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Sep 1, 2021

Why Your Youth Group Isn’t Growing (According to Pope Francis)

The Ascension Team

Today we break down the ​​apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis, Christus Vivit, or “Christ is Alive”. This 9-part document addresses the Pope’s response to the 2018 synod on the topic of youth and young adults and can help youth group leaders grow their ministries.

It can be grouped into three parts:

  • Part 1 (ch 1-4) – Putting Christ at the Center
  • Part 2 (ch 5-7) – Applying a Christocentric Worldview to Youth Group
  • Part 3 (ch 8-9) – Discernment and Vocation

We each share our number one practical takeaway from the document, and discuss the need for youth ministers to be mentors, brothers, and teachers—not friends.  

Snippet of the Show

“Satan’s youth group is so much bigger than ours”


Dave’s Practical Takeaway

“The Church is young when she shows herself capable of constantly returning to her source.” –paragraph 35, Christus Vivit

Youth ministers don’t need to keep up on the latest trends, or be worried about being out of touch, they just need to return to the source, because that is what draws people in.

Gomer’s Practical Takeaway

Pope Francis talks about creating a place where the youth can feel at home, and this is so important to make them feel welcome, and keep them coming back.

Meet Your Hosts


Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past ten years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses, and Catholic campus ministries.

Michael is also the founder and creative director of, and the producer and cohost of a Catholic young adult podcast Catching Foxes, which discusses the collision of Faith and Culture.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and they have about 1,000 children and get about 3 hours of sleep a night, which is alright by him.


David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

Dave is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Amber and their five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.

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