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Tina Martic sets her heart on youth ministry after Vatican internship

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youth ministry - The Catholic weekly
Tina Martic meeting Pope Francis. Photo: Supplied

St Declan’s Penshurst made a strong showing at a recent International Congress on Youth Ministry held at the Vatican, where parish priest Fr Chris Ryan MGL was invited as a speaker and former parishioner and Vatican intern Tina Martic an organiser. 

Martic, 22, is nearing the end of a five-month internship at the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which she is undertaking as part of her double degree in Law and Global Studies at the Australian Catholic University. 

From behind the scenes, she helped bring more than 300 young people and ministry leaders from more than 100 nations together in Rome. 

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The discussions hosted by the dicastery aimed to support the 2025 Jubilee for Youth to be held in Rome, and the next World Youth Day to be hosted in Seoul, South Korea in 2027. 

Participants at the May conference explored themes from Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ 2019 apostolic exhortation on young people, faith and vocations. 

“It was absolutely amazing to see so many young people come from all over the world just to enrich and become more authentic in their faith,” Martic told The Catholic Weekly. 

“To see them with this love for the living Christ and wanting to share it with their friends and others all over the world was incredible, and a first for me as I’ve never been to a World Youth Day.” 

youth ministry - The Catholic Weekly
Participants at the International Congress on Youth Ministry. Photo: Supplied

A recipient of an Archbishop’s Award for Excellence in 2019, Martic supports the music ministry team at St Anthony of Padua Croatian Catholic church, Summer Hill.  

Living at the ACU campus near the trendy suburb of Trastevere on the edge of Vatican City, she works with the dicastery’s communications office translating articles, letters and speeches from Italian to English.  

She also assists the youth office to prepare for international events. 

She was surprised to see Fr Ryan listed as a speaker and also ran into St Declan’s former assistant priest, Fr Moses Kim, who is on the organising committee for the next World Youth Day. 

Fr Ryan joined the official Aussie delegation, comprised of director of the National Centre for Evangelisation Malcolm Hart, and Kyle Correya, a youth and music ministry leader from the Archdiocese of Melbourne. 

He spoke on the centrality of evangelisation to youth ministry, agreeing with Pope Francis that youth are best placed to bring Christ and his Gospel to their peers. 

“Young people are actually really good at introducing the person of Christ to their peers and just need to be freed to do that,” he said. 

The congress ended with an opportunity for a private audience and to meet the Holy Father, a moment Martic describes as “an amazing experience.” 

youth ministry - The Catholic weekly
Tina Martic as a palm bearer in the Palm Sunday procession in St Peter’s Square. Photo: Supplied

“I thanked him for his kind words in his address and asked if he would pray for me and my family and he asked that I do the same for him,” she said. 

She says her internship experience has set her on a path of youth ministry when she finishes university this year. 

“If I could stay here I would continue working in the Vatican, or I’ll bring something back to Sydney and start a youth group, or something like that.” 

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