Speaking on ABC radio earlier this year, Hannah Williams, a young Maitland-Newcastle Diocese local, challenged the stereotype that young people no longer engage with their faith, Aurora reports.
“Attending World Youth Day (WYD) in Poland really affirmed that the Catholic faith is not dying. It’s alive and there are so many young people out there ready to carry that on,” Hannah said.
Youth ministry is alive and well in the diocese and it’s expected to take off in new and exciting ways with a large contingency set to join an estimated 15,000 young people at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Sydney this December. The festival will kick off the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Year of Youth in 2018, celebrating ten years since WYD was held in Sydney.
Blackbutt Pastoral Region Co-ordinator, Ellen Hazelton, believes parishes can support the youth in their midst by helping them to attend ACYF and WYD.
“These big events provide a variety of faith experiences with kids their own age, but also young adults who can be seen as role models, loving God and witnessing to their faith as a natural part of life, not something hidden away,” said Ellen.
Chair of the Diocesan Council for Ministry with Young People (DCMYP), James Elliott, agrees.
“WYD and the ACYF provide a great opportunity to shake up and wake up the Church. I think their greatest value is they show people the Church isn’t a dying community, but one full of other young people on a similar journey, asking the same questions. They are not as alone as they imagined. They are a different experience and can be moving, energising and challenging while still reflecting our unique Catholic identity,” said James.
The DCMYP’s vision is to provide opportunities for all young people to be inspired and empowered to “Be, Grow, Show” – to be people of faith, who grow in our faith and show our faith.
Where are all the young people? (Aurora)