15 November 2017
Year of Youth commences 3 December 2017
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has announced a ‘Year of Youth’ commencing on the First Sunday of Advent – 3 December 2017 until 25 November 2018, focussed on the engagement and faith development of young people aged 12 – 30 year olds.
The theme for the Year of Youth is “Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy. Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.”
Every local community is encouraged to mark the launch of the Year of Youth at the start of the liturgical year – the First Sunday of Advent 3rd December 2017.
I am also asking parish and communities to engage a ‘Year of Youth Action Team’ – made up of a variety of adults and young people in your community to prepare activities for the Year of Youth. I would encourage your safeguarding officer to be a part of this action team to ensure the safety of young people is at the forefront of our planning.
I also encourage young people (aged 12 – 30) to step forward to become ‘Year of Youth Ambassadors’ in their local communities. They can be a voice and advocate for the initiatives of the ‘Year of Youth Action Team.’
In this year, we hope to come together to engage with more young people in our Church. We need to spend these next twelve months as local communities, working together across Parishes, High Schools, University Chaplains, working with Church agencies and parents in accompanying the teens and young adults of our Church. We are called to walk with them and engage young people across all areas of the Church.
For Parishes: prepare your community to be a place of welcome for young people. Speak to your parishioners about making young people feel welcome and a part of your community. Encourage them to invite young people they know to engage with the Church, accompany them and support them in their faith journey.
For Schools: there are many opportunities where schools can help promote the local Catholic teens youth groups, or local parish activities aimed at teens or young adults. Community service hours can effectively connect our teens to Catholic agencies. Spend some time to help our Catholic agencies find ways that teens can effectively and safely volunteer in the good works of the Church.
Take a look at the attached resources on ‘How to host a local launch’ on 3rd Dec (or an appropriate Sunday in Advent) for the commencement of the Year of Youth. Let us begin the year of ‘spreading joy’ in the blessed season of Advent, a season of new beginnings and great joy.
Let us take these next twelve months to focus on our young people who are part of our Church. Beyond the sacrament of Confirmation, we need to support them and nourish their spiritual life across our whole Church community. Even if you have only a limited number of young people involved in your church, perhaps this could be your opportunity to ask parishioners to invite their children and grandchildren to the church or also to reach out to the Catholic schools nearby and getting them involved in your local parish.
If you need further resources or support, Catholic Youth Ministry Perth is our central office for providing information and local youth ministry resources for the Archdiocese of Perth: www.cym.com.au.
You can also contact our Year of Youth project worker Adeline Bock on firstname.lastname@example.org
Year of Youth national website – http://youth.catholic.org.au/year-of-youth
These are challenging times for our Church, but they are also times of opportunity and hope. Let us do all we can to support and engage in the Year of Youth – and most of all let us entrust this initiative to the Lord. What we would struggle to achieve on our own we can hope to achieve as long as we remain united to him.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB DD
Archbishop of Perth
Download Archbishop Costelloe’s letter for the Year of Youth 2018: