The Bishops of Australia invited Catholics across Australia to celebrate a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018.
The Year of Youth celebrates ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney in 2008 with half a million participants from across the globe. Many agree that this significant milestone deserves recognition as the catalyst for growth of youth ministry in Australia. Some suggest that no other World Youth Day host country is celebrating this transformation as our local church is.
The Year of Youth has the theme, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups and dioceses.
This 12-month period will join a journey of dialogue and discernment as the Church in Australia for the next Synod of Bishops, announced recently by Pope Francis to be held in Rome October 2018.
To celebrate such a critical year in the life of the young Church, Catholic Youth Parramatta has made some significant choices to improve, broaden and grow our ministry with young people going into the future.
- Appointment of a Local Engagement Leader, Qwayne Guevara, in the CYP Team
- Launch of ‘Elements’, a monthly online resource for youth ministers
- Re-development of CYP website – catholicyouthparramatta.org
- Development and nurturing of Faith in Action Teams of young teachers in each of our Catholic secondary schools
- Appointment of over 25 Deanery Youth Ministry Ambassadors for grass-roots collaboration and communication across parishes in the five regions
- Launch of LIFTED Leaders 2018, an inspirational day of system-wide formation for Year 12 school leaders with Bishop Vincent and special guest Fr Rob Galea
- Significant investment in social media and online channels
- Parra-Matters! Our monthly, roaming formation for youth ministry will continue to provide quality input and discussion around key youth ministry goals
- LIFTED events continues growing with 100 attending the annual retreat, 300 at the Sports Day, and a record 1,000 to LIFTED Live in the Forecourt
- Our journey of up to 200 young people to World Youth Day in Panama will also occupy a significant portion of 2018 as we prepare our pilgrims for this Marian journey with Pope Francis
- After a wonderful three-year term we thank the many outgoing Youth Council members and welcome new members
In exciting news for Catholic Youth Parramatta, we will host the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention in September at the Rooty Hill RSL on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Office for Youth. ACYMC is expected to gather over 500 attendees from across Australia, who minister with young people in a variety of settings including parishes, schools, religious orders, communities, diocese, universities and church organisations. The event will share learnings from the Year of Youth in 2018 and prepare a future pathway for the diverse and growing needs of Catholic youth ministry in Australia. ACYMC will include elements of formation, retreat and a unique forum in which youth ministers can contribute to future national initiatives and support. The convention program and speakers will be announced in early 2018.
This article first appeared in the December 2017 print edition of Catholic Outlook.
At the request of Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Catholic Outlook was printed in December 2017 to connect the Diocese and showcase the good works across the Diocese’s many agencies and ministries.