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Does your church welcome you? Reflections and activities

James O'Brien  |  31 October 2018

Read Finding a home in the church in the 2018 Spring edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the various reflections and activities.


What does Noel mean when he says his youth group provides a ‘safe haven’?

Why does inclusivity offer something young people are looking for?

What was the effect of Noel’s conversion experience?

Why does Noel encourage parishes to create multicultural community dinners?

How could the church better support young people?


  • Pope Francis opened the current Synod on Young People by saying he hoped it would ‘plant dreams … inspire trust … [and] awaken a dawn of hope.’ You are in charge of a diocesan Youth Office. Create an ad using Photoshop/Illustrator or a script for a radio promotion (which you may record) encouraging young people to become active in the church.
  • In pairs, research a saint who died young, such as St Aloysius Gonzaga or St Therese of Lisieux. Prepare an imaginative interview with them, asking questions such as ‘what did the church offer you?’ and ‘what words of encouragement would you give to the young people of today?’ Prepare written answers to the questions based on what you imagine they would say, and be ready to perform the interview for the class.
  • Organise a multicultural lunch for your class. Ask each student to bring in a dish unique to their particular cultural heritage. During the lunch, invite each person to introduce the plate they brought in, its ingredients, and why they chose this one out of all possible dishes.
  • Form groups of three. You are creatives at a digital app-making company. Workshop an app for young people which would offer inspiration and encouragement. Create a concept map of what you wish to include as part of your app. Present your concept map to the class, with the teacher choosing which app proposal will win funding.

 For younger students

  • Search for and choose your favourite piece of art by religious artist Sieger Koder. Present your painting to the class. Why did you choose this one? How does this artwork tell us about Jesus?
  • Noel speaks about a faith-based camp that helped him grow in faith. Form small groups of three or four to build a plan for a camp for your year group. Describe what activities and events you would include. Your aim is to grow a sense of belonging and community among your year group, while also encouraging faith.


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