‘Called together – making the difference’ offers recommended framework for how youth ministry should be carried out in the Irish Church in the future.

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Launch

Renehan Hall, Maynooth
30th May 2009

Fr. Michael Kelleher, who faciliated the process who led to the publication of the framework document, made the following points at the launch of ‘Called Together – Making the Difference.

There are four points about the document that I regard as important:

  1. Firstly, this Framework Document promotes the renewal of many, if not all, aspects of Irish Church life.
  2. Secondly, it promotes a partnership model of youth ministry with parents, schools and colleges, parishes and dioceses, youth organizations and the wider community all working together for the good of Irish young people.
  3. Thirdly, it promotes a well-trained and well-resourced youth ministry mostly carried out by lay professionals following the highest standards with regard to safeguarding policies and procedures.
  4. Fourthly, it is not by any means the last word. It has been written after a two year process of consultation with young people and with those who work with them; some of you are here. The document tries to encourage and build on the good things that are already being done in many parts of the country. But, this document in its turn will need to be reviewed and updated in time; it’s only a step along the way.

This document is being published in 2009 in the midst of a major crisis in the Irish Church but also in the midst of a global financial crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen for nearly 80 years. Many people are asking: When will these crises be over? When will these crises be over’ may not be the most important question at this time. Perhaps the most important question is: How will these crises change us’? – How will they change our decision making? How will they change our ministerial priorities, our ways of living, the way we do things, the way we spend money? – With these crises there is also an opportunity. It would be a terrible thing not to seize the opportunity they offer!

This weekend, for Catholics around the world, the Easter Season concludes with the celebration of Pentecost. We remember that we are a people of the resurrection; a people of hope.

There is a real opportunity at this time for us as an Irish Church to clarify what it is we really stand for in the Ireland and world of today and how we really want to live our lives as followers of Jesus. In this time of economic and spiritual crisis, God’s people look to the Church for a positive response, for help, for direction, for service in solidarity. It is with this in mind that we promote a renewed option for young people in the Irish Church, North and South, today and into the future.

In the preparation of this document some young people were asked what gifts they contribute to the Irish Church. One responded: Longing to belong in a meaningful way and to make a difference:’ I think it was a L’Arche volunteer in Belfast who said those words. Even after all the painful realities of the past, many young people continue to feel this way. They still long to belong; they still long to belong in a meaningful way.

All that is best in the Irish Church longs to be a place where its younger members experience not only a profound respect but a strong sense of welcome, nurture and challenge. This document calls all of us together; it invites young people and the wider Irish Church to shape a new reality. The sponsors of this document are convinced that it’s working together that young people and the wider Irish Church can make a positive difference in Ireland and in the world. We are all Called Together to Make the Difference;’ we are committed to this now and will be into the future. We are committed to inviting young people to work with us as architects of a new future.

We celebrate Pentecost Sunday tomorrow. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus. With this in mind, the Framework Document is being launched today on the Vigil of Pentecost. My earnest prayer is that this Pentecost, the document and the Irish Church may receive a tail wind from the Holy Spirit into a better future.