Over 400 delegates involved in Catholic youth ministry will gather in Western Sydney today for the start of the three-day Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Conference (ACYMC).
ACYMC is an important initiative of the Catholic Church in Australia aimed at providing Catholic formation, training and education to those ministering to young people.
The delegates hail from a variety of Catholic organisations including social services, parishes, schools, religious orders, communities, universities and organisations.
They will explore the call of Pope Francis to ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy’ and going out to the peripheries to support young people in finding their place in the world.
Co-hosting the convention with the Australian Catholic Bishops Office for Youth (ACBCOY) is Bishop Vincent Long and the Diocese of Parramatta.
Bishop Vincent said the convention provides a “unique opportunity” to address the key issues that are affecting young people today.
“Hosting the Convention in Western Sydney provides a unique opportunity to tap into the rich diversity of our Diocese. I look forward to the opportunity to discern the vision and strategies required to reach young people in Australia. The feedback from the recent national youth survey has challenged us to address more confidently the issues of mental health, drugs, alcohol, relationships, and the digital world,” Bishop Vincent said.
Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, will be presenting at the conference and saying Mass on day two, has said ACYMC will be a “joyful and confirming experience.”
“We will learn cutting edge youth ministry and be supported to put it into practice in our groups, parishes and schools. It will also take away isolation and loneliness. To listen to, share with and pray with 400 other committed, vibrant and faith-filled youth ministers is energising and strengthening. Bring it on!”
ACYMC will be a source of nourishment and information for “those ministering to young people in Australia,” according to Malcolm Hart.
Malcolm is the Director of ACBCOY has helped organise the conference.
“This year’s ACYMC is true to this vision and will focus on the spiritual renewal and the missionary discipleship responsibilities of ministers.
“This year’s ACYMC will invite youth ministers to share their learnings and experiences with young people to help form the future of Catholic youth ministry in Australia. The Convention will utilise the Plenary Council 2020 process to invite youth ministers to consider what God is asking in this ministry into the future. This dialogue process will be submitted into the plenary council process, but also considered by the Australian Catholic Youth Council (ACYC) in its future work,” Malcolm said.
James Camden, Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta said ACYMC will allow the Church to drive its strategic direction.
“Young adults and teachers from the Diocese of Parramatta have the best access possible to participate in Australia’s leading youth ministry formation and networking opportunity this Church has to offer. I look forward to engaging as many youth ministry animators from schools, parishes and movements in the planning and implementation of this huge as we carve out our future direction, nationally and locally.”
“My hope is that we continue building capacity in our passionate, inspiring and committed young adults in our Church. It’s their ministry of presence and discipleship that will give young people a chance to meet and know Christ,” James said.
Daniel Ang, Director of the Office for Evangelisation in the Diocese of Broken Bay will also be presenting at ACYMC.
Daniel is “looking forward to sharing the way in which youth ministry gathers to send out, is called to equip young people to exercise their discipleship as adults in broader community life.
“We want to raise up and encourage young disciples and spiritual entrepreneurs at ACYMC and beyond who shape the present and future culture of our Church by their witness.
“Our adults and older mentors have a role and responsibility in this project. After all, if young people never hear an adult actually speak about how Jesus has changed their life, how would they know such a relationship is possible?”
The conference will host daily Mass and also feature talks on: Re-imagining Youth Evangelisation; Catholic Social Teaching; Vocational Discernment; Plenary Council 2020; Spreading the Joy of the Gospel; and Becoming Missionary Disciples.
ACYMC runs from 21-23 September 2018 at Rooty Hill RSL, Western Sydney.