Diploma in Spirituality specialising in applied youth ministry and facilitation

Course Overview

Programme Title/Award: 
Diploma in Spirituality – Applied Youth Ministry and Facilitation
NFQ Level: 
Level 7

Diploma Programme


Aims and Objectives

To provide the participants with a foundational, authentic, theological, scriptural, spiritual and psychological basis from which to design and deliver youth retreat and other youth ministry experiences, through a facilitative process. 

This course in applied youth ministry and facilitation explores the development of a comprehensive methodology for retreat facilitators and other youth workers in our contemporary youth culture. Its values are rooted in a theological and pastoral vision of Christian Spirituality. Apart from helping participants develop foundational understandings for youth ministry, the skills of the course are transferable to varied pastoral work with youth. Reflective practice and theological reflection will be integral to the programme.


Course Topics

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


Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Design and conduct faith-based retreat or other faith based programmes for adolescents.
  • Analyse and critique “post-modern” culture and develop some strategies for faith formation with adolescents.
  • Identify the relevant characteristics, skills and practices applicable in youth ministry today.
  • Identify a variety of ways to nurture a living relationship with God in the lives of adolescents.
  • Integrate and transfer theological reflection into their work as reflective practioners


Learning Progression

MA in Applied Spirituality (www.spiritualityinstitute.ie)

Entry Details: Applicants for the MA in Applied Spirituality should normally hold an NFQ Level 8 Honours degree in a field of study related to the programme such as, philosophy, humanities, human sciences, religious studies, or a similar discipline.  They will usually have familiarity with the language of spirituality and will have experience in the field through, for instance, attendance at retreats, prayer practice, meditation, pilgrimage, social justice engagement, planetary well-being advocacy, or other such activities. 

Applicants who do not hold the NFQ Level 8 qualification, but have sufficient relevant learning gained through the workplace, voluntary service, life experiences, and study will be considered for admission to the programme.

Every applicant is invited for an admissions conversation.

For further information, please contact Michael at spiremos@gmail.com

DATES  2020 

September 26
October 3

October 10

October 17

November 7

November 21

November 28

December 5

DATES 2021

February 6

February 13
March 20





Note: The 2020-2021 course will also be offered in Letterkenny, Co.Donegal. See programme structure in 'Dowloads' for dates and details of modules. 

Admission Criteria

Course Pre-Requisites:

  • Ongoing commitment and a basic knowledge of their Christian Faith
  • An openness to ongoing personal faith development and reflective practice
  • A general awareness of the influences on adolescents today  
  • An aptitude and openness in working with young people


A participant who, due to circumstances, is unable to complete the diploma course may be awarded a certificate depending on the amount of the curriculum completed.  


Cost of Diploma Year




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, spirituality and reflective practice

Workshop Days 7, 8, 9 & 10

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Examine and describe the person of Jesus of Nazareth and be able to help young people develop a relationship with the living Christ
  • 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
  • Discover the connection between the practice of our faith and the universe in the light of  Laudato Si'
  • 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

Students will organise, prepare, facilitate and evaluate at least 4 youth retreats or comparable youth ministry programmes in a school or parish setting.  This can be achieved on an individual basis or as part of a team of 2 and will be supervised by the course facilitators. All aspects of the practical placement will be presented in a portfolio.


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   


Cert 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. 





Student workload and criteria for assessment

Students are strongly recommended to make use of the library, lecture notes and resources offered.

  • Participation

It is important that students attend all 10 workshop days.  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 day.  

  • Continual Assessment

Students will demonstrate their skills in leading meditation and prayer experiences, ice- breakers and involvements exercises.   The will be encouraged to create audio visual presentations and demonstrate their ability to select appropriate media resources for appropriate age groups.  They will be visited by a supervisor twice during their practical placement.


Completion of required written work

      Students are required to submit four 2,000 word papers under the following headings

Module 1 Adolescent development, psychology and culture

  1. "Adolescence is a wonderful period of life”

    Do you agree?

    How would you in your role as a youth minister help an adolescent cope well with the challenges of adolescence

    Note: Students will be expected to answer this question drawing on their personal views and informed by reviewing the relevant literature in this area and referring to the contribution of developmental theorists such as Erick Erickson, Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg


    Discuss the challenges and opportunities for religious faith among the rising generations in contemporary culture.


    Module 2 Applied skills in youth ministry


    The importance of effective classroom management strategies for youth ministry facilitation


    What are the advantages of using a facilitative approach over traditional methods when organising youth retreats?


    Module 3 (2 essays) Approaches to theology, scripture and reflective practice


    1. Theological Reflection

    Reflecting on Significant Learning Experiences

    The instructions are:

    i. Choose a significant personal event in your life and write a reflection on the experience describing what happened, your understanding of the event and what you have learned from it. Write a theological reflection where you interpret the event in the light of your faith and cultural tradition.

    ii. Choose a pastoral experience which had significant learning for you (the more recent the better). Describe the experience and reflect on what was happening for you and others. Write a theological reflection ion on the event describing how it contributed to your understanding of ministry and your sense of call.

    iii. Write a short conclusion describing your experience of writing this assignment and the learning that emerged for you.


    2 Images of God

    Reflecting on Significant Learning Experiences

    (i) What have I come to know of God for myself – that is by conviction, in an experiential way and how does this experience shape my approach to life and the lives of others?

    (ii) Where or how am I energised/inspired/hope-filled in my efforts to respond to God’s call as a disciple of Christ?

    (iii) Where or how am I challenged in my efforts to respond to God’s call as a disciple of Christ?


    Write a reflective account (500 words per topic) on four of the following topics, outlining the implications for ministry with young people

    A) Reflective practice and theological reflection

    B) Understanding the sacraments and rites of initiation

    C) How our images of God affect our retreat facilitation

    D) The central role of Jesus in Applied youth ministry

    E) The Universe story, ecological awareness and responsibilities.