The Australian Catholic Bishops have identified the liturgical year of 2018, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent (3rd December 2017), as a national Year of Youth. The Year of Youth invites the whole church into a dialogue about the importance and life-giving presence of young people in the Church and society.

We’ve put together an infographic to help us understand the Year of Youth.

 

The Balloon – Family, Parish, Community, and School

It takes a partnership among Family, Parish, Community and School to raise a child. It is a community effort and we are all called to play our part.

The Holy Spirit – In our process of discerning what we can do to actively engage with young people, let us be open to the guidance and promptings of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit lead us.

We are given 4 keywords to reflect on:

  1. Discernment (D)  Let us be open to discern what the Lord is asking us and where the Lord is leading us in this Year of Youth. To do this we must reflect deeply on our experience, draw on the richness of our tradition and invite the Holy Spirit to guide us.
  2. Accompaniment (A)  Let us walk with young people on their journey of faith, starting from where they are rather than where we think they should be.
  3. Listening (L) Let us actively listen to our young people. To actively listen, we may need to change our own hearts, so that we are ready to listen to them even at times when we are challenged by what we hear.
  4. Young people friendly and Safe Environment (Y) – Let us provide a safe environment for young people by maintaining the safeguarding guidelines and ensuring every parish is a safe, welcoming and inviting space for young people.

 

The theme for the Year of Youth is Open new horizons for spreading joy: Young people, faith and vocational discernment. This is inspired by the words of Pope Francs:

‘My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, he is the Lord of the eternal “more”. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths. To blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy. To take the path of the “craziness” of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists.”- Pope Francis, World Youth Day Vigil with Young People, 30 July 2016

These words of the Holy Father challenge us to embrace opportunities for sharing the joy and hope of the Risen Christ with young people. The focus on ‘Young people, faith and vocational discernment’ links with the Vatican Synod title for October of 2018.

What can we do to achieve our vision?

We are given a vision for youth ministry in the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference document Anointed and Sent which highlights 8 focus areas and 3 goals that help assist young people on their faith journey.

The Flags – 8 Focus Areas

  1. Prayer and Worship
  2. Evangelisation
  3. Catechesis
  4. Advocacy
  5. Pastoral Care
  6. Leadership Development
  7. Justice & Service
  8. Community Life

The Goals

Goal 1: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person – The Church is challenged to foster in young people a sense of Catholic wisdom and identity that will provide a guiding direction for the rest of their lives.

Goal 2: To draw young people into responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community – Faith communities should strive to be places that draw in young people, give them a sense of belonging, and offering them opportunities to minister side by side with adults.

Goal 3: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today – We, the Church, parishes, communities, schools and families, are called to reach out to young people, welcome them, help them find their place in the Church, and accept and encourage the gifts they bring to the whole community. Without young people, the Body of Christ is incomplete.

Our Call to Action

In our community, parish, school and family, how are we going to work together as a broader Church community to walk with young people on their faith journey?

Resources:
Download the Year of Youth Infographics.


 References:
Anointed And Sent: An Australian Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry
http://youth.catholic.org.au/anointed-and-sent
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB speech “Year of Youth” Networking Night 2017
ACBC Year of Youth 2018 – http://youth.catholic.org.au/year-of-youth

 

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