This document provides a vision for ministry with young people aged 12–30 in Australia. Initiated as a project by the Australian Network of Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinators (ANDYMC), it has been developed in consultation with the Australian Catholic Youth Council (ACYC) and Bishop Joseph Grech, Bishops Delegate for Youth in the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life. It was presented in draft form at the inaugural “Youth Leader’s Gathering in 2008” and ratified by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May 2009.
This is a framework for current and future ministry. It focuses on “Why do we engage in ministry with young people?”, rather than seeking to provide what could only ever be a sample of the many different answers to the question, “How do we engage in ministry with young people?”
Catholic Youth Ministry seeks to involve young people within the whole faith community, expressing and understanding who we are as Church, in our relationship with God.
This Vision Statement is a call to the entire faith community to be in ministry with young people.
Youth ministry in Australia has reached a turning point. World Youth Day has given the whole Church in Australia a focus on young people, and engaged entire communities in ministry with young people. The Journey of the Cross and Icon and Days in the Diocese gave local communities a taste of young people being at the core of the Church. In the spirit of the well known proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, communities had the opportunity to experience youth ministry as a vital, integral element of the whole community and not as an optional addition. Cross ministry partnerships, involving those in adult faith education, liturgy, vocations and other ministries of the Church, took on new importance in bringing ministry with young people into the life of the whole Church. Now we are ready to continue the good work begun through preparation and participation in WYD and build on it; we are ready to engage in the next step. The question in many local communities is “Where to from here?”
This document hopes to provide a response to that question. It is a framework upon which ministry with young people can develop and where all expressions of it can find a home – including school, parish, diocese, religious orders, groups and movements, university chaplaincies and event-based youth ministry.
There are good things happening in youth ministry throughout Australia, often unacknowledged or unknown. There are also significant gaps and challenges and always more that can be done. Engagement with World Youth Day has shown the local Church that it is possible to build on current efforts, involve the whole community and create wonderful opportunities for all to explore and experience ministry with young people.
The three goals and eight focus areas are based in Scripture and Canon Law. They describe the mission of the whole Church but in this context are applied to a focus on young people. Young people are the Church of today, shaping the Church of tomorrow.