Being Disciples and Making Disciples of Children and Young Adults

Children’s Formation

1st-5th Grade

Religious Education is our Children’s Faith Formation for students in 1st-5th grades and prepares students for a relationship with Christ. Each year builds upon the last as children learn to walk with Jesus.

What To Expect

Religious Education meets Tuesday afternoons. We offer two sessions: 4:30 pm-5:45 pm & 6:30 pm-7:45 pm. Classes begin in September and end in April. The Sacrament of First Holy Communion is received in May of your child’s second year attending Religious Education (typically in 2nd grade). We welcome students at any grade level to receive the Sacraments. We offer unique opportunities for families to grow in faith including Family Faith Nights and age-appropriate service opportunities.

Saint James welcomes all learners and seeks to offer access to our faith to everyone. Open Doors provides faith formation for individuals and families with special needs. This includes adaptive programming and inclusion to prepare children in need of accommodations for the Sacraments.

Contact Bethany Larson or Theresa Storto to learn more and get connected.

Bethany Larson
Coordinator of Religious Education

Theresa Storto
Administrative Assistant
Evangelization and Formation
Direct  224-345-7213


6th-8th Grade

EDGE is our middle school youth ministry and confirmation preparation program. Over the course of three years, youth will be discipled by mentors and become equipped to become lifelong Catholics living out their faith as missionary disciples.


What to Expect

EDGE meets every Sunday during the school year.

EDGE Session
Parish Center | 3:00-4:30 PM
Youth will gather together in person each Sunday in the Parish Center to learn about their faith through engaging talks to help prepare them for Confirmation. The youth are assigned to a small group they remain with for the entire year. In these groups, youth are challenged to dive deeper into their Catholic faith and encouraged to grow as young disciples. EDGE kicks off Sunday, September 11th at 3PM.

The cost for the year is $210.

Encounter Nights
All youth (and their families) are encouraged to attend the parish-wide Encounter Night. This night, once a month consists of Adoration, an opportunity to go to Confession and a talk to help aid in prayer for the night. Dinner will also be provided to continue to foster community at St. James.

Contact Us

We understand life is an adventure and you might be reading this after EDGE has started. If this is the case, please reach out to Courtney Bernhardt (one of our Youth Ministers in charge of EDGE) and she will gladly work with you and your child so they can be adequately prepared to be Confirmed.

For additional questions regarding EDGE, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Courtney or Corey.

Courtney Bernhardt
Coordinator of Middle School Youth Ministry

Corey May
Coordinator of Middle School Youth Ministry

Life Teen

9th-12th Grade

Life Teen helps high school students become disciples through friendship, serving others, and in building their relationship with Jesus through prayer and the sacraments during weekly Life Nights. Teens will also have the opportunity to come together for service projects, social nights, and summer mission trips.

When does Life Teen meet?

Sunday night after 5 p.m. Mass
The Laramie Room (Church Basement)

What to Expect

Each Life Night will follow this typical format:

GATHER: Join for ice breakers, Jimmy Fallon-type games, and dinner.

PROCLAIM: 8-10 minute talk given by an adult relating some aspect of the faith to the teens and their lives.

BREAK: 40-50 minute small group time to digest and apply the theme of the night to their lives. Teens will have the opportunity to go deeper into the gospel message, dive into scripture with their group, and freely ask questions. These groups stay together for the entire year, allowing the students to grow together in Christ centered friendships.

SEND: After Break, the teens will come back together and do a form of prayer to close out the night (Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Praise and Worship, Intercessory Prayer etc.) The hope is at the end of a year, teens will have been introduced to at least 20 different ways to pray and will connect with one of these ways to pray to personalize their relationship with Jesus.

How can I register for Life Teen?

1. Register for Life Teen

Parishioners can register their children for Life Teen HERE!

2. Attend Life Teen

Life Teen meets on Sunday night after 5 p.m. Mass in The Laramie Room (Church Basement).

3. Grow in the Faith

Your teen will build friendships and grow in faith alongside their peers.

For more information on Life Teen please reach out to Christina Hudson and follow @stjameslt on Instagram to stay connected.

Christina Hudson
Director of Youth Ministry

Mission Trips

Local Mission Week: CHICAGO
June 18- 21

We don’t have to go far to serve those around us! Join St. James as we head into Chicago for the week to serve with Mission Our Lady of the Angels and St. Malachy Catholic School. Transportation will be provided to and from the city. Read on below for more details about our two sites.

Mission Our Lady of the Angels

Grades 10-12

Monday, July 18: 7:30am-1pm
Tuesday, July 19: 6:30am-1pm

Mission Our Lady of the Angels is located in Humboldt Park and serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in America. For this reason, the Franciscan Sisters have asked us to bring teens 16 and older. At Mission OLA, we will be working alongside the Sisters bringing in and sorting through food pantry donations and then distributing food to about 250 families.Find out more information about the Sisters and Mission Our Lady of the Angels here:

St. Malachy

Grades 8-12

Wednesday, July 20: 7:30am- 3pm
Thursday, July 21 : 7:30am-3pm

After a full week of service, we end the week at St. Malachy Catholic School! Most of the work our teens will be doing will be providing additional resources to the staff and students to help them prepare their school for the fall. In the past teens have cleaned, painted, ripped out carpeting, organized closets, designed bulletin boards and our personal favorite, hosted a cookout with the kids in the school complete with a bounce house, face painting, various activities and sports.

For any questions about local mission week this summer, feel free to reach out to Christina Hudson, Director of Youth Ministry ( | 224.345.7214).


Use the form below to register for Local Mission Week in Chicago!

Catholic Heart Workcamp: St. Croix
June 11- 18


Please pray for our teens on mission to St. Croix! 


For any questions about our away mission trip summer of 2023, feel free to reach out to Christina Hudson, Director of Youth Ministry ( | 224.345.7214).

Open Doors Ministry

Open Doors provides faith formation for individuals and families with special needs. This includes adaptive programming to prepare children with special needs for the Sacraments.

Registration for Open Doors is held each spring for the upcoming school year, and classes run September through May. To participate or volunteer, please contact Karon Jarosz.

Karen Jarosz

Vacation Bible School

Thank You For a Monumental VBS at St. James!


Parent Volunteering

We love to have parents involved in the formation of their children’s faith. To get connected with volunteer opportunities in our children’s ministries, please contact Theresa Storto.

Theresa Storto

Totus Tuus

St. James is glad to be hosting Totus Tuus again this summer for grades 1st through 12th.
Save the dates: July 24th-29th!

What is Totus Tuus?

Totus Tuus is a week-long, summer youth retreat for young people in 1st – 12th grade. Participants will grow in their faith through skits, games, songs, the celebration of the sacraments, and engaging, interactive teaching.
Hosted at 30 parishes, a Totus Tuus team of four college students and seminarians will inspire our young people with their energy and enthusiasm for the Catholic faith. They bring to our parish a zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and a missionary spirit. Their joy is contagious and will remind us that Jesus “came that we might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The Totus Tuus program is built upon five pillars: love for the Eucharist, Marian devotion, authentic catechesis, Christian vocations, and fun! Our hope is to deepen the relationship our young people have with the Lord Jesus, while showing them how exciting a lifetime adventure with the Lord can be!
A Totus Tuus promise: If you can convince your kids to come the first day, we promise you they’ll want to come back the next day!

Totally Yours

Totus Tuus is a Latin phrase meaning “Totally Yours”. It was the motto of the late, great Pope St. John Paul II. Taken originally from St. Louis de Montfort’s classic book, ‘True Devotion to Mary’, it signifies our desire to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ through the hands of our Blessed Mother Mary. It also expresses our effort to give all that we have to every young person we encounter.
Totus Tuus seeks to inspire in young people a true longing for holiness, a deep desire for daily conversion, and an openness to their vocation by challenging them to give themselves entirely to Jesus through Mary and by continually strengthening their lives of prayer in imitation of her.

Register for Totus Tuus