Media and Communications Office
Over 250 youth ministers representing the majority of the 60 youth groups and 42 young adult groups from parishes, schools and ecclesiastical communities and ethnic chaplaincies across Melbourne gathered for the 2nd annual Melbourne Archdiocese Youth Ministry Gala held at St Brigid’s Parish Hall in Fitzroy North by the Archdiocesan Office for Youth (AOY) on Wednesday night.
The night was held to celebrate the contribution of volunteers and employees have made working in parishes, schools and communities across the Melbourne archdiocese.
Attendees included Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli, Msgr Greg Bennet, Fr Dishan Candappa from Good Shepherd Parish in Gladstone Park, and the 2019 National Evangelisation team. Also joining the celebrations were Bishop Terry Curtain as well as Bishop Mark Edwards.
‘As we acknowledge your work as youth ministers, a night like tonight also reminds us of the privilege and the blessing it is to support young people in their journey of faith,’ said AOY Director Jessica Mills in her welcoming speech.
‘In light of recent news of the past few days and the work of the past few years, the hard work that has gone into bringing to light the moments where the Catholic church has failed in protecting our young people, we thank you for your commitment for everything that you for everything you are doing to ensure that the church is a safe place for all young people. We confirm our commitment in the archdiocese to support your work.’
Bishop Mark Edwards led the night with grace and expressed his enthusiasm towards the youth ministry of Melbourne. ‘I delight in your passion for youth ministry and your desire to help our young people encounter Jesus,’ he said.
The night followed with a speech by Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli. ‘I love being here,’ the archbishop said.
‘I think that’s probably the most important message I’m going to leave with you tonight. You matter. You matter to God. And in being mattered by God, you matter to one another. And being mattered to one another, you matter to me,’ he said.
In his address, he spoke about the saints pictured on the banners across the stage and highlighted that these were photos of saints who persevered in times of ordeal in the church.
‘Here we have our saints who are like us in so many ways,’ he said as he continued to highlight the stories of saints including St Therese Lieseux, BI. Pier Giorgio Frassati and St Chiara Badano who have lived through challenging times in the church’s history.
‘All examples of young people who wanted to be a servant to the Lord, and being a servant of the Lord lived through great ordeals and became such wonderful examples of saints,’ he said. ‘You are God’s saints. You.’
The night concluded with the announcement of certificates awarded to those celebrating hallmark years of leadership and the Youth Ministry awards for Evangelisation, Leadership Development, Advocacy the Community Life Award and the Veronica Berruti Justice and Service Award, in memory of the late Veronica Berruti from St Mary’s of Dandenong.
Photo by Redflair photography and imaging
Recipients included Dennis Montano Galdamez from St Peter Chanel Parish, William Chu from St Mary’s in Ascot Vale, Donna Bosnjak from the Immaculate Conception Hawthorn Parish, Tishan Lokuge who is a youth minister at Mazenod College and St John's Vianney Youth Group in Mulgrave and Rosanne Rofaeel from Christmas on the Streets.