Youth Ministry 2017
Youth Ministry 2017
Next weekend, this Parish begins a new chapter in its Youth Ministry – the Inigo Youth. Inigo Youth will provide an opportunity for High School-aged young people to come together once a fortnight, enjoying time with other young people from high schools around North Sydney, sharing in faith, outreach and music.
The Youth Group will have a central focus on ERA – Experience, Reflection and Action, all within the paradigm of Ignatian Spirituality. I am happy to say the Parish has taken on two new Youth Leaders to champion this program. They are Siobhan Hawdon (Monte graduate 2015) and Kieran Joel (SAC 2012). Both of these capable young people have been heavily involved in the Parish for the last few years, and are looking forward to this greater responsibility.
Youth Ministry has struggled in the Catholic world in recent years. The rise of Social Media, the influence of popular culture and at times the lingering ‘Catholic guilt’ in many families, has all contributed to this decline. Often young people are more interested in the ease of designing an image of themselves on Social Media, rather than working to design their true image, that of the image of God. Many young people are happy hiding behind a profile picture, increasing levels of anxiety in social contexts, and never discovering a true identity, the least of these being linked to Christianity. No one can blame them, popular culture seems to have a vendetta against all that Christianity identifies with, and when a teenager is asked to decide between a sandstone church and the temptations of teenage life, the church does not make much of an effort to defend itself, hence drawing young people away from a true faith formation in teenage years.
Here in North Sydney we are working to counteract this decline, by showing young people that being an Ignatian Christian in 2017 does not mean rigidity, regiment and exclusivity, but rather dialogue, discernment, and inclusivity. To champion this, our Youth will be deeply involved in service to the poor, lonely and aged in our community, and will work closely with the Parish’s newest outreach ministry: Mary’s House.
An Ignatian Christian in 2017 is one who rejoices in outreach, who jumps at the opportunity to be charitable, and one who finds God in all things. We hope to take the young people of North Sydney on a journey towards a deeper faith, inspired by the example of Jesus Christ, and articulated by the great St Ignatius (or Inigo).