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On Tuesday 19th March, Youth Ministry teams from the parishes of Bathurst, Orange, Blayney and Oberon gathered together in Bathurst to explore Youth Ministry and its place in the Mission of our Church.

During this Synodal Session, there was a chance to reflect on Diocesan and parish initiatives to engage people in an encounter with Jesus, as well as reflect on learnings from further afield about how we can be catalysts for a greater sense of evangelisation in our communities.

Our time together began with a time of Word and Faith, reflecting on the Gospel of the day. Bishop McKenna then opened our session by asking us to reflect on how we can allow the opportunities provided by youth to be a point of conversion and encounter with Christ and the Church. An encounter with Christ can happen at any stage of life but there is a special opportunity that is present when one is young, which should be taken up.The Bishop challenged each of us to not let these opportunities pass us by.The attendees were reminded that this synodal or co-responsibility path is one that the Bathurst Diocese of Bathurst has been on for many years, and one we will continue on into the future.

Fr Michel Remery, Rosario and Natalia spoke about the hopes of the RISE Deo Quest team as they continue their work in the Diocese of Bathurst in 2024 (more information can be found here), as well as how Diocesan initiatives such as RISE (link) and the Diocesan Interim Laudato Si Group can support parish Youth Ministry.

Following table work on how each parish could foster the faith of young people in their parish, and fruitful sharing of dreams and goals, there was a chance to reflect on the question: How can our Church listen and act synodally to support youth and Youth Ministry in our communities?

This is the first of many regional events designed to support and encourage Co-responsibility in Youth Ministry. It was a great gathering of people who are passionate about this important ministry. The session concluded with a shared meal and networking among many groups and parish connections.