Life Teen program- you're experiences, thoughts

Hello one and all. I am on a committee in our parish that is considering using the Life Teen curriculum for our youth group. Do any of you have any experience with this program? BTW, we are not going to do the masses, just the curriculum.

Thank you in advance for your comments.


The Edge is the Jr High program.

This fall will be our Parish’s 4th year with The Edge. It is a good Jr High program, the kids and parents like it. It works if you have high-schoolers to be the core team leaders.

LifeNight (the program that you use with teens when you don’t do the Mass) - it works best if you have a good sized team of volunteers who are College age, mixed in with the adults.

It is very “fluffy”, there is a skit and games each week, a talk and small group sharing. Our teens were not excited, found it silly, we dropped it last year and went to a Scriptural Apologetics plan. What might be unique for us, we have no Catholic High School. Our teens are all in public school in the Bible belt - they are defending the faith every day and need to be armed with knowledge. YMMV

My teenage daughter was telling me about LifeTeen. I was telling her that I had heard that Life Teen was controversial a few years back. I recall hearing that the Mass had some questionable liturgical practices but that Life Teen addressed those issues.She is very involved in our parish’s youth program which does not follow Life Teen, although my daughter tells me the “youth minister” likes the Life Teen Program. A religious order in our region runs a youth program which supplements local Catholic parishes’ youth programs–much like what “Life Teen” provides parishes that use it. My understanding is that Life Teen provides a structure (ideas, activities, events, training) for a parish’s youth program.

My daughter has become very strongly Catholic, especially since being involved in the youth group, and visits the Life Teen website frequently. She often tells me about things she learns from visiting there. She also changed my desktop screen to a picture of the Vatican (St. Peter’s Basilica) inscribed “Home Sweet Rome”–that she downloaded from (How can I get annoyed with a kid who changed my desktop screen without my permission–when it is the Vatican!) I would suggest that you check out the LifeTeen website and google LifeTeen. Let us know what you learn.

Im in my 20s and was just old enough to avoid Life Teen but my brothers took part and now they dont go to church. Im not saying LT drove them away but it doesnt seem to have helped educate and keep them in either. Teens really want to know and be able to defend their faith against attacks by classmates , ok I certainly did, so look at programs that put more emphasis on knowing the basics. How do you keep teens and young adults going to church? Educate them! Most stop going because they have no clue about basic Catholic teachings like original sin, the real presence, what the mass really is and so on. Instead of them putting on little skits make them participate in the Sunday choir. Yes CHOIR not band bands do not belong in church and dont keep young people in church. The boys dont want to be in the choir? Fine they can altar serve. Get them to help out at a local soup kitchen or something along those lines instead of fellowship through bowling. I could go on but please look at other programs besides LT.

Hey everyone. I need some help researching here. I’m trying to avoid opinions. I did a lot of google searching and I want to make sure I’m not missing something. If you would please direct me to any info from the USCCB and even the Vatican about anything with the youth ministry called Life Teen and/or the Life Teen “mass” I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

Google “Dale Fushek”, the priest co-founder of LifeTeen, and you will find that he has been dismissed from the clerical state for sex abuse.

regardless of what happened to the founder
here is the search result for past threads on this topic
wear a hard hat

I’m sure there is a better source than a news article, but basically the way Life Teen mandated that their Masses be orchestrated included various, and serious, liturgical abuses, and the most extreme of these were strongly repudiated. (such as changing the “Ite Missa Est” and having teens circle the altar… in the sanctuary… during the consecration.)

It is quite relevant what happened to the founder. He created an experiment with the Mass that pushed the limits of what is allowed, and this major part of himself contributed, as all of our past experiences do, to his EXCOMMUNICATION and founding of a non-denom Protestant church. And while we cannot say to what extent his Life Teen ideology contributed to the abuse and harrassment, it is definitely worth mentioning.

Yes. Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix suspended Fushek in 2004 on account of sex abuse allegations. In 2005, Fushek, Fr. Mark Lehman (who later served 10 years in prison after pleading no contest to attempted sex abuse) and the lay co-founder of LifeTeen, Phil Baniewicz, were named as defendants in a civil action by a man who alleged that the three of them sexually abused him at Fushek’s parish; the suit later settled. The same year, Fushek and Baniewicz resigned from LifeTeen, and Fushek was indicted on several misdemeanor counts arising from allegations of sexual contact with young boys. In 2008, Fushek was excommunicated (along with another priest) for continuing to participate in public ministry and holding “non-denominational” services in spite of his suspension and in spite of a cease-and-desist order from his bishop. And then in January of this year, the Pope dismissed Fushek from the clerical state. Here is a link to the official announcement by the Diocese of Phoenix.

It is true that LifeTeen has well-intentioned people associated with it, and that it explicitly dissociates itself from Fushek and protests its loyalty to the Magisterium. But the corruption of LifeTeen’s founders should raise red flags about the movement, just as the corruption of Fr. Maciel does and should about the Legion of Christ, which also has well-intentioned members.

The Lifeteen program is an amazing program. I didn’t go through the lifeteen program but my friends who did were much stronger in their faith in high school then I was. I would have gotten a lot more out of that then the classes which I had that didn’t teach anything. The only bad thing is the mass but you said you won’t be doing a mass. I would definitely try and get kids in the group to start a life night where they can play praise and worship music and use it as a time for fellowship. Also, have some apologetics as it’s much needed in this day and age.

God bless

the Life Teen Masses were brought into compliance with liturgical norms over 5 years ago, get up to date please
and any way the Masses are only part of the program, and the abuses could not have happened without the pastor’s permission, so good pastor, good lifeteen program and Mass is the usual rule. Also Fushek has not been involved in LT for over 5 years.

Life Teen is best used as a resource, rather than a program. Some of what they provide is excellent, and some of it, as another poster said is “fluffy” and will likely just turn kids off because it’s hokey. Most of the youth ministers I know use a portion of Life Teen’s programs and resources, but only use them as a part of their overall ministry model.

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