Swags welcome at Newcastle's Backpacker weekends

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is launching a series of weekends which aim to involve "Generation Y" young people in the Church through a "backpacker" approach to spirituality.

The diocesan Young Adult Ministry introduced the program after recognising that fewer than half of Australia's Generation Y - born between 1976 and 1990 - identify with a traditional religion.

Paul O'Bryan, Diocesan Pastoral Planning Coordinator, told Online Catholics that the backpacker weekends, which will be open to all post-school young adults aged over 18, are an invitation to people to meet new people, swap stories, share insights and plan future ventures.

"The image of the backpacker captures our traditional image of the pilgrim: one who journeys unencumbered by the weight of possessions; who searches, knowing that the journey will raise more questions than answers; who gathers with others to swap stories, compare notes and share learnings and then moves on," he said.

Mr O'Bryan says that young adults seek meaning and a sense of belonging.

"They have new technologies and new ways of doing things and are often disconnected from local parish churches.

"Backpacker weekends provide the opportunity for young adults to gather, be affirmed, meet others, explore issues of life and faith, and experience aspects of Catholic tradition and spirituality as a source of inspiration and direction, hope and enthusiasm for life."

The series of four weekends will each involve conversation with "wisdom people" who will share their insights on a given theme.

The weekends are also expected to become the platform for the diocesan preparation for World Youth Day 2008 and a springboard for other initiatives in young adult ministry within the diocese.

Photo source: stock.xchng

Living Catholic spirituality: a backpacker approach (Online Catholics, 23/8/06 - subscription required)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Maitland-Newcastle diocese
Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Maitland-Newcastle diocese

23 Aug 2006