www.oblateyouth.com, is an exciting development which has been
inspired by Oblate Youth Australia, young people who identify with the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate, coming together from across Australia to
share their Catholic faith, life experiences and to build community.
Since 2001, young people from a number of Oblate parishes, including
those in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia
and Queensland, have come together for joint summer camps-
'National Oblate Youth Encounters' held in NSW and Vic. The enthusiasm,
friendships and community formed during these experiences was kept
alive naturally and spontaneously through the Internet, mainly emails
and MSN messenger.
After the success of the camp in December 2003, it became our dream
and our prayer to find a place where Oblate Youth could continue
sharing their Catholic Faith, life experiences and build community.
This dream has come true thanks to the Internet and the hard work of a
few young guys from Eagle Vale. Oblate Youth is now a cyber reality.
While the website has been online and weekly chat meetings held
since mid December, 2002, the website was officially launched on the
1st March 2003. Oblate Youth in NSW, VIC and SA were linked by phone
and over the Internet and together celebrated prayer, song, official
speeches and a simultaneous count down to the official beginning of
www.oblateyouth.com. The theme chosen for this historic moment was “put
out into the deep.” (Lk 5:4) taken from Pope John Paul II message for
the 36th World communications day.
“...evangelization is not just a matter of geographic
expansion, for the Church has also had to cross many cultural
thresholds, each of which called for fresh energy and imagination in
proclaiming the one Gospel of Jesus Christ. The age of the great
discoveries, the Renaissance and the invention of printing, the
Industrial Revolution and the birth of the modern world: these too were
threshold moments which demanded new forms of evangelization. Now, with
the communications and information revolution in full swing, the Church
stands unmistakably at another decisive gateway…..cyberspace, which is
as it were a new frontier opening up at the beginning of this new
millennium. Like the new frontiers of other times, this one too is full
of the interplay of danger and promise, and not without the sense of
adventure which marked other great periods of change. For the Church
the new world of cyberspace is a summons to the great adventure of
using its potential to proclaim the Gospel message. This challenge is
at the heart of what it means at the beginning of the millennium to
follow the Lord's command to ‘put out into the deep’: Duc in altum! (Lk
The provincial, Fr. Vincent Ryan omi, was a guest at the NSW site of the official launch and addressed the three groups:
“The launch of the Oblate Internet site creates opportunities for
Oblate youth to communicate with each other. Also, this site gives the
Oblates an opportunity to speak with youth where they are present. The
Oblates have a long history of being present to youth. For over a
century the Oblates in Australia have worked with youth and given them
a priority. This tradition is set to continue.”
Through this website, a group of young Australians are breaking down
one of the barriers between them, a barrier that plagues this beautiful
nation of ours, ‘the tyranny of distance’.
young people who choose to identify with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate
have found a NEW place and a NEW means of ‘coming together’, of
building community, of sharing and supporting one another in our common
www.oblateyouth.com has in a very short time brought young people, across this sunburnt land of ours, together.
www.oblateyouth.com is the church meeting young people in their own world, a cyber world.
More pictures and details of the official launch, including speeches and countdown, are available on the website.
One or two feature articles are usually uploaded each month.
Submitting feature articles is a positive way to share ideas
surrounding a vast array of topics- a fantastic chance to learn from
and about each other. Archived articles are available for your
enjoyment in the 'News & Media' section. I hope that other Oblates
working with youth might be interested in contributing an article. It
would also be nice to see some Oblates contributing to the discussion
forum, but you will need to apply for a pass username and password for
THE SITE'S STRUCTURE...
www.oblateyouth.com is divided into five main areas: ‘Home’, ‘News
& Media’, 'Online Community', 'Oblate Family' and 'OYA Events'.
In 'News & Media', the 'OYA News' section keeps youth up to date
with news from OYA communities around Australia, important notices and
invitations to national Oblate events. It also contains current and
archived editions of 'Envision'- the OYA newsletter.
The 'Parishes' section under 'Oblate Family' gives each OYA
community a space to post information about what is happening and
on offer for young people in their parish. It is a great space to
share experiences of community and continue building the National OYA
An important feature of the site is the link to the Discussion
Forums, which provide opportunities for general discussion, film &
book reviews and sports discussion. The Forums can be accessed
through the link on the right-hand-side of the homepage, or via the
'Online Community' section.