Youth focus for day of encounter

WelCom April 2019: Thomas Saywell This year’s Palmerston North Diocesan Pastoral Day was held on 14 March at St Mary’s Church and Te Rau Oriwa Marae in Whanganui. The Diocese has…

WelCom April 2019:

Thomas Saywell

Youth focus for day of encounter Archdiocese of Wellington

A day of encounter for Palmerston North’s pastoral leaders and workers. Photo: Supplied

This year’s Palmerston North Diocesan Pastoral Day was held on 14 March at St Mary’s Church and Te Rau Oriwa Marae in Whanganui. The Diocese has set up annual Pastoral Days to offer a place of discussion for people from various ministries, communities, regions and walks of life, and give them insight into specific pastoral needs.

Over 70 leaders and pastoral workers attended including groups from as far afield as Wairoa. Several Catholic school principals and DRSs also attended along with senior students.

Taking a cue from Pope Francis’ call for the Church to engage with young people in decision making, the Diocesan Young Catholics (DYC) team ran the Pastoral Day. The focus was on how communities can learn from the example of committed young people and how communities can be ‘evangelised’ and transformed by faith of youth.

[Thomas Saywell (DYC)], Isabella McCafferty, Archdiocese of Wellington, Young Church Office, and Kevin Shore, Principal, St Peter’s College, gave the keynote addresses. They each looked at one of three main ideas:

  • authenticity – keeping our actions, words and relationships in sync so our testimony can be trusted;
  • accompaniment – the model of relationship and support encouraged by the latest Synod of Bishops; and
  • ascent – remaining focused on God at the centre of our lives.

Participants were treated to a ‘youth retreat day’ filled with activities, small group discussions, and a closing time of Adoration with priests available for Reconciliation and prayer teams on offer.

The heart of the day was in the small-group discussions. Priests, students, chaplains and others expanded the talks and discussed how their communities could grow to be more authentic, more focused on true relationships, and more radical in their faith. The fruit of this day will be shown in coming months as those conversations continue and participants implement their ideas back home.