By Joseph Younes
Shortly after he was elected to the See of Peter in March 2013, Pope Francis Tweeted: “Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!”
In that spirit and in a bid to increase the involvement of Catholic youth in the life of the Church, the Archdiocese of Perth with Catholic Youth Ministry Perth embarked on a review process to look at the key challenges facing Catholic youth in Perth.
This review, which concluded in April 2023, also shone a light on the limited participation in the Church of young people. The outcome of that review was a mandate from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Archbishop of Perth that came into effect in May 2023 and is set to shape the ministry’s efforts for the next five years.
The review process identified five primary areas for improvement in Catholic youth engagement:
Faith Formation Programme: This initiative aims to grow and develop the faith of Catholic youth, providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to strengthen their relationship with God.
Online Platform for Faith Formation: Recognising the importance of technology in today’s world, the ministry plans to launch an online platform that hosts faith formation programs. This digital approach will make resources more accessible to young people.
Awards Scheme: To recognise the dedication and exceptional efforts of volunteers, the ministry will introduce an awards scheme. This will encourage more young individuals to actively participate in the Church’s activities.
Catholic Youth Council: The establishment of a Catholic Youth Council will provide a platform for young people to guide the mission and work of Catholic Youth Ministry. This inclusion ensures that their voices are heard and valued.
Youth Hubs: The creation of ‘youth hubs’ that will provide a place for young people to belong, connecting parishes, schools, tertiary institutions, and our church agencies together, to foster a sense of community and collaboration among young Catholics across the parishes. These hubs will serve as centres of activity and support for the youth.
Catholic Youth Ministry Director Adam Phillips expressed his enthusiasm for the new mandate.
“We have an exciting new mandate of where we want to go and what we want to achieve in the next five years. It’s not an easy thing to do and it’s a big undertaking,” Mr Phillips said.
One of the key factors highlighted during the review was the need to provide a place for young people to belong in our Church.
“Working with our Church culture is key to ensuring the success of this mandate. Ensuring that we all have the same vision, which is to bring people closer to Christ.”
Reflecting on his own aspirations for young people in the Church, Mr Phillips added, “My prayer is that there is a place for young people in the Church and to connect with Christ and engage with the Sacraments.”
He stressed the importance of creating an environment where young individuals feel valued, heard, and embraced by the Church community.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe expressed his gratitude to all the stakeholders who contributed to the review process. “I thank God for the various talents we have and can draw upon that made this review process and its mandate possible. I offer my prayers for the success of the work of Catholic Youth Ministry and for the youth that they will minister to.”
With these five key initiatives in mind, the revamped Catholic Youth Ministry team, now consisting of seven dedicated individuals, is ready to embark on a transformative journey. Their mission is to bridge the gap between the Church and young Catholics, creating an inclusive and vibrant space for them to grow in faith and engage with the Church community.
As the Archdiocese of Perth embraces this new mandate, the hope is that it will not only revitalise Catholic youth involvement but also strengthen the bonds of faith and community within the Church. Read: https://cym.com.au/mandate.html