Throughout the weekend delegates will hear from inspiring speakers on a wide variety of topics of interest in the field of youth ministry from some of our most experienced Youth Workers from throughout New Zealand, Australia and the USA. Of course there will be our Key note talks but also over 15 Workshop options across three streams, from Novice Skills to Advance Youth Work.

Workshop options will include :

– Evangelisation, Catechesis & Pastoral Care (Journeying with our Young People)
– Faith in Action & Human Dignity 
– Using social media effectively (Engaging with this generation)
– A new sacramental generation (Prayer, Liturgy and the sacraments with Young People)
– Community, Youth Ministry Advocacy & Structure (Basic Youth Group planning & Advanced Youth Ministry Structure Workshops)
– Creating dynamic events – 
– The importance of Family in Youth Ministry
– Helping Young People Discern Gods call
– Building an effective Youth Music Ministry Team
-Leadership Development and Formation of Youth and Young Adults
More Details on Workshops and Speakers will be provided as they become available. There is also a draft timetable of the conference below. Please note it is likely that there will be some changes to the final timetable. 
Jimmy Mitchell image
Keynote Speaker – Jimmy Mitchell

Our Key note speaker for the Conference is Jimmy Mitchell who spoke to our young leaders and youth at Life Teen Camp last year. Everyone was really impressed by his style and message and we know he will be full of inspiration for everyone.

Originally from Atlanta, Jimmy moved to Music City, USA in 2008 to pursue undergraduate studies in business and philosophy from Vanderbilt University. His two great passions for mentoring young people and supporting artists led him in and out of seminary studies and missionary work before eventually founding Mysterium in 2010.

Mysterium comes alongside institutions and movements within the Church to help young people discover the mystery of God’s love and the beauty of Christian culture. Their products and events provide the initial encounter with this great mystery while creative partnerships with churches, schools, and organizations seek to lay the foundation everywhere for lasting cultural renewal.

Though many describe him as a traveling troubadour and serial entrepreneur, nothing better defines Jimmy than his deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his zeal for souls.

Find out more at http:/

Youth Ministry Framework
Workshop Options
These First Five Workshop Options will be presented twice to two different stream groups.

Standard Stream

For people who might be new to Ministry with young people or exploring the particular workshop topic for the first time. These sessions will have plenty of input from the speaker and time for questions and clarification at the end.

Advanced Stream

For people who have been in Ministry with young people for a while or who are exploring how to grow a particular aspect of ministry in their community. These sessions will start with input from the presenter and have plenty of time at the end for group questions, discussions and brainstorming.
Key note Speaker and Workshop
Engaging young People in Justice and Service
Roby Curtis
Roby Curtis is the founder of Blind Eye Ministries where he works on the frontline in ministry to the homeless and indigenous. His work involves sharing his Catholic faith with those in homeless hostels and in remote Indigenous Communities. He is passionate about young Catholics embracing the poor in their locals communities and seeking to provide opportunities of Church and Christian Community for them. He is also a worship leader and songwriter with Emmanuel worship. He is a husband and father of 6 children and his family play a fundamental role in his ministry involvements.

Session: Roby Presents on why he is passionate about his Ministry and how he see’s an essential call to Justice and Action in response to the Gospel call and the Sacraments. In his Workshops Roby gets down to some of the nuts and bolts of what you do and the challenges of engaging young people in a Social Justice ministry. 

Preparing For Mission and Caring for our Young people on Mission

(Evangelisation & Pastoral Care)

Maria Boddington
Maria Boddington is Mission Team Coordinator for the Christchurch Diocese.  She has been working in Youth Ministry since 1998 and is also a qualified Award Winning Hairdresser.  By the age of 23 she had journey to 23 countries all in the cause of Mission and has worked with YWAM, ICPE, Cool Bananas, Bibles in Schools, and Lifeteen.  She is the New Zealand’s Lifeteen Summer Camp director. Maria Boddington resides in Christchurch, New Zealand. Maria is passionate about forming Young people and others for the mission of sharing the Good News.
Its such a blessing how many young people, once they have had a taste of the grace and power of God working in the church, are willing to give of their time and gifts to engage in and strengthen it’s ministry and build up the Kingdom of God. But how do we ensure that our young people are prepared for and supported while on mission. Maria will be sharing from her experience of years of being on mission herself and now in her role of as Mission team coordinator for the Diocese of Christchurch where she is working with other staff to refine and hone the training and support structures for young people on mission in the Diocese.


Sharing a passion for the Sacraments & Prayer

Carmela Nepomuceno

Carmela is a professed ice cream and Jesus lover who has been serving in youth ministry for Couples For Christ  & Youth for Christ for 7 years. I enjoy creating with my hands, being in service for others and most especially, learning about God’s crazy, unending and incredibly abundant Love and Mercy for us through the Sacraments!
Session: Carmela breaks open the topic of Prayer and the Sacraments and why she believes they are a true gift to our young people. She will share some of the experience that she has had in exploring prayer and the sacraments with young people why she is so passionate about it. Together you will explore what are some of the key points to consider when preparing sacraments and prayer with and for young people and some of the challenges of this area of ministry and how might we best manage those challenges.

Leadership Development, Catechesis and Formation

Fr Michael Therese Scheerger
Fr. Michael Therese is originally from San Jose, California.  Fr. Michael graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1996 and entered the Congregation of St. John in 1997.  He trained in France for 5 years.  He has dedicated 2 years to missionary work in India and 12 years in Laredo Texas, on the Border of Mexico. He was ordained in 2007.  Fr. Michael has fourteen years of experience working in Tertiary ministry and taught philosophy at Texas A&M International University. He has led many camps, retreats and pilgrimages. He is now responsible for the Tertiary Ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, NZ.  He is an avid tramper and enjoys canoeing.
Fr Michael will share from his experience of many years working in ministry with young people on University Campus’. Part of his long term strategy is to minister to and  form teams of young people who go on to become the ministers themselves. He will share about his passion for Catechesis and developing young leaders and explore with us the challenges and blessings in this area of ministry. What tips can he give us for doing this more effectively in our communities? 

Creating Sustainable Youth Ministry in our Communities.

James Bryant
Delbert Castillo

James Bryant

James is currently the Manager for the Catholic Youth Team in Christchurch. Originally hailing from Australia, has years of experience at various levels of youth ministry. James has been leading Youth teams for over 19 years both at parish and Diocesan levels and has a passion for forming young people in their faith and ministry roles. An important part of this is helping to create support systems that will ensure a sustainable model of ministry in our communities.

Delbert Castillo

Delbert is the Parish Support Coordinator for the Diocese of Christchurch. Delbert has been involved in Ministry since first experiencing a CYT camp as a teenager. He is a graduate of Mission Team 2013.

Delbert is passionate about Ministry with young people in our communities and helped set up the flourishing St Teresa’s Youth Group which and his wife Aiber still facilitate. He is also a gifted worship leader and is on the leadership team for CYT’s EXALT Music Ministry.

We all know that being involved in Ministry while being a blessing can be challenging as well. A large number of people last only a short while in Youth Ministry in particular and many will tell you that often their Community youth programme go through strong periods and times where they struggle and sometimes collapse. But do we need to accept that this is the way it is or is there something we can put in place to support our Youth Workers and make them and their ministry more resilient. What would a sustainable Youth Ministry look like and what are some elements that we might try to put in place in our community to ensure a long term plan for ministry with young people. James will share a little of his model for sustainable youth ministry and will be supported by two of our local youth leaders Mike and Delbert as they share their challenges and ideas from their experiences in Youth Ministry
Shared Stream Options

Most of the following workshop options will be offered throughout the weekend as alternatives to the above core topics. Most of them will be presented once only but one or two key ones will be repeated.

Alister Castillo and Emily McGuire – Discerning Gods Call
 Deacon Alister Castillo is nearing the end of his training at Holy Cross Seminary and will be ordained a priest for the Christchurch Diocese in July. Alister has been involved with Youth Ministry since year 12 and in 2009 worked for the Catholic Youth Team in Christchurch. Even though he has been in the seminary for the last 6 years, he has been involved with youth events during his breaks throughout the year. Alister is not only passionate about Youth Ministry, but is passionate about showing young people that the vocation of priesthood is actually quite exciting!                                                                                                                                      


Exploring the topic of discernment & assisting young people to discern Gods call in their lives both from a vocational sense and also from an everyday perspective. How do we work out what Gods will is for our lives, how can we explore this challenging topic with young people and journey with them through this process. What challenges does this area of ministry pose. What are some ideas for how we can navigate this area more effectively as a church? How might we encourage and support families in assisting their young people with discernment and making good decisions.  

Dave Mullin: – Social Media and Online Resources – Communicating the Gospel in a critical age

Presenter: David Mullin

David Mullin is a project manager for the Diocese of Palmerston North and acting director for the Catholic Enquiry Centre.  David has a 20 year history of involvement in Catholic ministry, management, and communications in New Zealand and Australia. David is keen to share his experiences and facilitate a discussion on the Church’s communication challenges and opportunities in Aotearoa today.


What do youth ministers need to consider when deciding how to engage through digital media?
What help do you need to start and succeed?

What are other people doing that I can join in with?

We will

  • explore culture and the Church’s contribution to it in Aotearoa today,
ask how we can communicate within our culture, and leave with a framework based on the Catholic Tradition as we deepen our contribution.
Viane Makalio : Awareness of diversity in our communities and in our Ministry

Talofa Lava my name is Viane Makalio I have been in  working with the Catholic youth team for the last 12 years helping in various roles such as small group leading, interim youth coordinator, Youth group leader and I am currently the Events Coordinator at CYT, Christchurch. Outside of the Catholic youth team I am a trustee of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council (Where we encourage and support young Pacific youth to engage in democracy). We also run Cultural competency workshops for different Work places.I have also worked for the Pacific Development Team  and a Pacific Mentor at the University of Canterbury where I helped to run and facilitate events to engage Pacific youth with their studies and encourage intergenerational conversations to happen. I have also helped to organise and MC the Strengthening the Youth Sector hui here in Christchurch. I am also involved with Youth Voice Canterbury and I am a Youth Audit Team leader. I was also the recipient of the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust Leadership Award at the Canterbury Youth Awards.

Session: “Awareness of diversity in our communities and building that awareness into our Ministry.” Planning ministry with an awareness of the diversity in our community is not just a ‘nice’ or good thing to do but is essential if our ministry is going to powerfully and effectively proclaim the message of the love of our God to everyone in our community. Diversity takes into consideration the cultural differences of members our community but also includes differences in family structure, economic backgrounds and geographical differences to name just some. Viane will break open this topic for us and share on his experiences and how he is striving to consider the diversity of our community and its young people as he organises events and programmes in the Diocese of Christchurch.  

Maria Pais -Young people, Relationships and Theology of the Body

Maria Pais describes herself as “an enthusiastic Catholic” who has lived in Zambia, England, Afghanistan and New Zealand. She has practiced as an Optometrist for over ten years also works in Marriage and Family Life ministry in the Auckland Diocese. Before taking on the Diocesan role was part of parish, regional and diocesan youth ministry for over fifteen years.

Maria is extremely passionate about enabling young people to understand their uniqueness and opening eyes to the truth and joy of Christ’s love.  Maria has a great love for St John Paul II and the life changing message of his teachings on human dignity, love and Theology of the Body.  Maria is currently doing a Masters in Theology from John Paul II Institute, Melbourne.

In her free time Maria enjoys cardio kickboxing. She is an avid sports fan with a special interest in football and rugby. Her favourite movies are Bella and October Baby.

Exploring the topic “Young people, relationships and Theology of the Body.” This can be a challenging topic for Christian youth workers and parents to explore with young people. Maria shares about her own experience on presenting and engaging young people with this topic. She shares about why she is passionate about this and looks at how  we might be more effective in this ministry in the New Zealand Context.