The Year of Youth is commencing on 3rd December 2017 (the start of the liturgical year) and it’s time to get our communities ready for an exciting year ahead!

On Tuesday 25th July over 200 people gathered for the Year of Youth Networking Night to begin these discussions. Archbishop Costelloe SDB, Bishop Sproxton, Debra Sayce (Catholic Education WA) and Anita Parker (Catholic Youth Ministry) all delivered a message to share their vision and ideas for the opportunities that this year brings.

The ‘Year of Youth’ is an opportunity for communities to work together in supporting young people. Families, schools, parishes and the general community can all support each other in assisting young people in their faith life.

The ‘Year of Youth’ theme is “Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young people, faith and vocational discernment.” It connects Pope Francis’ WYD message from 2016 with the Synod on Youth theme for 2018. The call is for the Church to engage new ideas, new methods and new supports to assist young people in their faith and vocational discernment.

Archbishop Costelloe highlighted some key ways to support young people which include discernment, accompaniment, listening to young people and creating Parishes and communities which are young people friendly.

The document ‘Anointed and Sent: An Australian Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry’ will be a key focus to help communities reflect on the goals and 8 focus areas of youth ministry.

The ‘Year of Youth’ is not to be focused solely on new youth events or new youth groups, although these could naturally develop, the focus rather is to build connections between parish, school, family and community. How do we all work together to support the faith life of young people?

The networking night brought together youth leaders, principals, teachers, students, parish priests, parents and young people. The majority of the night was spent in regional rooms to network, meet people from their local area and discuss ideas of what can be supported in the ‘Year of Youth’.

The energy of the leaders and community members created a burst of fruitful discussion, ideas and planning.

The upcoming Year of Youth is an exciting time for the local Church to focus on our young people. Our recommended starting point is to gather key representatives from the local school and parish together with young people (12 – 30y.o.) and parents to discuss plans and current activities for young people. Ask the questions – How can we connect better together? What do our young people need? How can we support their faith life and vocational discernment?

CYM has appointed Adeline Bock to assist as the Year of Youth Project Worker and can be contacted to provide support for local initiatives around the Year of Youth. yearofyouth@perthcatholic.org.au

More resources can also be found here: http://youth.catholic.org.au/year-of-youth

Let’s make this an amazing opportunity for our local communities to connect together!