Equipping the future leaders of our Church
Peter Woods has a vision to inspire and equip Catholic schools and youth ministries to become centres of the new evangelisation.
The founding director of Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia (CSYMA) says religious education at the time wasn’t meeting the needs of faith formation in schools.
“So we created a model that would do that and would operate within the context of the school,” he said.
CSYMA, which was created more than 15 years ago, began with students in schools, but was later developed to help youth ministers as well as teachers and leaders.
Peter has been a teacher for 25 years and is Director of Teacher Formation Programs at Australian Catholic University (ACU).
“My career has been in the Catholic education system which was where I developed the program that focuses on evangelisation and the formation of young people in their faith,” he said.
“The church’s mission is for evangelisation and our Catholic schools in the future are going to be a crucial way of reaching young Catholics across the country.”
CSYMA partnered with ACU, the Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn and Catholic Education to present a three-day Youth Ministry Equipping School (YMES) at St Christopher’s Pastoral Centre.
The school comprises lectures and workshops to prepare participants from across Australia in ministry, leadership and skills.
“YMES is an Oceania program so usually we have international participants but because of the pandemic they were unable to join us,” Peter said.
Second-year youth minister Elena Catanzariti said the programs helped her discover new ways to reach more people in her ministry.
“A large part of working as a youth minister is getting to know the teachers at your school,” she said. “Seeing them here at the equipping school is helpful because we are all working towards the same mission of having students encounter Christ.”