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Youth Ministry

Diocese Focus: Renewal of the Diocesan youth ministry

The need for continued development of effective ministry with youth and adolescents in local communities has emerged as one of the five key areas of the Lismore Diocesan Renewal journey.

Team Members: Renewal of the Diocesan Youth Ministry

Gemma Ballantine, Assistant Principal, Mission, St Anthony’s Primary School, Kingscliff, Mullumbimby Parish – Joint Team Coordinator
Travis Lyon, Chairperson, Pastoral Council, St Carthage’s Parish, Lismore – Joint Team Coordinator
Bianca McInnes, Youth Ministry, St Joseph’s College, Benora Point, St Joseph’s Parish,Tweed Heads
Sr Di Moralde, Lismore Diocese
Fr Anselm Okeke, Assistant Priest, St Francis Xavier Parish, Ballina

April 24 Update – Diocesan Youth Working Party

The Youth Project Team has taken the time to examine demographic and population data across the diocese, including projected growth areas and predicted patterns of change. With a firm grasp on this, the Team has then engaged in dialogue with those who have worked in or are working in youth ministry in one form or another – both within the Diocese of Lismore, as well as further afield. The Youth Project Team has been particularly interested in identifying contexts where youth engagement appears to be high functioning.

On 8 March 2024 Fr Joy D’Souza was appointed Director of Youth Ministry in Diocese of Lismore by Bishop Greg.  The Youth Project Team reached out to Fr Joy immediately, and he is being updated on the progress of the Project. Fr Joy is eager to work with the Team. The Coordination Group was provided with an update by Travis Lyon in March 2024, and they were pleased with the Team’s progress.

On 17 April 2024 the Youth Project Team sat for an extended face-to-face meeting in Lismore. The Team is now working on a draft report and proposal for Youth Ministry in the Diocese of Lismore moving forward. Two recurring themes are guiding the strategy:

  1. “The youth are not un-interested. They are un-engaged.”
  2. “The work of the Church must start with the Local Parish and go out from there.”

The Youth Project Team continues to meet regularly, and the Team is excited to present a draft proposal in the near future.

February 24 Update – Diocesan Youth Working Party

Addressing the evolving and dynamic needs of the youth in the Australian Catholic Church has been identified as a both major challenge and life-giving opportunity. In addition to the preparatory work for the Plenary Council in 2022, the Synod on Synodality 2023, the “Light from the Southern Cross” report and the ACBC Youth Survey Report 2017, the Bishop of the Diocese of Lismore commissioned the 2022 Parish Vitality survey. These key documents highlight the need for a Diocesan-coordinated approach to better understand who the youth are in the Parishes of the Diocese of Lismore and how to provide a sustainable and flourishing youth ministry.

The Diocesan Youth Working Party was established in late 2023 to analyse data drawn from Diocesan sets and explore current and projected census population data. We have collated and organised this data into an annotated PowerPoint that is ready to share with Parishes.

There are pockets of excellence in youth ministry within the Diocese. Our group is currently gathering and collating the stories and experiences of those serving in parishes where youth involvement and participation is flourishing and, conversely, from parishes struggling in this area. We are also pursuing insights and expertise from parishes beyond the Diocese of Lismore.

Our Team will be gathering face-to-face next month to go through the research and data sets. Deep analysis of our findings will generate a series of proposals for parishes that will hopefully set optimal conditions to enable a flourishing youth ministry.


to create a vision for the future

Lismore Diocesan Renewal Journey