Global Youth Ministry Congress excites NZ representatives

Youth Ministry Congress

Nick Wilson and Jessica Jackman will represent New Zealand young people at the prestigious International Youth Ministry Congress.

The Congress takes place from May 22 to 26 in Rome near Vatican City.

A global event, the Youth Ministry Congress will focus on innovative leadership styles and strategies in youth ministry under the theme “Synodal Youth Ministry: New Leadership Styles and Strategies”.

Youth Ministry Congress details

The Youth Ministry Congress is bringing together delegates worldwide to discuss Youth Ministry’s current state and future.

Wilson, chair of the Council for Young People of the Catholic Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand, expressed his enthusiasm about the broad range of topics.

“I find the range of topics very interesting, particularly the session on the reality of today’s youth in a post-pandemic world” he told CathNews.

“The Congress will delve into youth leadership that is both missional and synodal” Wilson noted. He highlighted the practical discussions anticipated in supporting young leaders through synodal ministry methodologies.

Beacon of global youth engagement

Wilson described the Youth Ministry Congress as a “beacon of global youth engagement”.

He emphasised its importance in exploring the “Christus Vivit“, Francis’ seminal document aimed at energising young people

Wilson commented with some alarm that Christus Vivit is now five years old.

Wilson is a married father of three and a Master of Ecclesiology student.

We are constantly challenged

in our beliefs and actions

by our peers and the media.

When I look around

at the craziness of today’s world,

it is such a privilege

to have been given the gift of Faith.

Crazy world – crazy challenges

Jessica Jackman, a primary school teacher and the newly appointed director of Hearts Aflame, is another New Zealand delegate representing New Zealand.

Hearts Aflame is a Catholic summer school for young adults, known for its active involvement in nurturing the Catholic faith among youth.

“It never ceases to amaze me how we can come from such different languages, cultures, continents and experiences and yet unite in the joy of encountering Jesus and worshipping in Holy Mass.

“I am really looking forward to encountering other young Catholics who are passionate about sharing Christ with our new generations and hearing from them about different ways they are creative in sharing the Gospel” said Jackman.

Jackman told CathNews that being young and Catholic is a joy and a gift in Aotearoa today.

“When I look around at the craziness of today’s world, it is such a privilege to have been given the gift of Faith, which gives me hope for a future in Christ and the certainty of being loved by God.

“We recognise this gift has been handed on by the mahi of generations of faithful Catholics in our land.”

Peer mockery and the courage of witness

Jackman says living a faithful Christian life in New Zealand is not easy.

“We are constantly challenged in our beliefs and actions by our peers and the media, but I do believe our generation is really privileged to grow up guided by the teaching of a succession of saintly popes and a church which recognises the importance of supporting young adults through events like World Youth Day.

“We have had to fight, and be fought for by the Church, to keep our faith, and this means that your average practising young Catholic in Aotearoa really knows what they believe and genuinely wants to love God and fight for holiness, even in the face of mockery from our peers.”

Jackman told CathNews that reaching and witnessing to young people takes courage and needs resources.

She highlighted a particular challenge in Catholic schools, of reaching out and witnessing to those who have been baptised but haven’t yet discovered the joy of being loved by Christ and chosen to follow Him.

Audience with Pope Francis

Another of the highlights for the delegates at the Youth Ministry Congress will be an audience with Pope Francis on May 25.


  • Supplied: NZCBC
  • Supplied: Wilson and Jackman
Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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