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Tuesday, 30 November 2021 09:38

SVD Youth launches vision of 'being missionary disciples'

SVD Youth launch Nov 2021 550Young people in SVD parishes and migrant chaplaincies in Australia will be invited to join an exciting new initiative, ‘SVD Youth’, which launched in Queensland on Sunday.

The SVD Youth is an offshoot of the SVD AUS Province’s Vocations Ministry and aims to gather young people together for mission formation and to nourish and support them in their spiritual journey.

SVD Youth was launched on Sunday, November 28 at Inala Parish in Brisbane as part of the parish’s delayed Mission Day celebration, with a vibrant gathering of young people from a range of cultural backgrounds joining together in prayer and reflection, praise and worship.

There was a talk on the theme of ‘Vocation: What is God calling our Youth to today?’, along with recreational activities, and a shared lunch. The day concluded with Holy Mass, with the liturgy prepared by the youth.

Province Vocations Coordinator, Fr Yon Wiryono SVD, says the idea for SVD Youth sprang from the realisation that Christian vocations, whether to religious life, marriage or single life, require opportunities for formation.

“The seed of vocations needs to be planted in good and rich soil,” Fr Yon says. “And the soil is our youth. The soil needs to be prepared. It needs to be cultivated and it needs nourishment to grow.”

Fr Yon says the second reason for combining the SVD Youth and Vocations Ministry is that it will help form a common identity for young people associated with SVD parishes, chaplaincies and other ministries.

He says it will build on the great work already being done in SVD parish youth groups.

“The vision is to inspire our youth in the spirit of the vision of the universal Church,” he says. “Pope Francis very often talks about being a missionary Church. The Australian Plenary Council also gives the Australian vision for our Church to nourish missionary disciples, centred in Christ.

“What does this vision of a missionary Church mean for our youth? I feel this is an opportunity for mission. The SVD, with its mission-focus can do something here. Our charism and approach in our ministry is all about mission. We have much to offer and contribute to the Church in forming and making missionary disciples.

“So, what we are trying to achieve is to enrich our youth with our SVD mission-focused spirituality.”

Fr Yon says the motto of SVD Youth is: ‘Called to be missionary disciples!’

“Hopefully this will give our young people the focus and vision and belief that they have a mission. All baptised Christians are sent out to be missionaries to the world,” he says.

SVD Youth will feature a great collaboration, called Youth Link, among all SVD youth groups in both parishes and chaplaincies.

“The SVD focuses its mission on promoting the Word of God,” Fr Yon says. “So, YouthLink is an opportunity for our youth to have formation in Bible study, Lectio Divina and practicing Bible sharing, to make the Word of God central to young peoples’ lives and help form them to be Christ-centred people.”

The youth will also be introduced to other activities of the Province, including Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation and mission animation – reaching out to the poor, marginalised and needy. They will be encouraged to share their faith with their friends and shown how to make disciples in the secular world. There could even be opportunities to be sent for special missionary work overseas when that is once again possible.

“We hope to encourage the young people to be missionaries in their own world, which includes the online space,” Fr Yon says.

“From the beginning of our congregation, communication in magazines and newsletters, has been central to spreading the Word of God.

“The challenge for our youth is how to use social media for mission, to spread the word of God, to make disciples. How can we be missionary disciples in a digital world? Instead of using social media only for fun activities, how can we be missionary disciples on that platform?”

Fr Yon says the vision statement for the new SVD Youth ministry is: “To effectively and intentionally invite young people to develop their personal relationship with Jesus, foster their faith growth through youth ministry activities that bring young people encouragement, support, and accompaniment to witness to the faith in Jesus joyfully, as young, enthusiastic and active missionary disciples of Christ in the world in the spirit of the Divine Word Missionaries.

The vision for the SVD’s Vocations Ministry which operates alongside SVD Youth is: To accompany our youth in discerning vocations; by presence, support, listening, faith sharing and celebration; at the same time, to promote vocations in general and priesthood/consecrated life specifically. We are called to foster the culture of vocations in our parishes, chaplaincies and communities”.

“It was great to kick off the SVD Youth on the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Church year,” Fr Yon says. “It’s a kind of adventure with this new initiative in youth ministry in the Province, focusing on mission for young people, for the young Church.”

Fr Yon says the young people present at the launch welcomed SVD Youth enthusiastically and are looking forward to being part of the vision of being missionary disciples.