Staff Member: Mike James
Mike graduated from the College of St. Francis in Joliet , Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism/Communications. He then went on to Loyola University of Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies at the Center for Youth Ministry Development, where he earned his Youth Ministry Certifications. He began as a Youth Minister at St. Paul the Apostle and the Cathedral of St. Raymond near Chicago and led a thriving Youth Ministry program involving hundreds of teens each week, which continues today at the Church of the Nativity, where the Youth Ministry Program attracts teens from Oceanside to La Jolla and 17 different high schools.
Mike came to Church of the Nativity in 1995 and immediately revitalized the Youth Ministry Program and the Confirmation Program. He has graduated approximately 1000 teens from the Youth Ministry Program and prepared over 500 teens for Confirmation and soon will be on his 2nd generation, teaching the children of the first participants in the program. These 32 years of experience give him a very large database of teen experience as a test case for what models of Youth Ministry work long term to keep teens engaged in the church as they transform into engaged adult Catholics and what models of Youth Ministry are fads that don’t work.
From 1996-2002 he was appointed to Bishop Brom’s Commission on Youth and Young Adult Ministry, which re-wrote the Diocesan Handbook Guidelines for Youth Ministry that are still in place in the Diocese of San Diego. The Commission also developed the framework for Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese and revised the training curriculum and Certification process for Youth Ministers.
Mike was also chosen to represent San Diego at the National Catholic Youth Congress to Stand Against Violence at the National Catholic Federation for Youth Ministry Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His career accolades include the Matthew 25 award for service from the Diocese of San Diego, Carlsbad Christmas Bureau Service Award, a Memorial Brick from the East County Transitional Living Center for his work with the homeless, and press coverage from his work with military veterans from Never Leave One Behind.
He is a well-respected leader among his peers in the Youth Ministry field and has mentored several teens in their vocations in Youth Ministry.
Through his work in the R.C.I.A., he has helped hundreds of adults come into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Initiation in the past 25 years.