First involved in the movement in 1999, Devett said he has gained much from the experience including leadership skills.
“As a student it really gives you the chance to take ownership and make it the movement that you want it to be.
“Now I have a group of five students who are 15 to 18 years, who are my boss.”
The movement has experienced 500% growth in the last three years which “shows that what we are doing is connecting with the reality of young people”, Devett continued.
He hopes to build on this growth in 2008.
“Our challenge is to then go beyond the initial connection to develop a sense of the relevance of God in their lives.
“Pope Benedict has called for us to ‘build a new generation of apostles’ and this is exactly what YCS does through connecting with secondary school students and forming them as Christian leaders.”
While Devett will work in a voluntary capacity for YCS this year, his role has been divided in two which he said “will allow some more time to develop that formation process that produces young leaders who are prepared to follow Jesus”.
“It will also mean that we can offer the experience of being involved in YCS to more people and more dioceses. It is something that our Church and our world really needs right now,” he said.
Since January 10, Devett has been at the YCS national conference in Sydney where more than 50 secondary students Australia wide will gather to share news and plan for the future.
“We’ll develop a vision and plan for YCS and over the next three years we’ll implement that plan.
“Obviously this conference will have particular importance because the plan will include World Youth Day and the start of the post-World Youth Day period when peoples’ energy and enthusiasm will be high.”
Themed “Empower the students, enrich their lives, enlighten their faith”, the YCS conference will be a chance to “give school students a voice on a national level”.
Last Thursday, to open the conference, Bishop of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, and Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham, celebrated a Mass in Parramatta Cathedral.
Also on the opening day, a student forum was held based on the YCS national campaign theme of “100 percent respect”.
“The campaign is about building respect in all areas of our lives,” Devett said.
The remainder of the conference, until January 16, will be held in Mittagong, south-west of Sydney, after which Devett will return to his Brisbane base to take up God’s invitation.
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