Introducing the new identity of the
The Australian Bishops have identified the liturgical year of 2018 as a national Year of Youth. The Year of Youth invites the Church into prayerful discernment about the importance and life-giving presence of young people in the local Church and society. It calls for dialogue and active engagement focused on the reconnection and renewal of a new generation of young people in the life of the Church.
The Diocese of Bathurst are in the midst of building an identity for all young people in the Diocese to follow. This identity is called “RISE”. The motto, “Engage. Ignite. Send” represent the three main goals of the diocese during this Year of Youth.
Firstly, we want to engage all young people into the life of the Church. The life of the Church is not strictly limited to Sunday Mass, this includes participating in fundraising events, community involvement and mission outreach. Studies show that the younger generations are now almost inseparable from social media. This called for the creation of the RISE Instagram page, which allows for the younger generations to stay connected and informed to catholic youth events happening within their school, diocese, state, national and worldwide.
Secondly, we want to ignite the faith in others. From experience we found that 3 in 5 people who attend their first youth rally, conference, or catholic youth based event, continue to explore their faith within these events and continue to participate in Christ-centred events, whether in their school or to an international level such as World Youth Day.
Finally, after being engaged and ignited within the life of the Church we encourage people to go forth and promote the life of the Church in areas where it is not so prominent. This includes going on outreach mission projects and evangelising among other youth. The Diocese have integrated the CSYMA (Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia) in our schools starting with St Johns College Dubbo and James Sheahan Catholic High School in Orange. One of the requirements of this program is to go on outreach/mission projects to provide aid and promote the life of the Church. This program also teaches youth our to be followers of Christ and be leaders in our society today as Jesus was then.
Youth Minister - Tom Fiander
I believe that our youth are extremely lacking in their involvement within the Parish and broader church community.
It is evident that young people believe being Catholic is about going to Mass every weekend. The purpose of this year within the Church is to break that stigma, to “open new horizons” for young people to enter into their faith and the church. Pope Francis discusses how Jesus is not the Lord of comfort and soothing but rather the Lord of internal fire. The internal fire, also known as the Holy Spirit, is the feeling behind every action taken by those who follow Christ.
For some people it’s just a feeling. I experienced the Holy Spirit quite recently. I experienced a feeling, and after 18 years of my life, 13 years of Catholic education and 2 years of Church involvement I called that feeling the Holy Spirit. Everyone finds the fire differently, but we all hold it. In my opinion that fire is the Holy Spirit, but to some it’s just a sense of euphoria.
It is my job as a Youth Minister to give young people the opportunity to experience the fire and guide them through new paths into the Church. This can be achieved through involvement in youth ministry, festivals, and forums. The church recognises that young people are the building blocks of the future. In doing so the Church creates opportunities for young people to build the future, and to themselves open new horizons for spreading joy in our world.
We are the hope for the future.
The world will be a better place if we make it so.