Knights focus on faith among youth

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Knights focus on faith among youth
Tomasz Juszczak and John Prichard. Photo: Naomi Leach

The need for renewal in faith amongst the younger generation has proved the catalyst of a fresh focus for Tasmania’s Knights of the Southern Cross.

Dedicated to proclaiming and developing Christian values and ethics in society, the Tasmanian Knights are known for their service in parishes, supporting seminarians and assisting with the practical needs of religious communities.

However, the lack of young people involved in the Church has led to the Knights placing a greater emphasis on supporting youth ministry.

With some practical service to the state’s youth already under their belt – the Knights’ state president John Prichard and his wife Ruth have assisted at the past two youth Pilgrimages to St Patrick’s Colebrook – the group has now made a significant financial donation towards assisting young people to encounter Jesus and grow in their faith.
With 100 Tasmanian young people expected to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth this December, the Knights have made a contribution of more than $4,000 towards assisting those who might not otherwise be able to attend.

“We’re all church-going men, and we see in our churches that the majority of our churches are filled with people 60 years plus – and there aren’t many youth in our churches,” Mr Prichard said.

“Those that are there are faith-filled, and it’s wonderful to see them, but we’re wondering: where are all the rest of their generation?

“We realised that the Office of Youth Evangelisation here is doing really good work to build leaders amongst Catholic youth who then evangelise other youth back in.”

It’s that good work that Mr Prichard and the other Knights are hoping that – with their support – will create a ‘snowball effect’ which will then help the wider Church.

“Youth coming together in these festivals realise that there is real strength and real power and they’re not alone. So attendance at these events helps to regenerate that spirit and fire and fill them with courage,” he said.

The donation, which was made possible through a grant by Southern Cross Care Australia – a Catholic organisation providing aged care facilities which was founded by the Knights of the Southern Cross – will help young people attend the ACYF who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of attending.

Director of Youth Evangelisation Tomasz Juszczak says the donation is ‘significant’.

“I’m really excited because I know some people have already said that they need a bit of [financial] help – so I’m really excited that we’ll be able to help them in that way.”