Youth ministries working on a national level in Ireland have reported a new openness from parish priests and pastoral councils to engage with young people.
Tony Foy, Executive Director of Net Ministries, told The Irish Catholic that in recent years they have had to send their youth evangelisation teams to Scotland because they couldn’t find the work in Ireland, “such was the attitude in the Church”. However he said there has been “a big release of the Holy Spirit” as more and more priests are interested in doing something for their youth. “There is a realisation that what they are doing is not working and they have got to do something,” he said, continuing that other youth ministries working on a national level, “have seen a marked increase in interest in what they are doing”.
Lana Wilson, National Leader of Youth 2000, told The Irish Catholic they have also seen an increased interest in youth ministry. “I think because in the parishes they don’t necessarily have the funding to have their own youth ministry going on, people are more open now to tapping into what’s already going on,” she said.
“We would have a lot of people contacting our office and asking us to speak at parishes or send flyers. I think there is more of an openness. Parishes say we just don’t know how to reach out to young people or how to tap into their interests. A lot of people are open to seeing what is out there.”
Net Ministries and TINE Network Ireland are co-hosting the Fortify conference in Dublin next month to showcase youth ministry options available to parishes in Ireland. Speakers include Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry and Gerard Gallagher from Dublin diocese.
It takes place on June 10 in St Paul’s Aran Quay from 9-5pm.