Catholic Youth Ministry Congress

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International speakers and new research about the life and faith of Catholic young people

CYMFed – the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation for England and Wales – has attracted some of the best known speakers in the Catholic world to its first national Congress for youth leaders. The Congress takes place in London on Saturday February 27th with “We have set our hope on the living God” as its theme. It will also see the first presentation of new and important research into the life and faith of Catholic young people. Over 700 youth leaders, chaplains, teachers and priests from across the country have registered to attend the Congress so far.

Fr Timothy Radcliffe and Abbot Christopher Jamison are headline speakers. Archbishop Vincent Nichols will give the closing exhortation within the final liturgy.

Other keynote speakers include Bob and Maggie McCarty; both have been involved in Youth Ministry in America for many years at a senior level – Bob is the Executive Director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry which has 174 American Dioceses as members. Their vision helped shape the creation of CYMFed in England and Wales, and their wisdom will offer fresh insights for youth leaders in parishes, schools, religious orders, movements and organisations who come to the Congress. The Director of Education for Plymouth Diocese and internationally renowned speaker, David Wells, will MC the day.

Fr Dominic Howarth, Chair of CYMFed, said, “We are delighted with the range and calibre of the speakers, and with the support from the Bishops. It is the first time for many years that there has been a national event on this scale for those working with young people in our Church, and we hope it marks the beginning of a fresh revitalisation of national Catholic Youth Ministry, to complement and strengthen the wonderful work happening in many places locally.”

The research was commissioned for CYMFed by the YCW, the Young Christian Workers, alongside CAFOD and with support from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The wide-ranging survey explores young Catholics’ understandings of the world and of their faith. The research also highlights the perceptions of the Church which are held by these young people who inhabit the Catholic world – those who go to Mass and those who don’t; those who hold Catholic beliefs and those who don’t; those who describe themselves as Catholic, and those who would be a little bit more ambiguous. The conclusions of the research will significantly inform the shape of Youth Ministry in the Church in the years ahead, and they will be presented by Danny Curtin, YCW President, together with Abbot Christopher Jamison.

Danny said, “It has been illuminating to discover the understandings and perceptions which young people hold about their faith, and the way they practice their faith, alongside the preoccupations of their own lives, and concerns about the world. The first results will be launched at the Congress and I know that it will transform the way that many of us approach working with Catholic young people. The findings help us view afresh the range of the young people we are called to serve, and how to respond to their situations. Although there are challenges in our research, it is also an opportunity of hope; hope for the Church to learn from our own young people, and hope that young people will be best served by us as youth ministers.”

Direct from Washington, Bob McCarty said about the Congress: “Pope John Paul II said, ‘As Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus, so the Church must become today the travelling companions of young people’. The CYMFed Congress is an exciting opportunity to invigorate our passion to accompany the young Church on their journey in faith and in their commitment to be disciples of Jesus.” Fr Timothy Radcliffe picked up on the theme of the Congress and said, “We will give hope to the young, and they will give hope to us.”

Tickets – priced at just £14 – are still available for Congress at the website but they are selling fast, with over 700 tickets sold so far.

 Further information

Fr Dominic Howarth CYMFed Chair 07939 296292

Danny Curtin YCW President and CYMFed Vice Chair 07957 190516

CYMFed website

Press arrangements for the Congress

Please contact Fr Dominic – details above.

Congress venue

Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

NB. The venue requires that representatives from the press give pre-notice of their attendance. Members of the press should please advise Fr Dominic Howarth of their attendance before 21st February.