Experts & Expertise

Search experts

Which researcher or scientist are you looking for?

Also search for support staff

Search expertise

In which field are you looking for a researcher or scientist?

Your photograph

S.M.M. (Stephie) The-Mertens MSc

PhD Student 

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology
Department of Practical Theology and Religious Studies


Many lay people nowadays are connecting themselves with the spiritualties of the Catholic Church through New Ecclesial Movements (NEMs) or movements associated with established religious orders and institutes. Several theologians have reflected on these movements, pointing to their significance as well the issues they raise. One observation frequently made is their universal attractiveness to young people. This goes for Dutch young people as well. Though often having disappeared from the parish pews and therefore difficult to reach for youth ministers and volunteers, they are found in the new ecclesial movements. This phenomenon propels further inquiry.

How do New Ecclesial Movements practice youth ministry? Who are the young people that are coming? What are they looking for and experiencing?

My project involves descriptive-qualitative research regarding the youth ministry of the Dutch branches of three New Ecclesial Movements. I will focus on each movement?s youth ministry organization and content: activities, presence of relational ministry, spiritual direction and/or pastoral care, and theological concepts or catechesis -- both from the viewpoints of the people organizing it and the young people participating in it. I will answer my research questions by exploring written resources, conducting in-depth interviews, and making participant-observations.

 In order to understand and reflect on the theological meaning of New Ecclesial Movements? youth ministry, it is important to place my research in the theoretical context of the Theology of Youth and Youth Ministry. Its scientific study is a new phenomenon, advanced by organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry, and very relevant for the future of the Catholic Church.

Most recent publications

Click here for the list of publications in the Research Portal

Last amended: 11 October 2018