Fiji Times – South Pacific Equipping School 2019

Annually held in Canberra Australia, Montfort Boys Town is hosting the first South Pacific Youth Ministry Equipping School.

The Archdiocese of Suva and the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn and Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia is running the event. Catholic Education director Nemani Drova’s visit to the Oceania Youth Ministry Equipping School and the ongoing effort of the Archdiocese of Suva to trim teachers and youth workers inspired him to work with his Catholic partners in Australia to hold the event in Fiji. “My two visits Australia to attend the Oceania Youth Ministry Equipping School renewed and inspired me with a vision for youth evangelisation in Fiji,” Mr Drova said.

The four day event, which began last Saturday and ends today aims to equip youth workers with skills when teaching and reaching out to the youth population he said.

“The focus on formation for mission with contemporary student, staff and parish youth ministry models provides a wonderful opportunity to be equipped for mission in our church in Fiji,” he said. Father Joe Tumavule, adviser on the way forward for the religious education seminar, said efforts had been made in the past to make schools be more holistic in teachings.

“There’s a real effort the past that the church always tried to maintain a good integration, a balance between the academic and spiritual teachings,” Mr Tumavule said.

Tonga and Samoa are the other two countries that took part in the school. Equipping youth workers across the region is the schools main aim, South Pacific Youth Ministry Equipping School co-ordinator Peter Woods said.

“The focus of the Equipping School is to train teachers ad leaders in Catholic education and to encourage our schools to be Catholic in character, especially to engage young people into the mission of the Catholic church which is t share the love of Jesus with other students and staff in our Catholic Schools,” Mr Woods Said.


Catholic Schools Youth Ministry International, is excited to see what is ahead for the Catholic education in Fiji and we look forward to continue to build this relationship.

Youth Minister Profile – Sarah Larkin

By Sarah Larkin

My name is Sarah Larkin and this year I returned as the Youth Minister working at St Vincent’s Primary School, Aranda, St Matthew’s Primary School, Page and the South Belconnen Parish. 


I am currently 20 years old and I have lived in Canberra most of my life. Alongside youth ministry I am also in my 3rd year studying a double degree in paramedicine and nursing at the Australian Catholic University. Last year I got involved in youth ministry as the first primary school Youth Minister, piloting the new CSYMA Junior program in the two primary schools. 


Youth Ministry is something that I didn’t know much about before launching into it. I have grown up in a catholic family and went to catholic schools, but I had never experienced faith through Youth Ministry as a student myself. Over my short time so far as a youth minister, I have been able to see that youth ministry is so important in helping to grow the faith of students. It is something that I wish I could have been a part of throughout my time at school. After becoming a Youth Minister, I have found my faith has grown in such a powerful way and I have been able to realize the importance of God in my own life through ministering to others. 


I love being a Youth Minister at South Belconnen because I am able to work with young primary students as well as other students and parishioners from all stages of life. 

I love being a role model for the students and being able to watch them grow into the people they are meant to be. It brings me so much joy seeing the students increase in confidence have an interest in their own faith and it makes me so excited about all of the things that they will do and accomplish in the future. 


A consistent highlight for me each week as Youth Minister in South Belconnen are the days that I get to spend working with the students. Whether it is a small conversation about their weekend, who won the handball game at lunch or deeper questions about God. I have found that building a relationship with the students makes them eager to be involved in initiatives like the school Youth Ministry Team, the Youth Groups and Masses. I love seeing the students then step up and lead prayer celebrations and retreat days because they are so capable and inspiring when sharing their faith with others.   


I am so excited to continue working with the students, staff and broader parish community as the South Belconnen Youth Minister because I have been able to see in my time so far the impact that CSYMA junior has had on both the schools and the parish.

Lismore SHINE Gathering

Shine 2019

Celebrating Youth Alive in the Church


“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life.” These are the very first words Pope Francis writes to all young people and the wider Church in his most recent exhortation Christus Vivit. SHINE embodies this message and the 700 participants who gathered last week at St John Paul College, Coffs Harbour, for the annual Gathering left renewed and full of life.


Since 2013, the Proclaim Lismore Catholic Culture Change Program has aimed to enable students to achieve the fullness of life. This mission is inspired by the Good Shepherd’s words in the Gospel of John; Jesus accompanies us, promising to be the gatekeeper to a full life. Each year the SHINE program evolves and improves to better accompany the young participants. This year the central theme for keynotes, workshops, dramas, activities, music, small groups and prayer was ‘You Know My Name’. “I have called you by name. You are mine,” is how Isaiah articulates this truth. Who doesn’t want to be called by name; known? The “knowing” and the “naming” seem to hit that inner part of ourselves and as disoriented, forgotten or ashamed as we feel, we are precious in God’s eyes and in the words of Bishop Greg, “we must learn to love ourselves.”

The capacity and giftedness of the team was highlighted this year, with the Proclaim Lismore Wildfire band leading worship in every session. A powerful moment at SHINE was during the morning rally when a choir of students joined the band on stage to sing Psalm 23. The young people had only learnt the song in a workshop the day before, but the harmonies kindled the hearts of everyone in the hall. The Youth Ministry Officers took the lead during most of the sessions with the help of 100 senior student leaders. A refreshing variety of interactive workshops are offered each year, and 2019 additions like ‘Faith in Sport’ and ‘Looking out for your friends: Mental Health’ were very popular.


Bishop Greg’s presence at SHINE is always a highlight and we are extremely grateful for his insight and support. The accompanying teachers, Sr Dedith Moralde and members of the clergy including keynote speaker Fr Paul Gooley, offered a special layer of spirituality and guidance. The SHINE Gathering could not run without them.


The young church is alive and willing, and the SHINE Gathering will continue to celebrate the youthful Spirit in the Catholic Church for years to come.


Canberra Goulburn SHINE Gathering

A record number of students from the Archdiocese gathered at Marist College on Wednesday August 7 for the third annual Shine Gathering.

This year 520 students from 12 schools across the Archdiocese participated in the Gathering, up from 450 students last year.

Project Officer for Catholic Schools and the New Evangelisation, Nathan Galea, said he was excited by the continued growth of Shine which he described as a chance for young people who’ve chosen the Youth Ministry course to come together from all over the Archdiocese.

“We’ve got people from Pambula and the South Coast, people from around Canberra, out in the country, places like Temora and Cootamundra,” he said.

“There’s something special about when we come together and, at a time in the Church when there’s not necessarily a lot of engagement level, we know, as Pope Francis has called us, to go to where our young people are and then to call them on and to show them the gift of our Faith and what it is that our Catholic Faith has to offer.”

Archbishop Christopher Prowse, who was one of the opening speakers at the Gathering, was also pleased with the continued growth of the event and said he was proud to welcome the present and future leaders of the Church – the now of the Church.

“I’m really happy it has been organised by youth, for youth and for the evangelisation particularly of youth in the Archdiocese,” Archbishop Christopher said.

“We’re well placed to be what Christ wants us to be, to be his presence in the world today as Missionary Disciples.”

The event was a gathering of year 9 and 10 students who had chosen an elective within the Religious Education curriculum focused on the CSYMA youth ministry program.  The popularity of the elective is an indicator of the success of the CSYMA model now being implemented across the Archdiocese.

The Shine Gathering started with an introduction and Welcome to Country by Nathan Galea, a welcome from Marist College by Headmaster Matthew Hutchison and a Welcome from Catholic Education by Angus Tulley, before Archbishop Christopher addressed the students and urged them to be open to what the day had to offer.

Throughout the day, students participated in ice-breakers, workshops, singing, testimonies and a range of other activities.

The theme of this year’s Shine Gathering was “The Truth: Life = Love”.

Youth Minister Profile – Mariah Allan

Youth Minister Profile – Mariah Allan

My name is Mariah Allan and I’m one of the Youth Ministry Officers at St Paul’s College in Kempsey. I am currently 18 years of age and am a member of the Nambucca Valley Catholic Parish.

Without youth ministry I believe I would be a very different person. If it hadn’t been for my CSYMA classes and events such as SHINE and Ignite Conference, I never would have discovered the beauty of a genuine relationship with God. I am touched when students approach me and are willing to be vulnerable in order to find out more about our faith.  Having seen how God has changed my view of the world, I cannot believe that He would give imperfect me the opportunity to assist others in their search for Him, and to journey along with them.

Already this year, we have had the incredible opportunity to run a year 7 Belonging Day which was so rewarding as I got to know the new students personally.  Despite differences in beliefs, interests and experiences, I found that we all had a need in common – a thirst for something more.  What made me so delighted was seeing the senior students from our College really step up and be student disciples, leading the juniors. They adapted to unexpected changes seamlessly and led their small groups so authentically, I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better Ministry Team.

For the remainder of this year, I’m just excited for what God will do next, both in our College and with our students. We will soon be introducing the opportunity for Adoration in our College Chapel over lunchtime, which has never happened before – God is definitely creating change and I love that I’m able to witness His action first hand this year.

My faith is what sustains me when I can’t rely on myself. We have a God so open and so willing to embrace our imperfections and meet us where we are at. I love that I am able to share Jesus’ love for others in the same way that He loves me.

2019 YMI England Mission

By Olivia Brown

On the 27th of June four members of the 2019 YMI England mission team arrived at Heathrow airport to begin an 18 day mission. The first 13 days of the mission included various school visits, finishing with four days at the LNE in tickenham where the team met up with leaders in catholic education from all over the UK and there fellow Aussies from the Canberra Goulburn Diocese and the Wollongong Diocese. 

After arriving at 7:30am in London the team found their way to the grounds of Worth Abbey and spent the day getting recovering from the journey. There they met up with the fifth member of the Australian team and other key leaders for the mission. 

The team spent the first day of school visits at St pauls and Worth school getting to know some of the staff and students. Then came the weekend where the team set off to London for a 13hour tourist day with lots of photo opportunities and great food, before spending their Sunday admiring churches and planning for the coming week. 

During that week the first ever SHINE gathering in the UK was hosted, which saw selected  year 10 students from St Pauls, Worth School, Cardinal Newman and St Wilfreds come together for a day where exploring the theme of ‘Made for More’ and reconciliation, while also attending workshops on relationships, parise and worship and photography, nature and prayer. 

The weekend was spent with the Guildford Catholic parish at their annual Rooted retreat, where we presented workshops  to young people aged 10-18 about failure (Drama) and Vulnerability (Testimony). In between that and planning the team visited Brighton and surrounding towns to see some tourist attractions. 

The last couple of days of school visits were spent working on some youth ministry curriculum and lesson planning with the chaplaincy staff at st Pauls and Worth school. 

We then traveled to our final school Ursuline college in Wimbledon to spend the day with some of the girls there.  

School visits were a massive highlight for the team and saw them spending their days ministering to the students at St Pauls, Worth School, St Catherine’s Cardinal Newman, St Wilfreds and Ursuline College, exploring themes such as ‘Made for more’.

Then end of school visits didn’t mean the end of the mission, the team then moved on to London where they spent 3 days at St marys with staff from cathoic schools in the UK, looking at the new evangelisation and the roles of schools as centre for the new evangelisation. 

For me this was a highlight as it made the work we had done and the sessions we had presented in the schools feel like they were part of a bigger picture and plan for catholic education in the UK. It was great to see the enthusiasm and passion that the educators and leaders of catholic schools had for the evangelisation and growth of their young people.

As the third mission to England this particular mission saw a change to the types of sessions the team ran and the way in which they were utilised in schools.  

The past three missions have seen the CSYMI vision grow and deepen in England,  as a returning member for the three england missions I cannot wait to see what the future will hold and all that God has planned not just in England but across the UK.

Youth Ministry Profile – Tayla Ayshford

Youth Ministry Profile – Tayla Ayshford

My name is Tayla Ayshford and this year I have the privilege of being a Youth Minister at St John Paul College in Coffs Harbour and the St Augustine’s Parish. I wanted to take this year off before going to university to explore my own faith and share it with those around me.

When I was in Year 10, I joined my schools CSYMA class. This is where my faith journey started, despite being in Catholic schooling for eight years, I learned some incredible lessons about deepening my faith and what it was like to express my spirituality. I had amazing experiences at Shine that solidified that urge to really continue to grow in my faith. Throughout my senior years, I went along to many different faith-based retreats and events with my peers, teachers, and Youth Ministers. The Youth Ministers from previous years when I was still a student really helped me have the courage to express my faith and they gave me so many opportunities to learn different aspects of what being a minister is really about. From what they showed me, I wanted to give others the opportunity that they gave to me and share everything I have learned so far, since having graduated last year, about expressing my own faith when I was in their position. 

This year I have been able to participate in ministry events and retreats. It has been so incredible to see all those who are growing and experiencing faith through these events, and also bring that faith aspect into their daily lives, and learning to minister to their own peers. Along with this, me, my fellow Youth Ministers, and ministry staff were able to host the first whole school Mass at school in years. It was difficult but so rewarding to see all the students and staff celebrating the Eucharist together on the first school day of the year. I am so inspired by the students’ participation in lunch groups, early morning events, and ministry teams. I am so privileged to be able to help them in developing their faith and learning more about their spirituality and ministering.

I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity of Ministering to the Youth of not only the school I was a student at but also students all over the Lismore diocese. I am beyond excited to see what the rest of this year holds.

Youth Minister Profile – Tiarne Rogers

Youth Minister Profile – Tiarne Rogers

Hey hey everyone! My name is Tiarne Rogers and I am a Youth Minister at Newman Senior Technical College, Port Macquarie! 

I have become a Youth Minister this year for so many reasons. To minister and be ministered to! It is as simple as 123. To be able to work with students who are eager to learn more and know more about themselves and their relationship with our Lord and for them to show me ways to grow closer to our Lord. Everyday I am at the school is amazing because I am able to connect and grow with students and learn more about their lives. Being a Youth Minister has got to be the most rewarding experience I will ever have.

This year, so much has already gone on! From the Lismore Equipping School for all Youth Ministers, to the LEAD Conference in Grafton, Kairos, masses and so much more. But for me, one thing that I am able to reflect on and be so grateful for has definitely got to be the Equipping School. This is where I met all my fellow Youth Ministers from the Lismore Diocese. I remember on the first day, we all kind of just hung around who we know and on the second day, we were a big family. I am so blessed to work with such a beautiful team of young men and women of Christ, who empower, love and encourage each other.

There is a whole list of things that I am looking forward to for the remainder of this year. The Shine Gathering, Vinnie’s school sleepout, Ignite Conference, Mission Trip and more. However, the one thing that I am SO excited for would definitely be the Ignite Conference in Brisbane. This year would be my third Ignite and I feel like it just gets better and better each year. I look forward to everything Ignite has to offer each year, but the rallies are always the highlight of my experience. Being able to praise and worship the Lord in such a powerful way alongside hundreds and hundreds of young people from across Australia blows my mind and to be able to witness the Holy Spirit working through not only the young people at the conference but also myself, amazes me.

I can’t wait for the rest of the year and to continue growing my love for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Youth Minister Profile – Anjalie Upasena

Youth Minister Profile – Anjalie Upasena


Hi there! My name’s Anjalie and I’m fortunate enough to be a Youth Minister at St Clare’s College this year. I’m 18 and I come from a family of three with me being the only child! I’m currently studying Medical Science at ANU and discovering all about life after school.


Although I graduated last year, I’m privileged enough to be able to go back into my old high school and to serve as a Youth Minister. My faith was fostered and nurtured in the culture of Youth Ministry especially at my high school which gave me the opportunity to be a part of a Youth Ministry Team and to associate myself with like minded young people who were also interested in discovering and growing in their own faith. What Youth Ministry offered was a personal, relational aspect to faith and to God himself; it wasn’t just restricted to traditional ways of thinking but it enabled me to accept faith as something of my own and helped me realise how important it is especially during my teenage years.


Seeing how important and critical faith was in my own life and the need I had for God to intervene and be present in my everyday made me realise how young people just like me in their own high schools are thirsting and longing for a love to satisfy them – however many do not know that this love is actually God’s. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to become a Youth Minister- to give young people the opportunity of knowing Jesus just like I had been presented with when I was their age. Being placed at my own old high school meant that I am able to go back and build on those existing friendships I’ve made with a lot of the girls and to see them grow and change into beautiful women of God.  


One of my many highlights of being a Youth Minister at St Clare’s is being able to go into different RE classes and to just have normal conversations with the girls and to meet them where they are at. One of the key first steps to evangelization, before even talking about God is to take the time to know that person and to become their friend; because we’re all called to accompany each other on this journey.


I’m excited for what is to come of this year and to continue to help all the girls discover that they’re beautiful daughters of God made for a sacrificial love.

Youth Minister Profile – Sarah Ziegler

Youth Minister Profile – Sarah Ziegler

My name is Sarah Ziegler and I am one of the Youth Ministers at James Sheahan Catholic High School in Orange, which is in the Bathurst diocese. I graduated Year 12 at James Sheahan last year with the completion of my HSC and am now spending my gap year in a year of mission. This year I am working alongside Will Tracey (Youth Minister) and Belinda Lee (REC: Mission) to implement effective engagement, participation and faith formation through mission in our school as well as in our wider Parish community.

Having been a student at a Catholic school, I understand and can relate to the importance of providing faith based opportunities for youth. As a student, I was eligible to take part in the CSYMA classes that were offered to Year 10 students at the time. The CSYMA classes enabled me to explore my faith with my peers through active ministry. The highlight of my CSYMA experience was being able to go out to Primary Schools around the Bathurst Diocese to facilitate retreats. When given the option to participate in active ministry, my peers and I really seized the opportunity by taking each program on board, thus allowing ourselves to be open about faith to enhance the experience for the primary school students, which in turn provided them with a powerful experience of faith through mission.

Being a part of this active ministry is an experience I’ll never forget, which is why, this year, I am striving to provide the students of James Sheahan and the youth of the wider Parish community opportunities that will lead them to active ministry. A large focus for both Will and myself this year is to encourage the youth in our school to become more actively involved with our Parish community. This focus can be seen through the Parish youth group, ELEVATE which runs every Sunday afternoon before mass. ELEVATE invites youth from Years 7-11 to gather in a safe and interactive space to explore their faith.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to partake in active ministry as it has allowed me to explore my journey of faith. For the remainder of the year, I look forward to providing and guiding those who wish to explore their faith and mission with a worthwhile experience, just as I have had and continue to have.