During the last clergy conference in December 2016 much time was devoted to the youth apostolate in our church. Those present stated that the priests, deacons, and sisters need to better understand the phenomenon of modern youth culture.

We all know that this is a cross cultural and international issue which is not particular to just our Ukrainian church. Indeed Ukrainian youth born in Australia, and the youth who migrated to this country and now live here share a common cultural environment with the youth of this nation

However we are all affected and first of all need to understand the matter and then to feel comfortable that the church is moving forward with the proper understanding of the issues. Recently the Vatican published a useful Preparatory Document for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. In an insightful analysis of the social sphere in which youth now live the document describes the main characteristic of contemporary societies as a rapid process of change and transformation. I quote from the document:

Globally, the contemporary world is marked by a culture based on “science”, oftentimes dominated by technology and the endless possibilities science promises, within which “sadness and loneliness appear to be on the rise, not least among young people” (Misericordia et misera, 3)

To help understand the issues surrounding the question, the Eparchy is very fortunate to have secured one of the world’s leading experts on the matter of struggles of faith amongst our faithful. Professor and researcher Michael Mason has agreed to lead the clergy of the Eparchy in a three day retreat/reflection on the topic. Fr. Michael Mason is a Redemptorist priest who has some knowledge of our Ukrainian community.

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The retreat will be followed by a soborchyk which will attempt to formulate a plan for pastoral activity which responds to the needs of youth. An initial question we will consider is: How does the Church help young people accept their call to the joy of the Gospel, especially in these times of uncertainty, volatility, and insecurity.

The conference centre at Warbuton, Victoria, has been booked for the days of 14th to 19th of May 2017.

The topic is extremely relevant and important for our future ministry in our eparchy. The world has changed and our church must adapt to what is in front of us.

XPeter Stasiuk C.Ss.R.

Eparch for Ukrainian Catholics in

Australia, New Zealand and Oceania