Monday 1 October 2012
By Katherine Galea
MORE than 350 inspired bishops, priests and youth ministers gathered in Campbelltown, NSW, for the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention.
Participants heard some amazing keynote speakers, celebrated Mass together and participated in a wide range of different workshops. A group from the Melbourne Archdiocese travelled together to participate and enjoy the conference, which is one of only a few of its kind that aims to supports Youth Ministry.
One of our first keynote speakers, Sr Hilda Scott OSB, reminded us that “It’s God we’re on about!” and that “God is going to love you if you like it or not.” With her words of wisdom, one would have thought she would have been a difficult speaker to follow, but Bishop Anthony Fisher OP challenged us as the youth of today and urged us not to, ‘let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.'
The following day, Fr Christian Fini OMI, used an analogy to explain our roles as youth ministers of the Church by using the example of mobile phones and the networks they run on. He highlighted that Youth Ministry is about providing or improving the quality of the connection between the youth and the Catholic Church saying, “You are not central to Youth Ministry, y
ou are essential to it.”
On the final day, Shayne Bennett, from the Emmanuel Community empowered young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. “God would never insult us by giving us a vision so small that we could achieve it on our own," he said.
The Convention ran over three days and included the nation-wide launch of the first ever Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2013 as well as a celebratory Rio-themed dinner and party to warm us up for World Youth Day in July 2013.
With so many quality speakers and a room filled with a wealth of experience in Youth Ministry, we all felt blessed to be part of such an amazing convention. With renewed and refreshed vision, we were anointed and sent out to spread the good news. We hope to gather together in 2014 as an even stronger and larger group dedicated to the youth of the Church today.
Photos courtesy of Katherine Galea, Archdiocesan Office for Youth.