Young Christian Workers reap benefits from WYD

15 Jan 2009

By The Record

By Anthony Barich
WORLD Youth Day Sydney 2008 has spawned unprecedented growth in the Australian Young Christian Workers.
AYCW’s new national secretary, Perth-based Marie Raheb, told The Record that pre- and post-WYD formation resources distributed to parishes and schools nationally as well as intensive spiritual formation within the AYCW has sparked interest in dioceses where the group previously had no presence.
The AYCW has had inquiries from Port Pirie and Tasmania following their national distribution.
It contains all the organisation’s basic methodology and reviews of scriptural, social and personal significance for the AYCW movement.
There has also been further interest shown in Perth, Canberra and Adelaide, where the AYCW already exists. “We’ve been able to increase our sphere of influence and widen our targets on a national and local level; and by joining forces with diocesan agencies like the Catholic Youth Ministries in Perth by promoting each other’s events, our databases have also increased significantly,” Miss Raheb said.
She said this growth has been triggered by the resources – which also benefit non-members – as they deal with global, social and personal issues and urge people not to just do good works but to have them rooted in the Gospel and to constantly review and renew their faith life on which their actions are based. Miss Raheb said that these enquiries are not necessarily about starting a new AYCW group, but simply about animating youth and how to take advantage of the spiritual enthusiasm generated by WYD by giving them an outlet to put their faith into action, as well as offering advice for continued spiritual and human formation.
On a local level, Miss Raheb and her predecessor Sara Kane recently ran workshops for AYCW with representatives from the Redemptorist Monastary and Claremont and Subiaco parishes after they expressed interest in youth formation.
She said that while AYCW’s figures cannot presently be gauged as it is currently in the process of conducting a census of its national membership, there is clearly stronger interest in the social justice organisation since WYD.
There has also been stronger emphasis by the organisation on spiritual formation for members to get maximum benefits from WYD in the short and long-term.
“After WYD, feedback from the spiritual formation we did pre-WYD told us that members were able to articulate their faith more as they knew more about it, were able to discuss issues in light of faith with like-minded people, and are looking at Gospel passages in a new light,” she said.
“The spiritual formation helped to centre us, even amidst the hype of WYD, to remind us of the reason why we went over.”
In addition to the pre- and post-WYD resources, the AYCW launched at their National Council in Melbourne last month a further national resource kit at their national council in focusing on finding meaning in one’s work by having it making a difference in the context of the Gospel. d
To access AYCW’s resource kit, contact Anne-Marie El Dick on