Hopes synod can renew Ireland youth ministry with resources and training

Hopes synod can renew Ireland youth ministry with resources and training Bishops attend a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican. Photo: CNS

There are hopes the Synod of Bishops will give fresh impetus to resource youth ministry and mirror international youth movements, according to Church youth workers.

Following a meeting with Archbishop Eamon Martin and Bishop Donal McKeown in the Vatican, 11 youth ministers discussed the progress of the synod on youth.

“One of the big things of the synod will be a renewed energy and passion coming out of it,” said Pauline Dowd from Living Youth in the Diocese of Down and Connor.

However, she said, there needs to be better training and investments in youth ministers.

“We need trained personnel, people to help manage the whole movement of youth ministry in Ireland, it is happening but we hope there’ll be a renewed energy.

“Paid, trained youth ministers, we have thousands and thousands of volunteers and it would not work without them, but you also need people who are full time on the job helping to manage, and support and nourish those people.”

This comes as Catholic Youth Ministry Ireland, a national body for youth ministry, will re-launch on December 3 with the aim of integrating Ireland’s youth evangelisation.


The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation of England and Wales would be a similar initiative which organises large events for young people, such as ‘Flame’, and accommodates meetings with youth ministers on a national level.

“The collaborative bit we need to improve on so we’re not all individually reinventing our own wheel, so that we’re all sharing, there is no other way. Each individual diocese might be great at something but every single diocese have so much to learn from other dioceses,” she added.

Dermot Kelly, Youth Director for the Archdiocese of Armagh, said there was a lack of youth ministers, but there should also be a focus on how to “demonstrate a spiritual accompaniment”.

“I pray that we be actionable to the synod afterwards. I always love the story of the Road to Emmaus, to me that demonstrates Jesus was listening and he was also teaching, and that’s key.

“Our young people are yearning for that but they may not get the places, atmospheres and the opportunities to do that – and that’s our fear.

“If we meet young people where they’re at, if we get the opportunities to listen and to teach, that’s a very simple model, but that’s the model that Jesus brought.”