Sunday 4 March 2012
AOY director Teresa Wilson has been at the office since its inception in 2008. She spoke to Edwina Hall.
What: The Archdiocesan Office for Youth (AOY)
Where: Thomas Carr Centre, 278 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9412 3300
Tell me about AOY
Our mission within the Archdiocese of Melbourne is to inspire and engage young people in the life and mission of the Church. The AOY team serves the parishes, schools and communities of the Archdiocese by providing resources to encourage young people to develop their faith and live a life centred on the teachings of Christ and the Church.
We support youth ministry that ministers to young people aged between 16 and 30 and we take our inspiration from John's Gospel (10:10), "I have come that you may have life and have it to the full".
We hope that by offering this support we can inspire future leaders in the Church and society and empower all youth to find Christ in their everyday lives.
What does the AOY do?
We offer a range of resources and help through initiating, supporting and encouraging youth ministry as well as running and supporting events to inspire youth though prayer, study, sacraments, social and service.
What are some of your best memories/achievements?
In the past four years there have been many 'highlights' but, as with all ministry, it is the people that really make it all worthwhile. We are fortunate in that our ministry enables us to spend time with young people, Catholic school teachers, parish youth leaders, religious and priests. We see the full breadth of the Catholic community.
In 2011 one of the major highlights was coordinating the Archdiocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid. We were able to offer an amazing faith experience for 222 young people from the diocese. Hearing and seeing the impact of the journey, particularly on the teenage members of our group, was a joy and a privilege.
What does the AOY offer young people?
The AOY offers a gateway for young people to become involved with the Church either through their local parish, Catholic organisations or communities, or through central events we run for young people of the diocese.
We do this through a fabulous website with resources and information on upcoming youth events, training, retreats, discussion groups and other ongoing events.
What are some of your plans for 2012?
We are planning a weekend retreat for youth in the Archdiocese, we are taking a group of youth leaders to the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention in Sydney in September, we are running an event to kick-start our pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2013 in Rio as well as our ongoing gatherings.
We also aim to develop a larger online resource library—creating new and vibrant resources to benefit youth leaders and to build on channels of communication with young people through the Archbishop's Conversation with Youth Leaders coming up in March.
Who should contact your office?
If you are young and Catholic there are lots of options we can provide—whether you are a little curious or unsure about your faith or dedicated to your beliefs. If you or your parish are thinking of starting a youth group, then the AOY has plenty to offer—we can help point you in the right direction!
AOY ongoing events:
Photo: The Archdiocesan Office for Youth team, from left: Jack O’Sullivan, Kath Galea, Annaliese Wursthorn and Brendan Lindsay. Front: Teresa Wilson and Adriana Sobolewski. Photo by Fiona Basile.