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Friday, June 22, 2018

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About, 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 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 5:4).”

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’.

Through, 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 Catholic faith. has in a very short time brought young people, across this sunburnt land of ours, together. 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 that.

THE SITE'S STRUCTURE... 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 community. 

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.

Copyright 2014 OMI Australia