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New faces at youth office


A social worker with strong ties to the Vietnamese Catholic Community has been appointed as the new coordinator of the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults (COYYA).

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Julian Nguyen started in the role last month, replacing Peter Bierer who is now the Archdiocese’s assistant director of Pastoral Life and Mission.

Mr Nguyen, 29, will be a familiar face to many as last year he attended the historic first assembly of the Plenary Council as one of the Archdiocese’s lay members. He is also a member of the newly-formed Interim Diocesan Pastoral Council.

Over the years the talented musician has performed at many diocesan youth gatherings with the Vietnamese Community Youth Band.

The son of parents who were boat people in the 80s, Mr Nguyen has extensive leadership and ministry experience in the life and mission of the Church. He was recently appointed as the assistant vice-president of the Vietnamese Catholic Community and was president of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement based at Our Lady of the Boat People Church, Pooraka, for the past four years, stepping down in recent times.

In an interview with The Southern Cross in 2020, Mr Nguyen said he felt privileged to support so many children on their faith journey.

“A big part of our Vietnamese culture is our Catholic faith,” he said.

“Everyone in the Vietnamese community is very supportive of the youth group and that’s how it has stayed so vibrant through all these years.

“Our youth group has been running for so long that we are seeing many of the parents who grew up with the same sort of structure and routines now having their children attending the youth group.”

A qualified social worker, Mr Nguyen was a senior practitioner in the Community Youth Justice section of the Department of Human Services prior to starting at COYYA.

Also joining the revamped COYYA team is newly-appointed diocesan youth ministry officer, Juliana Kittel.

Juliana has been involved in youth and young adult ministry for many years. She has spent time overseas working with the Marists in the Amazon region and Harlem neighbourhood in New York City, as well as some time in Geneva with the United Nations. Most recently she has been working as student advisor at the University of Adelaide.


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