Hero australian context

Ministry in an Australian Context

Though youth ministry is a universal need and project of the Church, it also has local dimensions. The Catholic Church in Australia has a rich history of ministry with young people. Our first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, devoted much of her life and energy to young people; her congregation and many others did likewise. From at least the 1950s, different models of youth ministry were explored and those engaging in youth ministry today stand on the shoulders of those ministries.

Since that time the Church has also come to appreciate more deeply the richness of indigenous spirituality, the contribution of various migrant cultures, the vast contrasts between rural and urban centres, and the unique mix that has been created in Australia. Alongside a predominantly Christian population there are now growing numbers from other faith traditions and powerful tendencies to secularisation. Many young people are missing or alienated from institutions such as the Church. New media and technologies, economic and cultural trends, the struggles of contemporary family life – all contribute opportunities and challenges.

In this context the Church in Australia continues to proclaim the Gospel to young people. Many dioceses and parishes, religious orders and ecclesial movements, schools and Church organisations now have dedicated roles and strategies for evangelising and engaging young people.

Building upon the vision in Anointed and Sent and the advice of the ACYC, the Bishops have established a national Office for Youth to provide advice and support in youth ministry. National events such as the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention and Australian pilgrimages to international World Youth Days continue to build identity and diversity in youth ministry in Australia.

Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church in Australia journeys forward together, sharing the signs of hope in our ministry with young people.


The Spirit’s gifts working within us give direction and definition to our witness. They call us to active and joyful participation in the life of the Church: in parishes and ecclesial movements, in religious educations classes, in university chaplaincies and other Catholic organisations.
Pope Benedict  XVI
Vigil, WYD Sydney, 2008.