Just a few days ago I was in Rome as the Canadian Delegate to the International Congress on Youth Ministry, hosted by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life under the theme: "For a Synodal Youth Ministry: New Leadership Styles and Strategies." I was accompanied by Sally Yasmine, the youth delegate involved in diocesan youth ministry at Mission Jeunesse, and at the national level through her role with WYD Canada Communications. I had great privilege to be surrounded by delegates from around the world, including many incredible colleagues from bishops' conferences and international movements.

We began with our meeting with the Local Organizing Committees of World Youth Day (WYD) Lisbon 2023 and WYD Seoul 2027, and an introduction to the 2025 Jubilee of Youth programme. These sessions set the stage for deep communal reflection on how to journey with and serve young people, guided by the principles of Christus Vivit, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year. 

One of the standout moments for me was an insightful analysis by Rev. Prof. Gustavo Cavagnari SDB on addressing emotional distress among young people . He emphasized strengthening the ministry of Christ’s proclamation, fostering youth spirituality, and creating opportunities for fraternity and meaningful Christian engagement. 

The sessions at the Congress emphasized key aspects of youth ministry: 

Outreach and Growth: Fr. Christopher Ryan underscored these as essential pillars of youth ministry. He highlighted the transformative impact of a young person's first encounter with Christ's love and stressed the ongoing formation through solidarity and service. 

Spiritual Discernment and Leadership: Led by Sandra Chaoul and Dr. Brenda Noriega, sessions focused on spiritual conversation and 'spiritual friendship' in leadership. They explored new methods beyond traditional models, emphasizing the importance of discernment in guiding youth towards deeper spiritual paths. 

Digital Mission Strategies: Fr. Franco Galdino's session addressed the digital world as a vital mission field. He provided practical approaches to engage youth online and connect them to real-life Church experiences, recognizing the digital realm's role in reaching young people distanced from traditional forms of engagement. 

Remaining Hopeful: Sr. Nathalie Becquart and Dr. Gleison De Paula Souza inspired us to remain hopeful and steadfast, even amidst the challenges faced in youth ministry, emphasizing the need for perseverance and faith. 

These sessions collectively highlighted innovative approaches to youth ministry, integrating spiritual depth with practical strategies to meet the evolving needs of young people today. 

A powerful moment was the opportunity to meet Pope Francis personally and be able to exchange a few words with him.  

This Congress was a profound reminder of the vital role young people play in the Church’s mission and in our world! 

I’m bringing back many valuable insights and renewed energy to continue serving our youth with love and dedication. Meeting so many dedicated and passionate colleagues was a highlight of the trip, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate and learn from them. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this journey! I look forward to applying these insights and working together to better serve our young people.


Isabel Correa
Director Mission Jeunesse Montreal - Youth Ministry
Archdiocese of Montreal

National Coordinator for World Youth Day (CCCB) 


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