Australians chosen for International Youth Forum

Holly Roberts

Two young Australians will join an international delegation in Rome next month to identify concrete ways to implement Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit.

Huw Warmenhoven, 25, from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, and Holly Roberts, 22, from the Archdiocese of Adelaide, are both excited about the opportunity, having recently been told of their selection to represent Australia’s Catholic youth by the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.The post-synodal exhortation, Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive), was written to young people and the entire world after the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, held in October last year.

Mr Warmenhoven, who is a youth manager for Canberra and Goulburn, said he feels “blessed and privileged” to be representing both his archdiocese and the Church in Australia at the International Youth Forum.

“At the heart of Christus Vivit is a call to return to the basics of our faith: that God loves us, Christ saves us, that he is alive and wants us to be alive,” he said.

“It is this message that we are created out of love, for love, that we are called to share to young people of Australia and beyond.”

Ms Roberts, who is a diocesan youth ministry support officer for Adelaide’s Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, said: “I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to represent the young people of Australia at this event and I hope that my participation can be a catalyst for Christus Vivit to come alive in my own community and Australia as a whole.

“Pope Francis’ words in Christus Vivit are a radical call of action to ‘set aside narrow preconceptions’ [65] and for us to be on a journey with each other.”

Ms Roberts said she draws inspiration from St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, “whose faith was strong despite the extreme challenges she faced, and whose life was dedicated to young people of all walks of life”.

“Her quote of ‘never see a need without doing something about it’ is embodied in the outcomes of the Synod, and I can’t wait to see how the Church is renewed by the voices of the young,” she said.

The pair will be joined by Parramatta’s Sebastian Duhau, who attended the Synod representing young Australian Catholics, and Malcolm Hart, director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Youth and a consultor to the Holy See’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

The International Youth Forum from June 19 to 22 is part of the implementation phase of the recent Synod of Bishops.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, said: “Our dicastery wishes to carry forward and give form to the wide-ranging process of pastoral conversion contained in the theme of Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, a topic that was relaunched very recently by the Holy Father at World Youth Day Panama.

“The specific objective of this post-Synod meeting will be the application from the Synod proposals seen from a youth pastoral ministry perspective.”