In March, New Zealand will take part in an international meeting in Rome of young minds on youth and their faith in preparation for the October Synod of Bishops on Young people, faith and vocation discernment.

The gathering will be unique in that it will be made up of a wide range of young people from around the world. They come from Church movements, associations, Christian and other Churches and communities of other religions, schools, universities, work places, sports, arts and volunteering associations. Attending the meeting will also be experts, educators and trainers who are engaged in helping young people to discern their life choices.

Joining the meeting, which will take place over four days in the Vatican, will be Wellingtonian, Isabella McCafferty who has been appointed by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) as the New Zealand Catholic Church’s representative at the meeting.

Serving on the newly established National Council for Young People, Ms McCafferty works with the Church’s Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of Wellington, developing pastoral ministry and supporting families and young people across 22 parishes.

NZCBC President, Bishop Patrick Dunn, said on the announcement that “following on from last year’s national survey of young people and the church and the Aotearoa Catholic Youth festival, there is a real ground swell of support for this Synod.”

“Isabella is a passionate and dedicated advocate for young people in the Catholic Church in New Zealand. We are delighted she as accepted our invitation to represent the New Zealand voice at this important meeting with the Holy Father.”

Ms McCafferty said she felt honoured to have been asked and was looking forward to engaging with other young people from around the world, and felt heartened by the move of the Vatican to seriously listen to young people.

“The voice of young people within the Catholic Church is crucial, if the Church wants to move forward in an enlightened and informed way. I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring Aotearoa New Zealand’s voice to this meeting, reinforcing the learnings we shared from our 2017 Youth Survey. My hope is that we come away with a real sense of ‘yes, our voices have been heard and here’s what the Church, with your help, plans to do.”

The outcome from this gathering will be presented to the synod fathers, together with other documentation, for their reflection and study. The date for the meeting was chosen to enable all participants to take part, at the end, in the celebration of the Eucharist on the Palm Sunday with the Holy Father in Saint Peter’s Square at the 33rd World Youth Day 2018 on the theme “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God”

Findings from the 2017 VoicetoVatican Youth survey can be found on the NZCBC website.

Ko te Huinga Pīhopa o te Hāhi Katorika o Aotearoa (NZCBC) te kāhui whakahaere o ngā mahi whakapono a-motu me ngā rōpū minita o te Hāhi Katorika. Otirā ngā rōpū mātauranga, tika me te pono, kaitohutohu Māori,

whakapaoho whakawhiti whakaaro me te toro atu ki te iwi nui tonu, ritenga o te Hāhi,
whakawhanaungatanga o ngā Hāhi, matatika koiora, whakawhanaungatanga o ngā whakapono, mahi minita ki ngā whareherehere me ngā hohipera, oti atu.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) is the assembly of the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand coordinating national activities and ministries of the Catholic Church. These include education social justice, Māori advisory, communications and engagement with the public, liturgy, ecumenism, bioethics, interfaith relations, pastoral work in prisons and hospitals, and more.

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