required to submit three prescribed essays of 1,000 words

Practical Placement

Students are required to prepare, facilitate and evaluate at least 2 day-long retreats, as part of a team, with both junior and senior cycle pupils. They are required to present short ‘self evaluation’ reports at the end of each retreat day.