LEADERS from across the world will hear the hopes and desires of Australian youth when two delegates fly to Rome next month.
Young woman Ashleigh Green, of Broken Bay diocese, and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Youth director Malcolm Hart will represent Australia at an international meeting to discuss, plan and prepare for World Youth Day Panama and the upcoming Synod on the Youth.
Ms Green, who is a caseworker for Broken Bay diocese’s social arm CatholicCare, was a diocesan pilgrim to the WYD in Krakow last year and regularly volunteers in youth ministry.
She previously worked for the St Columban’s Mission Society providing a young woman’s voice to the Columban Fathers.
The Central Coast parishioner has also been involved in various inter-faith dialogue groups as a Catholic representative.
On her appointment to represent Australia in Rome next month, Ms Green said it was “a huge honour” to be selected.
She plans to share in Rome what she has heard from young Australians at youth events and festivals including the Australian Catholic Youth Festival.
“A common theme I have heard is the thirst for social justice and bringing it more closely into our faith lives,” Ms Green said.
“Young people want to be involved in social justice works that promote a message that all people should be respected regardless of race, age, gender or religion.”
Ms Green said young Australians also yearned to have “a greater say in the vision for the Church” especially at a local parish level.
“At a diocesan level there are lots of opportunities for young people to be involved, but in the parish level they feel out-numbered,” she said.
“But that is our local community, and parishes should be investing lots of energy to involve young people.”
Mr Hart said Ms Green’s contribution would prepare the Church for the Synod on the Youth starting in October 2018.
“The synod is a unique opportunity for young people to have their voices heard across the global Church, particularly given its significance during the Australian bishops’ Year of Youth throughout 2018,” he said.
Ms Green and Mr Hart will be in Rome from April 5 to 9 for the four-day conference and for the annual Palm Sunday Mass with Pope Francis at St Peter’s Square where the WYD Cross and Icon will be transferred from the Polish youth to Panama’s young people.