The Cathedral Youth Group invites youth and young adults 15-30 to be involved in various projects and events where they can build relationships with each other and God; their spiritual life can be fed and nourished; and their journey of growing up Catholic can be supported and encouraged. The Youth Group meets most Sundays at 12.30pm commencing with BBQ lunch in the Cathedral Centre. All welcome!
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World Youth Day 2016
Thirty Tasmanians from across our beautiful state made the pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland. The pilgrimage was coordinated and led by Catholic Youth Ministry, the agency for youth and young adults in the Archdiocese of Hobart. En route to this faith-inspiring and life-changing event, Tasmanian Pilgrims had the opportunity to visit Rome, Assisi, Milan, Warsaw, Czestochowa, Aushwitz and Wadowice.
Rome was a spectacular opportunity for our Tasmanian pilgrims to connect with the early history of our Church and the heartland for Catholic pilgrims worldwide. They experienced St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum, Catacombs, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, climbed the Holy Stairs, St. Mary Major Basilica and soaked up the unique Roman atmosphere. A highlight for many was spending two days in Assisi, a picturesque medieval town dripping in the very spirituality and peaceful nature of St. Francis and St. Clare. A short stop in Milan, before flying into Warsaw and onwards to Czestochowa, the spiritual capital of Poland and home of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland. A place very special to the Catholic Church in Poland. Pilgrims then spent a significant moment in the horrific history of WWII at Auschwitz Memorial. As we moved towards Krakow, the place where it all happened, we spent a day at Wadowice, the birthplace of Saint John Paul II, the man responsible for the phenomenon that is World Youth Day.
Over 2.5 million young people gathered from all over the world in a magnificent celebration of our universal Church. During the World Youth Day week pilgrims participated in catechesis sessions with Bishops from across the world, youth festival activities, Australian Gathering, Opening Mass, Arrival of the Pope, Pilgrimage Walk for the site of the final Mass, Vigil, Sleep-out and Final Mass. It is a unique experience, it is intense, the presence of the Spirit is palpable. Our pilgrims thoroughly enjoyed the sense of belonging and fellowship, the incredible inspiration, deepening of their knowledge of Chruch, history and of themselves – including their faith. The way they shared and supported one another, opened themselves to prayer and to new and authentic experiences of the person of Christ, and were able to reflect on what this means for them in their life and what God might be calling them to was indicative of the beautiful pilgrim hearts they travelled with.
World Youth Day
Having never been a fan of large crowds, I closed my eyes and hoped for the best as I made my first pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) in Cologne, 2005. At the final Mass at Marienfield with 1.6 million young people from around the world, I sat in complete awe. I knew this had been a significant experience for me, but I was sure that it was a once off. I had no idea of the journey that would unfold from this point on.
I am now preparing for my fifth WYD, having worked with Catholic Youth Ministry for a number of years. As I begin preparations for WYD 2016 in Krakow, Poland, I reflect on exactly why it is I would undertake this experience again.
WYD is exciting. It comes complete with travel, crowds, lights, famous people, famous places and the horrific stories of toilets, queues and food that I am sure you’ve all heard! However, this is merely the shell within which something much more significant takes place.
Recent research suggests that the current generation of young people are more spiritually conscious and take greater ownership of their faith, than previous generations. They desire opportunities to explore the very core of their faith and long for authentic experiences of Christ. It might be hard to believe that within all the excitement and millions of people at WYD, young people find such opportunities.
The scale of a WYD pilgrimage invites young people to set aside significant time and space in their lives to explore their relationship with Christ. The journey is made in the supportive environment of peers, who understand the struggles of being a young person in the Catholic Church today. The feeling of knowing that four million young people gathered on Copacabana Beach with you because of their love of God and his Church is uplifting in an indescribable way.
WYD can give confidence, validation, and energy. It gives freedom to explore and it gives connection. Connection with something bigger than myself, and with something bigger than my being the only young person in my parish. These opportunities allow for intimate connection with God, and relationship with God’s people, in a context like no other. It is a powerful and spirit-filled experience.
It has been a privilege that I’m not sure will be rivalled in my lifetime (but I have been wrong before!) to walk alongside a number of Tasmanian young people on their WYD journey and witness their understanding and growth as members of our faith community. It has left me in no doubt of the significant impact of such an experience and that the Church is in safe hands with this generation of young people. This is why I will be fronting up to the WYD crowds once more in 2016.
By Rachelle Smith, Director of the Office for Youth 2016