I think my philosophy can be summed up by G.K. Chesterton’s famous quote, ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.’ – Amanda George
Archdiocese names coordinator of youth and young adult ministry
March 21st, 2017
By Valerie Schmalz
Amanda George has been named coordinator of youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Father Charles Puthota, director of pastoral ministry, announced March 10. Catholic San Francisco asked George to explain a bit about her position, a new one in the archdiocese because it combines both roles, and also to share a bit about her background and philosophy.
CSF: What is your job exactly and what are its responsibilities?
George: I’m the coordinator of youth and young adult ministry for the archdiocese, supporting the youth and young adult communities of the archdiocese, working to create an environment where they are valued and invited, providing leadership formation, helping them discern their mission in the community and the world, and inviting them into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. With God’s grace, I’ll be working closely with parish youth ministers, pastors and nearby diocesan directors to accomplish these goals.
CSF: What do you see as your top two to three priorities in reaching youth and young adults?
George: My top priorities are: (a) Supporting parishes in their youth and young adult ministry efforts (ministry resources, leadership recruiting, training, best practices, etc.); and (b) offering archdiocesan-wide opportunities for youth and young adults to grow in our love of God, understand our faith, and foster deep Catholic identity and community through retreats, volunteering, conferences, pilgrimages and mission trips.
CSF: What do you think will be the top challenges?
George: Top challenge: Determining the best ways to reach non-practicing youth and young adult Catholics and bring them back to the faith.
CSF: What is your background and how did you hear about the job?
George: I’m a parishioner at Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park. I have a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University in business administration. My professional background is in operations, IT, and most recently Web development. In my personal time, I’ve done youth ministry with St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Palo Alto, St. Joseph in Cupertino, and at the Echoes of Worth teen retreat in 2015 and 2016. In the past I’ve been on the leadership team of Goretti Group (a Bay Area chastity group). Currently I’m the volunteer director of finance and technology for Young Catholic Professionals Silicon Valley and I serve as volunteer president and chairman of Vintage Affaire, the charity wine auction benefiting Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The Holy Spirit led me to this role through a very circuitous route, and I think it’s fair to say the job found me, rather than I found it. Through some Ignatian discernment I concluded that God was inviting me to leave the Web development job that I enjoyed and enter into full-time ministry working for the church.
CSF: What is your philosophy – and how does it inform your life and work?
George: I think my philosophy can be summed up by G.K. Chesterton’s famous quote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Before I was a practicing Catholic I didn’t really know what the Catholic Church taught, and I certainly didn’t know why she taught certain things, so it was easy for me to dismiss the more challenging aspects of our faith as being out of touch. Through the gift of intense suffering and the prayers of my mom Maureen George and aunt Helen Thompson, I found my way back to the sacraments, especially confession, and to amazing Catholic resources like Catholic radio, Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs, Chastity Project, and Catholic Answers. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn, and the more I understood that the church had been right all along! I was on fire and couldn’t get enough, and I wanted to share what I was learning with others. The beautiful truth is there for those who are willing to seek it, and we’re all called to be seekers of truth.
The way I live my life is totally different now, with many new challenges, but I’m happier and more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. I can see God’s hand in everything now, even in rocky times, and trust that if I follow him he’ll lead me somewhere immensely more beautiful than I could have planned myself.
Contact Amanda George, email@example.com or (415) 614-5595.
From March 23, 2017 issue of Catholic San Francisco.