JPC Catch the Wave!

By Hannah McMahon

On Tuesday the 19th of June, St John Paull II College in Canberra had their first ever Catch the Wave retreat for the Year 9’s!

We ran the day in 2 sessions, both with approximately 70 students in each. The sessions focussed on the analogy of ‘catching the wave of faith’.

We had a team of 6 youth ministers from the Canberra and Goulburn Diocese. The team did an amazing job running the day – with some fantastic icebreakers, dramas, personal sharings, talks, activities and small groups. We were so thankful to have Deacon Namora from Holy Spirit Parish come and visit too!

The excitement started with some engaging icebreakers and a charade. The open and positive attitude of the students was exemplified from early in the day when some brave year 9 students put their hands up to perform the charade in front of their peers! We then performed a drama, and as the youth minister of St. John Paul II I gave a personal sharing. Jordan Hodge finished this session with a talk focussed on the theme ‘Follow = Come + Go’.

Finally the students had a time to reflect and respond. There was an opportunity for them to come forward for a blessing from the youth ministers. It was incredible to see majority of the students come forward for this blessing, and being open to ‘catching the wave of faith’.

A massive thank you to everyone that was involved in the day especially the youth ministers from Canberra Goulburn and the teachers from St John Paul II College. I can’t wait to see the year 9’s in their Youth Ministry classes next semester!





More than a Selfie

by Jemarnie Orge

You’re more beautiful than your selfie.

Our beauty is not defined by a selfie, no matter how good the lighting might be, how great the camera quality is or if you took the picture with an iPhone or an Android.

Beauty is more than an image of your face from one angle.

As cheesy and as cliché as it sounds, it is true when people say that a person is equally as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. Beauty can come from within, instead of outward appearances, but this concept can be forgotten. In a selfie, you can’t visually see what makes a person beautiful on the inside. Rather, it can be witnessed by people you meet face to face.

Real beauty can come from within your heart. It can come from positive thoughts, it then can evolve when you are genuinely happy for yourself and others, it can be born from a place of self-acceptance, selflessness and compassion. It can appear when you are your authentic self.

We are made in the perfect image of God. God poured his heart and soul into crafting us, his wonderful masterpieces. To deny our beauty and limit it to a selfie is to deny God and his creation.
















What matters in Ministry

by Katie Golding

On the 13th of May at 5:30pm, families from all around the Belconnen Region gathered together for a youth mass at Saint Michaels Church, Kaleen. This was the first youth mass for Saint Michaels church and it was great to see so many new faces in the parish. As a youth minister, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in all of the technicalities of organising an event. I was stressing before the mass wondering if everyone was going to arrive on time and if they would know when to stand up and read their parts. Although as soon as the mass began I felt peace knowing that it doesn’t really matter if any of the youth volunteers made a mistake. What matters is that they were excited to go to mass to come together and pray and be a genuine example that there are youth in Belconnen living out the life and mission of the church.

After the youth mass I was speaking to local parishioners who were ecstatic that the initiative had taken place and saw a need in the parish for it to continue. I couldn’t agree more! My goal is to have a reoccurring monthly youth mass at Saint Michaels Church and the youth mass last month laid a very promising foundation.

An Abundance of SPIRIT

The cold Canberra morning was not enough to deter young people from across Canberra-Goulburn gathering together for the SPIRIT retreat.

It was hard to hear above the laughter and chatter as Youth Ministers and participants got to know each other first thing in the morning. Alannah Hodge, one of the Youth Ministers, said that “one of my favourite memories from the day was playing a massive game of Uno with the participants, where the room was filled with laughter”. She explained that “the SPIRIT retreat broke open the theme of ‘encountering the Holy Spirit’”.

Throughout the day, the themes of God’s Love, The Gift of Jesus and the Holy Spirit were explored through talks, testimony, small groups and drama. The participants were invited to respond to the messages through reconciliation and adoration. Alannah highlighted that “to see the room full of excitement be stilled by Adoration and worship was inspiring”.

St. Benedict’s Church in Narrabundah was standing room only as the participants of the SPIRIT retreat joined the parish community for 6pm mass. The community cohesiveness is one aspect of the retreat that Chiara Catanzariti, the St. Benedict’s Youth Minister, really noticed about the day.

“The Spirit retreat was a huge outpouring of God’s grace not only for the participants during the day but also for the leaders and community where we could see the tangible movement of the Holy Spirit from the retreat later in the mass when we gathered as one body.”

“It was a joy to see the youth move deeper in their desire for our Lord in all aspects of their life…” she said.

“The retreat affirmed for many the real loving nature of God and how when we, His beloved, invite Him into all parts of our life we don’t have to fear that we will be changed but instead the truth that we will be bought to the fullness of who we were created to be.”

Blog: Adoration 101

by Hannah McMahon

YMI Youth Minister (Canberra-Goulburn)

Adoration has this vast peace that the world can not give. It is as though I am in a balloon of grace. All of the anxieties, weights and pressures that I am carrying on my shoulders seem to disappear when I enter into adoration. When I leave, I feel nothing but peace and reassurance.

I still remember the very first time I went to adoration, I had no idea what I was doing and if I was doing it right. Have you ever gone to adoration, felt like you weren’t doing it right? Felt like you were failing? I can tell you now, that you aren’t the only one! I have come up with three points to help you when it comes to entering into adoration:

  1. DON’T COMPARE: There is no ‘right way’ to enter into adoration. It is your own personal time with God, and He is happy you are there with him. So don’t compare the way that you are spending your time in Adoration with how other people are, because their relationship with God is completely different to yours.
  2. PRAY: There is something so extraordinary about praying in Adoration, whether it be a formal prayer or a conversation with God, I encourage you to try it. St. Josemaria Escriva said “The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” Bring your rosary beads and pray, because all of God’s graces pass through Mother Mary.
  3. BE OKAY WITH SILENCE: Sometimes silence can make us feel uncomfortable, that we have to fill it with something. But it is okay to be silent. It will bring you an overwhelming sense of peace to just sit in the presence of God.

I am often so caught up in the busyness of life that I hardly find myself in Adoration, but in fact it is those who can’t find time for prayer that need to pray the most, because it is like any relationship, you have to find the time to spend with God.


Shine, Broken Bay

On the 14th of May, St. Peter’s Catholic College in Tuggerah hosted the first ever Shine Gathering in Broken Bay!

The day brought approximately 250 students together from across the Broken Bay Diocese to engage with the Year of Youth Theme “Opening New Horizons for Spreading Joy”.

Internationally renowned musician Steve Angrisano was present for the whole day – leading the group in praise and worship, prayer as well as running engaging workshops. Some very talented St. Peter’s Youth Ministry students were MCs for the day, and began the day with prayer. The group engaged in some praise and worship with Steve, and then saw the Youth Ministers International (YMI) team perform a drama. The drama debrief, testimony and talk all challenged the participants to share their god given gifts with everyone they engage with, and to open themselves up to experience the light that a relationship with Jesus offers.

After some more praise, participants headed to their workshop sessions. There were many engaging workshops, including: leadership, testimony, pilgrimage, music ministry, drama, ice-breakers, youth ministry skills, wellbeing and faith and multimedia and faith. The students were engaged during the workshops and they took away some practical skills!

After lunch, the group gathered together for a talk from a YMI youth minster and heard some testimony’s from some of the St. Peter’s Catholic College Youth Ministry students. The day culminated in a prayer response, where participants were invited to come forward for a blessing from the St. Peter’s Youth Ministry team and the YMI Youth Ministers. The day finished with some praise and worship with Steve Angrisano before the participants headed home.

A huge thank you to the St. Peter’s team and Michael Tobin for organising the amazing day, to Steve Angrisano and the YMI Youth Ministers – and of course all of the students for their participation and openness.

We are so excited to see what the rest of the year holds for Broken Bay!

CTW Western Deanery

Written by Nathan Galea, CE Canberra-Goulburn

On the 5 and 6 of April our central schools from the western region gathered together for a combined Catch the Wave retreat experience with hundreds of students from years 8 and 9 in Tumut, Temora and Cootamundra. The two days were run by our Archdiocesan youth Ministers with Catholic Education office, they were powerful youth ministry retreats that were designed to assist in launching the CSYMA Youth Ministry framework in our regional areas.

Some of the students stated in their feedback that one of the things they took away from retreat was that they “ came to realise that God is always there for me”, “ that God loves everyone equally” “ That God knows me, and I am more than the labels people put on me”, “It showed me how Jesus sacrificed his life for me so that I can live”

In feedback from one of the REC’s she stated “ it was an excellent retreat day. I thought the team were so well prepared, they were engaging and excellent presenters – carried themselves with confidence and sincerity. Impressive young people; tell them that please, they need to know that their choice of service in youth ministry to evangelise is well appreciated and that they are having an impact. Our retreats have continued to provide a quality experience for the students, thank you.”

Porta Fidei Canberra

On the 10th of May, teachers from around the Canberra-Goulburn Diocese gathered together to take time to connect with their faith. Porta Fidei means “door of faith”, and throughout the retreat, participants were encouraged to take a step towards their faith and to reconnect with God.

Steve Kirk blessed the retreat with his music ministry throughout the day, and led participants in prayer to begin the morning. The morning session focussed on God’s love, where Bernadette Meffert and Michael Monagle’s shared their personal experiences of God’s love.

Session two focussed on the Kerygma where Fr. Chris Eaton spoke about the Salvation message, and session three centred around the renewal of faith. Fr. Tony Percy spoke about the importance and significance of reconciliation and Sarah Pearson shared her personal experience of reconciliation. Participants were then given the chance to respond by participating in adoration and reconciliation.

The day finished with sharings from Peter Woods and Kate McManus Green on teaching being a vocation – refreshing the participants’ beliefs in the importance and value of teachers in Catholic Schools.

We cannot wait for the next Porta Fidei!

Leading the NE

Graduate Certificate in Education: Leading the New Evangelisation Unit Two
“Creating Centres of the New Evangelisation”

The second unit of the Graduate Certificate in Education: Leading the New Evangelisation run through the Australian Catholic University was held at St. Christopher’s Pastoral Centre in Canberra across the 14th and 15th of April.

This unit focussed on examining and critiquing the current approaches to creating schools as centres of the New Evangelisation. Students engaged in practical workshops and seminars around planning and leading staff and student faith formation experiences and explored current models of Youth Ministry (the CSYMA four phase model), as well as engaged in critical thought and discussion around these current approaches. Br. David Hall, Dean of the ACU La Salle Academy also gave a guest lecture on Creating Centres of the New Evangelisation.

It was wonderful to see so many people gathered together, committed to bringing creative ideas and new ways of thinking to their communities, in order to enact the vision of creating Catholic schools as centres of the New Evangelisation.

Some of the participant feedback included:

The unit was particularly informative and practical. The balance of lecture input, discussion and workshop presentations was perfect. I am excited about the future of Catholic schools.

These are great units for those involved as RE teachers and leaders in school settings. They are fundamental for any teacher engaging in the Church and with young people.

The LNE is incredibly important to recognize and embrace the importance of youth in the survival of the Church. The LNE focused on this.

New participants can join the Graduate Certificate in Education: Leading the New Evangelisation in Unit One Faith Formation in the New Evangelisation in August when it runs again from the 17th – 19th in Canberra.




Lismore LEAD

Fall on Rich Soil

 The power of the Diocese of Lismore, Catholic Schools Office LEAD Conference is in the witness of faithful Youth Ministers speaking truth into the lives of curious but doubtful, generous but busy, energetic but limited senior High School Students. More than ever, the LEAD Conference demonstrated the need for young people to come together and share an encounter with God.

In the words of the participants, something I learnt about my faith…

 “To never give up and drive away from God through tough times. Keep him in your soul and mind forever and always ask him for advice. He will always listen and help. He doesn’t favour one person over another.”

“I learnt that I need to make use of the people in my life who are there to support me in my faith.”

“That being in the presence of God is enough and how much I love praise and worship sessions.”

This year we broke open the theme ‘Fall on Rich Soil’ from the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:8. The theme had a life of it’s own. It encouraged the young people to find the rich soil of a Parish, discipleship community or a Youth Ministry Team, and to allow themselves to grow steadily in faith. The Proclaim Band guided the Conference in energetic and prayerful rallies, the YMOs taught from their genuine experiences in the Keynotes and Workshops and the student testimony was a highlight for many.

We’re all excited to see the fruit of the event in the Spirit-filled action of the seniors in their respective schools.

Yours faithfully,

Lismore Catholic Schools Office