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Setting the tone helps young Catholics

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North Sydney Parish’s Michael Paton leads the Youth Mass Masterclass at North Sydney. PHOTO: CCER

How do you get young Catholics to come to Mass every week?

That was the question answered at the recent Masterclass on How to Run a Successful Youth Mass held by Michael Paton, the Youth and Music Minister for Our Lady of the Way, North Sydney.

More than 40 people from parishes across greater Sydney and the central coast attended the masterclass hosted by Parish 2020, an evangelisation initiative of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

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Through interactive sessions Michael explained how he has used music to grow weekly youth Mass attendance from 150 to 500 people—an increase of more than 300 percent—by directing each element of the liturgy to young people.

“While song choices are really important, the most important thing is to reflect on the readings for each week, and where we are in the Mass when we are singing,” he told them, adding that music ministers needed to be creative with “what we have got in the Church’s wonderful tradition”.

“The music has got to be good, with theologically sound lyrics, it’s got to be joyful and to energise people in some way or another, no matter what emotion you are trying to be convey.”

Singing together at Mass contributes to creating “the communion that we so long for”, he added.

Woman sings at North Sydney
Following the sessions, attendees sang at a Mass led by Bishop Richard Umbers. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Following the Masterclass the parish youth leaders practised their new skills at a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Richard Umbers.

Director of Parish 2020 Tony Farley said the event showcased effective collaboration between parishes.

“The Masterclass is a great example of what we can achieve by coming together to share our talents,” he said.

“Parish 2020’s aim is to strengthen these links so that we can all build thriving, sustainable parishes.”

For information or to make suggestions call Parish 2020 on 02 9390 5255, email [email protected], or visit

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