My name is West Giffin, and I couldn’t be more excited to begin serving the youth of this awesome Diocese. A little about myself: I am married to my wonderful bride and co-worker in the vineyard, Lauren Giffin. Lauren and I are happily celebrating the recent birth of our first child, Mason West. He just made 5 months old and has been quite the little ball of energy and joy, and we can’t help but show him off wherever we go. I have worked in ministry for about 5 years now serving in various volunteer roles however for the past 3 years I have served as Youth Minister for Most Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Baton Rouge. It was an honor to be able to serve the young people of MBS, a place where my roots go very deep into the soil since MBS was where I was baptized (many moons ago).
My call to working in ministry is one that extends back into junior high and high school. I was an active participant in youth groups at St. George and St. Patrick Churches in Baton Rouge and it was in this participation in ministry where I fell in love with Christ and felt that initial deeper call to serve him. Having been raised Catholic my whole life, falling in love with Christ was something that was above and beyond meeting my Sunday mass and Tuesday PSR “check-boxes.” It was a love that developed among community and encounter. Encountering Jesus in Adoration and just being in his presence for long extended periods of time coupled with being around others who appreciated that same connection and relationship helped forge my own relationship with Christ in a real and unique way. In turn, it enhanced my experience of Christ in the Sacred Liturgy of the Mass and gave me the perspective I needed to really appreciate the mass as the true source, summit, and celebration at the table of our Lord. As with all relationships, my road to seeking that deeper intimacy with Christ was not always perfect nor was always clear what I was to do but as is with all vocation, God slowly turned this flame of passion for him into curiosity and wonder and desire to know more. This desire has lead me to Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology where I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Leadership. I cannot say enough about the genius that is Notre Dame Seminary and the wonderful team they have leading their Lay Ecclesial Ministry programs. These wonderful experiences and small “yeses” have all led me to this wonderful opportunity that I am now undertaking. I know without a doubt that every yes to the will and plan of our Lord, no matter how trivial or small it may have seemed, has led me here and I cannot wait for the many yeses that still await.
This vocation has certainly been one that is constantly unfolding itself into a deeper and more beautiful sense of purpose and mission and I know that there is much more beauty still ahead.
West Giffin, Youth Ministry Project Coordinator
“further up and further in…” -C.S. Lewis