"Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!" - Pope Francis
In today’s climate of rapid societal and technological change, the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand is increasingly aware of the need to find new, creative and effective ways of sharing the Gospel with young people. Bringing the Good News to young people provides an opportunity to highlight its intrinsic presence, and Jesus’ spirit evident in their lives.
Ministry with young people is about journey and relationship; we are all journeying together, discovering Christ's call and discerning how to live this out in our lives
Ministry to youth and young adults takes place at many different levels. This corresponds with the various stages of development of young people.
Diocesan Youth Teams work closely with those who minister to young people - teachers, chaplains and Directors of Religious Studies (DRS) - to provide formation and leadership opportunities.
There are 236 Catholic schools educating 64,000 students throughout New Zealand’s six dioceses. Each school has a unique special character. Many schools were founded by religious orders. Each religious order is founded on unique charisms which have been passed on to the schools which they established; these charisms contribute significantly to the special character of the school.
Many Diocesan Youth Teams provide retreat opportunities and leadership development programmes for students as they transition through school and beyond. For example, The Archdiocese of Wellington and Diocese of Palmerston North youth teams each facilitate their own ‘Young Catholic Leader’ programme which is provided for year 12 students at Catholic schools who are moving into leadership roles in their final year of secondary school study.
Some religious orders provide opportunities for; formation, leadership development, and practicing faith in the wider community. Examples of these initiatives are:
• The Edmund Rice Network – Facilitated by the Christian Brothers
• Logos work with all Marist Colleges, alongside the JC Colin Project.
• The Marist Brothers maintain close connections with their schools and run a Young Adult Ministry - MYAM.
Ministry to school leavers is carried out by the Diocesan Youth Teams. Tertiary chaplains often play an important part in the formation of young adults as they transition from secondary school to adult life and/or further education. Each of our six dioceses has teams that actively support young people, and those who work with young people.
A number of Catholic organisations throughout New Zealand provide services and programmes directly aimed at faith formation and leadership development for young people. Some of these organisations are:
Catholic Discipleship College
Diocesan Youth Teams
Edmund Rice Network
Institute for World Evangelisation
St Vincent De Paul Youth
JC Colin Project
The NZCBC published a document in 2014 entitled ‘The Catholic Education of School-Age Children’. This document was informed by Dr Chris Duthie-Jung’s 2011 doctoral thesis titled ‘Faith Amid Secularity’ and other supporting research.