by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — More than 80 youth and young adult ministers are here in
Auckland from May 24-26 for a conference that will nourish their faith and give them new tools for ministry.
The National Catholic Conference for Youth and Young Adult Ministers
took its theme “You are Sent” from Isaiah 6:8.
Conference organiser Teresa McNamara, from Auckland’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said it is about pushing the boundaries.
“It’s about not just doing what you are doing now but what’s the next step for you, how you can take your ministry further,” she explained.
The conference will start with an “amazing race” from St Columba Centre in Ponsonby to Pompallier Diocesan Centre and back — about 3km.
“We want them to find out about some of the faith history of this area and some of the work of Bishop Pompallier, and also to interact with Catholic groups and religious orders that are in this area,” Ms McNamara said.
Each day will have a different focus. The first day will be all about the founding documents Tu Kahikatea and Hikoi Tahi, which form the framework for youth ministry and its practical application, respectively. The second day focuses on practical ministry with
young people, while the third day will be devoted to how the ministry can be taken to the next level.
Sr Helen Bergin, OP, Dr Chris Duthie- Jung and Roby Curtis will be the keynote speakers.
Sr Helen will be talking about how they can tune in to the Holy Spirit for guidance in their ministry. Dr Duthie-on the Catholic identity of “Gen Y” New Zealanders, while Mr Curtis will share his passion for taking the faith to the streets.
“We are trying to have a mix of people, looking at a range of topics relevant to ministering to young people,” Ms McNamara said.
She added that she thought one of the most popular sessions would be connecting to young people on the fringe of the Church.
Ms McNamara said these young people are those who identify themselves as Catholics, but may not be practising the faith in the traditional sense like going to Sunday Mass.
“They are practising in their own way but not by our definition.
We thought it would be good to have a session where we look and see what they might need from us and how we might connect to those
people,” she said.
Director of the Marist Brothers Alternative Education Programme Shane Coleman, and Delphina Soti, who works for the Society of St Vincent de Paul, will run a workshop at the conference.
Both are working “hands on” with young people who are living out the
faith, said Ms McNamara.
Another highlight of the conference will be the catechesis session of Lasallian Youth Ministry director James Camden called the “Poverty of Hope”.
It will be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral on May 26 at 6pm. It will be free and open to all.
by ROWENA OREJANA