The theme for the 2017 National Catholic Youth Ministry Conference is “Alive and Well”. This theme was drawn from the inspiration of ACTS 20:7-12 which may at first seem an unusual choice.
7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.
Acts 20:7-12 NLT
For us the scripture speaks of the challenges from the earliest days of the church when considering the needs of our young people and understanding best how to care for them. There is a truly touching moment in the scripture passage where the community cries out in desperation and horror at the death of their beloved young one, but Paul, representing the church reaches out to him with the grace of Jesus and the healing of the Holy Spirit, restoring him to life and to the joyful embrace of the community, “Alive and Well”.
It is our vision for the 2017 NCYMC that this theme of joyful hope and new life for our young people will flow out into our Catholic Youth Ministry Community and the Church in New Zealand. Over three days we will consider the challenges our current generation of young people face and look to see how we can more effectively embrace them and journey with them towards fullness of life in Christ Jesus.
It is our hope that all people with an interest in Ministry with young people from the most junior youth leader to senior Diocesan Youth Workers, Priests and Religious will find elements of inspiration, formation and fellowship that will fuel their passion for reaching young people with the Good News.
Those attending the conference from the 21st – 23rd April 2017 will experience inspiring keynotes and workshops, dynamic prayer and worship, extensive networking opportunities, and plenty of useful resources and ideas. We also plan to provide the opportunity for Youth Ministers to be “ministered to” and feel like they are leaving spiritually refreshed, with mass each day and opportunities for prayer, reconciliation, praise and worship and adoration throughout the programme.