By Amanda Murthy
More than 60 youth ambassadors will this weekend Sunday 11 November be officially commissioned by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) Year of Youth Project Officer Adeline Bock explained to The Record that the aim of the new youth ambassadors will be to help raise the profile of and to advocate for young people’s engagement in the life of the Church.
“The Youth Ambassador will be the one who advocates and champions the cause of youth ministry in the parish, especially in preparation of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) hosted in Perth next year from December 8 to 10,” Ms Bock said.
“But this role does not stop after ACYF, in fact it continues beyond,” she said.
Ms Bock said the response to having Youth Ambassadors has been promising, confirming an estimate of 60 ambassadors, with participation from half of the Perth Metro Churches.
She noted that the selected ambassadors do not necessarily have to be a youth leader, youth minister or a young person.
“Some of the criteria needed are those who are committed to representing the Church as a Youth Ambassador for the next 12 months, they should preferably have some experience dealing with the Church administration, Parish Council and parents.
“They support the work of those involved in youth ministry within the parish – noting that they don’t need to be actively involved, and most importantly they should have a passion to advocate for the engagement of young people in the parish community,” she cited.
CYM intends to guide the ambassadors throughout their journey, Ms Bock added.
The first meeting will take place at the start of next year, with the aim of providing the ambassadors with more information about ACYF, and providing them with networking opportunities to better connect with youth in neighbouring parishes.
“This will enable them to share their time and resources to be able to work together in order to achieve a greater outcome.
“Subsequently, we will provide them with electronic updates and resources on a regular basis.”
Speaking about the upcoming ACYF in Perth, Ms Bock said the Youth Ambassadors will play a vital role in getting the message across to their local parishes.
“We want the young to promote it and the older people to speak about it.
“Even when a Church does not have young people, we still encourage for a Youth Ambassadors (YA) to be elected because there may be parents or grandparents that would want to encourage their kids, grandkids or other young people they know to attend the national event,” she said.
“There has never been a greater time to be more involved in youth ministry! Young people are seeking deeper meaning and purpose to their life and we all should try our best in providing them a space to grow and nurture their faith in a safe space.
“The ACYF will serve as a boost to our youth ministry but it is more important for us to prepare them pre-event to ensure that they gain the maximum benefit out of the festival and post-event in providing them a space to connect with to continue their faith journey-leading them towards Christ who will give them life to the fullest,” Ms Bock added.
CYM Acting Director Vincent Haber added that it is important to never give up hope, especially on the young people of the Church.
“We need to embrace them and welcome them into the community with compassion and joy.
“The Youth Ambassadors will just not be the voice of the young people in the parish, but they will be the ears to listen to their joys and sorrows, the eyes to show compassion and the heart to enthuse and encourage the parish community.
“As a youth office, we are committed in supporting the Youth Ambassadors as they embark on this invaluable journey of not just preparing the young people, but empowering the whole parish community to hope and believe in the gifts of the youth and what they can contribute in the life of the Church,” Mr Haber concluded.