Makenzie Conner
Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Minstry
 (616) 935-8739
Email Makenzie


A high school leadership team who are well formed disciples of Christ who “inspire every heart to know, love and serve Jesus Christ”, especially middle school students and peers.

Patron Saints

St. Peter the Apostle & Blessed Carlos Acutis

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Matthew 28:18-20

What is a Pier Minister?

A Pier Minister is an active practicing Catholic high school student willing to serve as a disciple of Christ to middle school students and peers while upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church and good morals. This person serves middle school students as a strong leader role model through authentic relationships. A Pier Minister strives to work and uphold the characteristics of a Pier Minister as listed below, knowing that we all are fallen and broken but seeking to live a fearless life of holiness.

Characteristics of a Pier Minster

  • Willingness to serve
  • Loves to share the Gospel with others
  • Kind and compassionate to all people
  • Welcoming and inclusive of all
  • Strong prayer life and personal relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Working towards Sainthood
  • Humble in leadership
  • Able to work well with others on the team
  • Able to be professional and work well with adults and peers
  • Living a chaste and holy life

The Pier Minister’s Role in Middle School Ministry

  • Welcome Students as they arrive
    • 1 or 2 Pier Ministers in this role
  • Interact with students or play games as they are arriving and during free time
    • This could be one on one or running a large group game
  • Help to lead games, prayers and activities as needed for that night
    • All of this will be planned with the adults when you arrive for the night
  • Lead small groups
    • Using the training provided at the meetings
  • Serve where you are needed and asked
  • Praying for the students you are serving
  • Helping with the retreats as needed and planned for the year
  • Being a well behaved example at the programs or retreats you attend
  • Pier Ministry is NOT
    • Only there to set up or clean up
    • To just be a participant of Middle School
    • To just all hang out together as Pier Ministers at Middle School
    • To be there to gossip or just be on your phone

The Goal

Pier Ministry is here to help a Pier Minster form valuable leadership skills, ministry skills and to help the individual student grow in discipleship. Pier Ministry is not a group to just serve but also to learn and grow in faith together. The group works together as a team to serve the middle school ministry and parish of St. Patrick – St. Anthony Parish.

“Why should I be in Pier Ministry?”

On November 20th 2019 in a video message to those keeping vigil at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, Pope Francis encouraged young people to “keep our hearts open to God, since we receive our strength from him, and we have to keep journeying, because in life one can never stand still.” He also called the young people to:

“I offer you these two pieces of advice.  Never stay down, immediately get up; let someone help you to get up.  That’s the first thing.  The second thing is: Don’t spend your life sitting on a couch! Live your life, build your life, do it, keep moving forward!  Keep advancing on the journey, get involved and you find extraordinary happiness. I can assure you of that.”

Pope Francis has called young people to live a life of holiness as we journey towards sainthood. Part of that is learning how to live our daily life Christ-like. Christ came to save us through the salvation on the cross but he could not have accomplished it without his disciples. He started his ministry alone and slowly asked others to follow him. In doing so they changed the way that they lived their lives. Everything became centered on Christ.

Christ asks us each personally to be a disciple of Him. When we choose to intentionally follow Christ, typically through prayer, discernment and an encounter of Christ it is then that the compass of our lives point towards Christ. He called the disciples from the life they were living, fishermen and tax collectors, from all walks of life to now walk with Him. They made an extraordinary change to how they were living their lives. It wasn’t just something they did but it was how they were living in the everyday world that made the difference.

To be a Pier Minister is a commitment to serve God, the Church, and the people, grow in leadership skills that will carry you the rest of your life, grow in faith and holiness, you don’t “have to have it all together” right now to be a Pier Minister, learn how the faith impacts your daily lifeIf you are looking to go deeper in your faith, to be surrounded by others striving for sainthood who are your own age the Pier Ministry team could be the place for you. This is more than just helping out with middle school ministry, this is becoming a disciple, a follower of Christ that radically changes the way you live. As a disciple you are then there to encourage, serve, welcome and disciple the middle school students. As you know with the world around us today, it is so important to have an example to look up to.

Let me introduce you to Blessed Carlos Acutis. Carlos grew up in Italy he wore jeans and Nikes, and loved to play videogames with friends. He also had an immense love for God. His parents were not religiously devout, they hardly attended Mass. However he had a love for the Rosary and the Eucharist. He went to Mass as often as he could, making holy hours before or after Mass. He would go to confession weekly and always was asking his parents to take him on pilgrimages to visit places of the saints or the sites of Euchraistic miracles. Due to his deep witness of faith his mom had a conversion of her own. His parents never dragged him to Mass, it was actually the other way around! He was known by his friends at school to always defend kids who were being picked on. He loved to work with technology and built a website to catalog Eucharistic miracles that is still active today. He is known for saying “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” Carlos died very young at the age of 15 from leukemia. He would often offer his sufferings “to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.” This soon to be saint didn’t live centuries ago. He was born on May 3, 1991 and passed away on October 12th, 2006. He wore jeans, he played on a PS2 and is often depicted in casual attire and wearing sunglasses. Carlos was like any teenager you might run into today, but there was a clear difference, he loved the Lord and strived to live his daily life as a disciple.

You still may be thinking why should I be a pier minister. I am not one of the disciples Jesus called or like Carlos. Those are lies by the Devil himself, everyone is called to follow Christ, knowing that we are all broken and in need of a Savior. Take time in prayer to consider where God is calling you to serve, and I can tell you one thing, sitting on the couch isn’t where he is calling you. Pier Ministry may just be where he is calling you to step off that boat, trust in Him and answer His calling to discipleship.

Time Commitment

A Pier Minister is asked to serve on a rotating schedule between 5th-8th grade ministry weekly up to 2 nights a month. This schedule will be released at the October Meeting once all applications are in. If there is a day Monday or Wednesday that does not work for you, please make that knowing your application under the question about time commitment.  They are also committed to attending high school ministry regularly as well as weekly Mass. There is one fall retreat day followed by a Mass of Commissiong to attend. There is one Spring Discipleship Day. All Pier Ministers are encouraged to attend Young Apostles and Shine Youth Rally to serve as high school leaders.

Pier Ministry Monthly Meetings are held at 5:30 PM on the first Sunday of each month. Each meeting will include dinner, prayer, team building, discipleship training and planning for the month ahead. These meetings will lead right into the High School Ministry on Sunday nights.

When a Pier Minister is assigned to a night to serve the 5th and 6th or 7th and 8th grade groups they are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to the session to meet with adults to go over the plans for the night. Pier Ministers are to be a welcoming presence to middle school students. Pier ministers are then to help facility any games or activities for that night as well as lead the small groups.

Pier Ministers are also asked to help with retreats for middle school students and the possibility of other events. This may also include parish activities when the help needed aligns with the purpose and goals of Pier Ministry.

As always there will be occasional opportunities to have fun as a team, support each other in life, sports, the arts or big accomplishments.