The Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA) has been in existence at the Cathedral since October 8, 1963. This vibrant ministry of the Cathedral seeks to bring together young people in grades 7-12. Our GOYA usually meets on the first Friday of every month beginning in September, and ending in June. Each year, we are lead by officers who are elected by the general membership of our chapter. We also rely heavily on the support and dedication of our parents and other members of the community who serve as advisers. It is our goal to assist these young people in developing their spiritual life and faith in Jesus Christ. Activities include retreats, such as trips to Holy Cross Seminary, St. Basil’s Academy, New York City and other places, as well as participating in parish sponsored basketball tournaments, hosting the annual Fall Festival, and annual Mother’s Day coffee hour.
What is GOYA?
The mission of Greek Orthodox Youth of America, or GOYA, is to strengthen the relationship of young Orthodox Christians with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. GOYA ministers to teenagers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in junior high or high school (7th to 12th grades). By developing a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and becoming active sacramental members of the living Church, our young people will be equipped with tools necessary to assist them in their journey toward salvation.
Belonging to GOYA depends solely on being an Orthodox Christian. Non-Orthodox teenagers who wish to participate in the ministry are welcomed. They are encouraged to participate in the programs but must understand and accept that the Sacraments are only for baptized and/or chrismated members of the Orthodox Church. There have been many instances of entire families converting to Orthodox because of their young person’s involvement in GOYA ministry.
Our GOYA Ministry integrates the following elements in its programming: worship, fellowship, service and witness.
GOYA teenagers experience WORSHIP by
~ Actively participating in private and corporate prayer
~ Actively participating in the Divine Services and Sacraments of the Church (not only Liturgy, but the entire cycle of worship)
~ Becoming familiar with different services of the Church and their role in the service (Paraklesis, Vespers, etc.)
~ Praying for those in need.
~ Becoming familiar with prayers for morning, evening and different occasions especially the book of Psalms
~ Observing the Church calendar and prescribed Feasts and Fasts
~ Learning hymns of the Church and using them in prayer
~ Offering readings, chanting or participating in the choir
~ Serving as an Acolyte (Altar Boy)
~ Reading the Bible and other religious writings.
GOYA teenagers experience FELLOWSHIP by
~ Participating in Church sponsored camps and retreat programs.
~ Participating in Church sponsored athletic programs, dances, etc.
~ Participating in Inter-Orthodox activities
~ Watching films, videos, and multimedia presentations that can spark discussion
~ Participating in day or overnight outings
~ Volunteering either at the parish or in the local community
~ Participating in group activities on various topics, books, movies, music, etc.
~ Attending, church, GOYA Ministry gatherings, and other church related activities.
GOYA teenagers experience SERVICE by
~ Offering their personal stewardship-giving of time, talent, and treasure-to both the church and the local community of charities
~ Participating in work projects to beautify and maintain the parish or local community
~ Outreach to the elderly, the sick, the shut-ins, etc.
~ Supporting and participating in missions abroad and at home
~ Supporting Archdiocesan, Metropolitan, and Parish ministries such as Saint Basil Academy, Philoptochos, Hellenic College/Holy Cross, etc.
~ Supporting International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
~ Volunteering for a local soup kitchen or other community charities
~ Working with younger ministry groups in the parish or children in the local community.
GOYA teenagers experience WITNESS by
~ Learning about Christ’s teachings and living them
~ Learning about the Saints’ great witness to the faith and imitating their example
~ Finding answers to questions they, or others, have about the faith
~ Making newcomers feel welcome
~ Inviting a non-Orthodox friend to a Church service or event
~ Making the sign of the Cross before every meal-no matter where they are
~ Supporting and participating in mission work abroad and locally
~ Teaching children younger than them about the faith
~ Maintaining Christian integrity in all areas of their lives
~ Letting Christ’s love shine in all they do
For Information on becoming a member of GOYA and in terms of upcoming events contact GOYA Fr. Dean Moralis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-727-1831.