AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC YOUTH MINISTRY
by C. Fini and C. Ryan (Eds)
(Garratt Publishing Australia, 2014, 360pp, ISBN: 978-1- 92500-951-4, RRP: $34.95)
Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry in Australia has experienced a vital renewal since World Youth Day in Rome during the Jubilee Year, 2000. But after WYD Sydney in July 2008 the growth and range of initiatives has been exponential.
In spite of this, little has been written concerning these developments in Australia, exploring these exciting developments that have taken place against a background of the revelations and humiliations of clergy sexual abuse and the panorama of modern life in a rich, secular and multicultural nation most of whose people "dance to a different drum".
At last, two prominent leaders of this ministry revival, Fathers Christian Fini OMI and Chris Ryan of the Missionaries of God's Love have commissioned and edited a magnificent range of essays which place in context, explain, document and explore these new "points of light" in a Church which has been facing so many challenges at the start of the Third Millennium.
The Church as a whole and those engaged in ministry with young people are deeply indebted to these two priests. The book is a "must read" for all Catholics engaged in ministry with the young.
These are some of the contributions and these separate authors: "The Post Vatican II Experience of Youth in Australia: Generation Y and the Church" (Joel Hodge); "Towards an Evangelising Youth Ministry" (Chris Ryan); "Young Church in the Cloud" (Christian Fini); "Creating a Safe Environment for Young People" (Teresa Rhynehart); "Diocesan Approach to Youth Ministry" (Michael Hart); "Youth Ministry in a Rural Context" (Gabrielle Sinclair); "Catholic Schools in the New Evangelisation, the CSYMA" (Peter Woods); and "The Emergence of Lay Retreat Teams" (Steve Toohey).
There are additional chapters written by specialists such as Malcolm Hart, Paul Salmon, Marcel Koper, Stefan Gigacz, Teresa Pirola, Shayne Bennet and Selina Hasham.
This is an extraordinary range of youthful Catholic talent.
Of course, even in a book almost 400 pages long, the authors cannot include every exciting development: the rise of fine leaders of Catholic tertiary ministry such as Pat Langrell (Notre Dame University, Sydney) and Mark Lysaght (ACU, Banyo) and other leaders such as Roby Curtis of Blind Eye Ministries, Dave Jorna of Project Hatch, Fr Paul Chandler of Frassati Australia and Huw Warmenhoven, Director of the Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Association; but the book is comprehensive.