Youth leaders get schooled at youth ministry masterclass

By Mary Brazell, 21 March 2019
Seminarian Tom Green at the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Paramatta.


80 youth leaders from across Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the wider Sydney region have been schooled in all aspects of youth ministry.

The Youth Ministry Masterclass, hosted by Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP), was held on Saturday 16 March at St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.

Open to youth ministers, group leaders and those wishing to get more involved, the masterclass was a full day of workshops, formation and fellowship.

View images from the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass here.

Participants were invited to attend morning Mass with the parish before the masterclass began.

The CYP team of James Camden, Director, Sr Rosie Drum mgl, Assistant Director and Qwayne Guevara, Local Engagement Leader, led the participants in prayer, worship and ice-breakers to kick off the day.

In the first session, seminarian Tom Green from the Diocese of Parramatta’s Holy Spirit Seminary, spoke about why youth ministry is important in reference to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s (ACBC) Anointed and Sent vision for ministry with young people in Australia.

Seminarian Tom Green at the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Paramatta.

“Archbishop [Anthony] Fisher, in his forward to Anointed and Sent said that young people that are becoming involved in youth ministry are saints in the making,” Tom told the participants.

“Each of you has a privileged role to be able to be a part of that making.

“The ACBC said there are three goals that can help produce saints. One, to foster total personal and spiritual growth of each young person. Two, to draw young people into responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community and three, to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world.”

In session two, St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong, parishioner Sebastian Duhau reflected on leadership in youth ministry.

Sebastian, who works in youth ministry for the De La Salle Brothers’ Lasallian Mission Council, attended the 15th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome on ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment’ in October 2018.

Sebastian Duhau at the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

“There are eight points that come from the synod document about how we are called to lead,” Sebastian said.

“Welcome: we are a church that embraces all. Accompaniment: we need to build a church that walks alongside all people. Shared wisdom: a need to form intergenerational relationships. Honesty and humility: a church that acknowledges its flaws. Advocacy and action: a church pioneering change in all spheres of life. Vocation: a call to and for all people, not just a call to priesthood, to religious life or marriage. Outgoing church: a church beyond its own walls and synodality: a church led by all.

“Through the synod document, we are called to lead in youth ministry as servants, as part of the broader community, amongst the people, holistically, with eyes to the future and together.”

Sr Rosie took the participants through child protection information relevant to all leaders, with specific focus on Diocese of Parramatta policies.

RELATED: Register for CYP Safeguarding Superheroes

Qwayne finished the morning session with some practical hints for youth ministry and what should be happening within youth ministry.

Following lunch, workshops were held in two groups – those starting out in youth ministry and experienced leaders.

Laura Rowell at the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

For beginners, Laura Burton, youth minister from St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill, spoke about why small groups are important in youth ministry.

James Camden then taught the group some relevant and relational skills for the ministry, with Sr Rosie expanding on giving testimonies to the young people the leaders hope to minister to.

The advanced group discussed how to tackle mental health issues that may arise in their roles as youth leaders, led by Laura Rowell, Coordinator Risk of Significant Harm, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.

Mindy Mercardo, Youth Coordinator, St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta, then spoke to the group about building a relationship with your parish priest.

Finally, Karina Stow, Religious Education Coordinator, Delaney College, Granville, discussed how to engage young people ‘coming down from the mountain,’ from events like World Youth Day and the Australian Catholic Youth Festival.

The groups came back together to share what they had learnt during their workshops, and broke into parish and deanery groups to share their commitments and ideas for taking youth ministry back into their parishes.

Gerard Sadaya, youth leader from Christ the King Parish, North Rocks said everyone can learn something new from events like the masterclass.

“You’re never too old, never too experienced to learn or rehash what you already know. Especially when you’re finding out current trends in youth ministry and what’s going on with other youth leaders in other parishes.

“Something that stood out to me was from Sebastian’s reflection on the synod and the findings of the synod. I’ll be taking that back with me to share with the other leaders in the parish.

“One of the key things in youth ministry I can share is perseverance – don’t give up. You’ll always encounter pitfalls and roadblocks, but it’s up to you to stand strong, firm in the faith, and that’s a core belief that I use in my own ministry.”

All those who work with young people in the church context, be it youth ministry, children’s liturgy, catechesis, altar serving etc, are encouraged to attend CYP’s next formation event “Safeguarding Superheroes.”

Held at the NOVOTEL Baulkham Hills on Thursday 28 March, training will be provided to recognise and establish good practices around child protection within faith communities.

For further information and registration, go to

View images from the CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass here or below.

CYP Youth Ministry Masterclass (16.03.19)

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