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WYD, Fidelis give Purpose to Youth

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with pilgrims at the church of the Shepherd’s Field. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with pilgrims at the church of the Shepherd’s Field. Photo: Mat De Sousa

By Milad Khalil

To say that it has been a huge year of youth ministry in Sydney would be an understatement.

As the Sydney Catholic Youth team attempt to wind down and spend some time reflecting upon 2023, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude, appreciation and support for, and from, the young church in Sydney.

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The Sydney Catholic Youth strategic plan, the “Purpose Mission Pathway” really came to life in 2023, and the SCY team cannot wait to continue to develop ways to draw as many young people as possible into a life with Christ and his church, and offer opportunities to discover their God-given purpose.

Well over 700 young pilgrims from across Sydney and Australia embarked on a journey of a lifetime to World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. They witnessed the universal church alive and thriving at what has become the biggest international gathering of young people.

The journey began on Sydney turf, with hundreds of pilgrims immersing themselves in catechetical and liturgical formation at the popular monthly young adult gathering, “Fidelis.”

A very moving candle-light procession around the St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima followed by massive pre- and post-WYD celebrations ignited the hearts and minds of pilgrims. The fire continues to burn.

Among all the pre and post WYD activities, the Sydney Catholic Youth team continued to offer high schoolers, young adults and youth leaders an array of “Purpose” initiatives.

The newly established “Purpose High” program saw hundreds of high school students opt-in to ongoing faith formation, with the SCY team delivering school workshops and refection days in 15 Catholic schools across Sydney.

Parish based youth leaders experienced a live-in youth ministry formation and training immersion weekend as part of the “Purpose Youth Leaders” program.

One particular highlight was the newly-launched “Hands of Mercy” program, which saw young adults offer their time and service to the elderly and the Little Sisters of the Poor at Mount Saint Joseph Home.

The year culminated at the inaugural “Purpose Conference,” which saw close to 2000 participants celebrate their Catholic faith across two unforgettable days.

Purpose Conference really had something for everyone including festival entertainment, food and desert trucks, inflatable rides and games, expo stalls, Catholic creatives, powerful encounters with Christ through the sacraments, and of course mind blowing, hilarious and life changing talks by international guest speakers Jason Evert and Matt Fradd.

It’s safe to say that 2023 couldn’t have ended on more of a high. Thanks be to God.

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