Talks in the Year of Youth will give students the chance to decipher what gives them purpose and joy in life, where media reports and social chatter give a bleak view of Australia’s social and economic future.
Sydney Catholic Schools’ Acting Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, Glen Thompson, shares how the year’s theme can bring confidence and strengthen faith.
The Australian Bishops called 2018 to be the Year of Youth – an opportunity to see where the young people are at in their faith and the world around them. Our duty in schools is to inspire their spirits and minds for a journey.
The Year of Youth is an opportunity to engage with young representatives in our schools and connect with them on matters around their faith journey and their place in the Church.
Throughout this year, we are providing young people opportunities to have a voice and to be involved instead of simply celebrating. Students are encouraged to give their insights into the challenges and successes they encounter in life, working together to discern appropriate actions.
In December, close to 9,000 students from Sydney Catholic schools attended the Australian Catholic Youth Festival to launch this special year of youth. Throughout 2018, we at Sydney Catholic Schools will continue to engage students in events and forums to hear what they are experiencing and what they are most concerned about.
In line with the Year of Youth theme ‘Open new horizons for spreading joy: Young people, faith and vocational discernment’ Young people are being asked these broad questions:
- What does it mean to be a person or community of joy?
- How do young people contribute to creating our sense of joy as a community?
- How do young people open new horizons to us?
As Pope Francis has said, “We are all missionary disciples”. The Year of Youth calls faith communities, especially our schools and parents, to support the vision to empower young people for their mission in the world today. This ministry with young people must support them to grow, to hear their calling, and promote discipleship in Christ.
Our early discussions have shown young people are concerned about the social, spiritual and political pressures that are presented today. It is crucial that we recognise their aspirations in life and give them the confidence to strive for them in what can be a difficult and challenging world.
By offering this, and a deeper understanding of the Catholic identity, in the Year of Youth they can be filled with courage and hope. The Church and world need the faith, gifts, energy, and fresh ideas of young people.