As many wonder how to capitalise on World Youth Day a national gathering of youth ministries, leaders, sets out a vision for directing WYD momentum in Australia
The Catholic Bishops of Australia have approved a blueprint for youth ministry across the nation generated by a National Youth Leaders’ Gathering (NYLG).
The blueprint was drafted after three days of talks and small group interaction on 21 – 23 November, attended by over 330 people from dioceses, religious congregations, groups and movements throughout the country.
Approving the blueprint, the Bishops praised the post-WYD spirit of faith they said was evident at the Gathering and in the direction of the initiatives presented to them in the NYLG report.
The blueprint outlines three key areas for national co-ordination:
– Formation for Young People
– Support for Youth Ministry
– National Events;
The plan leaves room for each diocese, religious order, school, group or movement to implement their own specific initiatives.
Under Formation, young people identified Catechesis as a key area, saying that it should be “vibrant; use multi-media, be age-specific and developmentally appropriate; include Scripture, prayer and liturgy, Church teaching and Tradition, the Sacraments, Social Teaching, and include mentoring and leadership”.
They also called for a strategic plan for faith formation for schools and universities, a consolidated database of human and material resources, and avenues for empowerment of young people in leadership and ministry. The key areas identified under Support for Youth Ministry including the formation of a National Training Framework, a national website and national conditions of employment for Youth Ministry Workers.The young people also called for a new conversation on the nature of parishes and schools and their interrelationship.
A renewed focus on the support and promotion of Catholic identity also formed part of the blueprint, as well as the development of youth ministry traineeships.
The report from the NYLG suggested a National Day for Youth, incorporating many of the most popular World Youth Day elements. Other suggestions included a National Youth Ministry Conference and a Bi-Annual Youth Leaders’ Gathering.
Before drafting the blueprint, NYLG participants heard from Fr Tom Rosica who headed up Toronto’s WYD proceedings in 2002.Other speakers at the Gathering included Fr Michael Mason who outlined the findings of research into pilgrims’ experiences.
Young people also shared their experiences of WYD assessing the state of current youth ministry in Australia and, it is hoped in the devising of the blueprint, where it can go in the future.
Bishop Joseph Grech of Sandhurst, who, along with Bishop Eugene Hurley, spoke at the Gathering, described the event as “marvellous, just tremendous”.
“We shouldn’t give up on those not in the pews, not in our Catholic secondary schools and also those many young people who are pre-secondary,” the bishop said.
“We need to remember that we are preparing all our young people for all kinds of vocations, and also for eternity”.
After the gathering, Bishop Grech said the Bishops’ enthusiastic support of the blueprint was a reflection of their commitment to building on the fruits of World Youth Day.
“It is a sign of confidence in the young people of the Church and in the Holy Spirit. In hosting the National Youth Leaders Gathering we said we wanted to hear from our young people, to listen to their experiences of WYD and to learn from them where they discern that the Spirit is leading youth ministry in this country,” he said. “This blueprint will help to guide us as we move forward and we are confident that it will generate abundant blessings on the Church for very many years to come.” A National Youth Projects Co-ordinator will be employed by the ACBC in the near future to co-ordinate many of the recommendations in the blueprint.
WA makes its voice heard at National Gathering
The Archdiocese of Perth sent 21 people to the National Youth Leaders Gathering, entitled ‘Moving forward with Jesus,’ held in Parramatta from 21-23 November.
The West Australian contingent included Bishop Gerard Holohan from Bunbury, Debra Sayce from the Catholic Education Office, Anita Parker from Catholic Youth Ministry, four indigenous representatives from Broome diocese, two volunteers from Geraldton, and young people from various Perth parishes as well as several representatives from Religious communities.
The WS voice was led by Vicky Burrows of the Young Christian Students who was also master of ceremonies at the conference.
Sr Maria Mori OMSC, an Ursuline sister and teacher at Emmanuel Catholic College, assisted in a hypothetical panel discussion on ‘How to spend $2million donated to Youth Ministry’ and Tung Nguyen from Morley Parish gave a presentation on what youth ministry looks like in an Australian parish.
- Anita Parker