On World Youth Day, the day the international Church celebrates young people, Student leaders and parish youth ministry teams across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains received a special blessing and encouragement.
World Youth Day falls on the Feast of Christ the King, and the young leaders gathered to celebrate the event with Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, with an outdoor Mass at St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens.
“Today is a feast of great joy and hope,” Bishop Vincent said in his opening remarks.
“We pray for our Year 12 leaders and our youth leaders in their role of leadership, so that following the footsteps of Christ, the humble leader, the servant leader, they will affect the change and transformation that they would like to see.”
Bishop Vincent: young leaders called to bring Kingdom to our communities
During his Homily, Bishop Vincent called on the young leaders to accompany others and to support their parish communities.
“What we need more than ever is the witness of a Christian community, united in its effort to honour the dignity and worth of every human person, to serve the common good and live as one with God’s creation,” he said.
“During these challenging times, let us embody the inclusive Kingdom vision of Jesus – one that is rooted in justice, compassion, solidarity and service. Only by living that vision fully as the Body of Christ, can we become a lighthouse for the world.
“Let us renew our commitment to bring the Kingdom vision to birth in our parish communities and beyond.”
Bishop Vincent prays leaders be faithful servants
Following Mass, Bishop Vincent blessed the leaders, praying for their commitment and the gifts required to be witnesses to the faith in the new year.
“We as a community are especially grateful for their commitment and wish to express our gratitude for their presence to our youth.
“We give thanks for these who minister to the youth in our diocese. You have chosen each one to honourably hand down the stories and traditions of our Catholic faith.
“May they witness to our young people by sharing their own joys, struggles and stories of encounters with you,” he said.
In her words of thanks at the end of Mass, Qwayne Guevara, Manager – Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP), thanked the student leaders and youth leaders for their “massive ‘yes’” to Christ.
The commissioning of the youth leaders comes at the conclusion of CYP’s Duc in Altum program – a pathway for leadership in youth ministry that provides opportunities for accompaniment and encounter over 12 months.
The commissioning of the student leaders marks the beginning of the LIFTED Leaders formation program, run in collaboration with CYP and the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Mission Team.
View images from the CYP Local World Youth Day celebrations and Leaders Commissioning here and below: