Here in Oz we are now looking to the end of the academic year and the long summer holidays over Christmas, and whether WYD inspired or not, there are set in place a whole range of real formation opportunities for young people in the Sydney area and in NSW. The Church in Sydney is building for the future.
The first event is the iWtness 2008 Conference on the north foreshore, Mon 21st - Fri 24th November. This residential conference is for 18 - 35 yr olds. The Cardinal will be taking part along with a raft of other speakers; Mass will be celebrated every day. The cost is about £80 per person and the event is looking to draw together again some of those who took part in WYD and to help them become convinced that they are called to be apostles today.
The second event to list is perhaps a more important endeavour - a four week residential formation course which is looking at building leaders for the Church. This is arguably the most important area of formation at present. This event Active Witness will take place from 25th November till 20 th December. There will be a program designed to help participants give an enthusiastic witness to their faith, be an agent of the new evengelisation, deepend their understanding of the faith, develop skills in pastoral leadership, be equipped to help young people experience Christ in His Word and in the Sacraments. This events requires a more formal application and costs £240.
Along with the monthly "Theology on Tap" evening in a pub in Parramatta, another similar endeavour has just started "Urban Theology" down in the centre of Sydney. Both of these try to cater for students and young professionals who are short on time but who have a thirst for a more rounded and deeper catechesis.
A major outreach based within and from one of the city centre Parishes is taking place 29th Nov - 7th Dec entitled "Open the doors to Christ". This Mission, which will include a lot of street evangelisation and door-knocking is being led by one of the auxillary bishops of Sydney and a city-wide appeal has gone out for helper. This is obviously an important event which is looking at doing evangelisation, not talking about it.
There are also periodic days of Youth Ministry Training/Workshops held in the city. The next one is this coming Saturday at a cost of £12 - these days are designed to support those who are already engaged in evangelisation in some way. There is also a weekend event planned to lead new young people to engage with what is on offer for them in Syndney, 31st Oct - 2nd Nov. This weekend is free.
The last thing I'll mention is an event for young men Young men Rise Up. This is a Catholic Conference for young men, 16 - 35 yrs and is being held to challenge young men to make a difference and to become leaders in the Church and in society. 24th - 26th Oct. Cost £65. On a similar note, John Eldredge who wrote the fascinating book "Wild at Heart" will also be in Sydney at the beginning of December - he is leading a five day experience in the outback for young men who wish to uncover/rediscover their masculine soul.
This list is just a taster - there are a host of smaller events taking place in Sydney and its parishes - but a sign none the less of the necessity of formation and the willingness of the Church in Sydney to offer this to young people.