Fr. Joshua Roldan, seen here at the Ordinandi Dinner in 2013, takes over as new director of the Office of Catholic youth in the Toronto archdiocese June 30. Photo by Emanuel Pires/Archdiocese of Toronto

New OCY director asks youth to trust God’s plan

By  Mary French, Youth Speak News
  • June 16, 2021

This summer, Catholic youth in the Archdiocese of Toronto will be welcomed by a new face and voice to encourage them in their faith journey

Fr. Joshua Roldan will begin his new assignment as director of the Office of Catholic Youth (OCY) June 30, taking over from Fr. Frank Portelli.

The OCY primarily functions as a support to youth ministries in individual parishes throughout the archdiocese, empowering them to engage with youth and young adults in their local communities. OCY also organizes programs such as the Theology on Tap food, fellowship and theological talk gatherings.

Roldan’s love for God and for the Catholic faith flowered during his time at the University of Toronto and in his formation years at Serra House and St. Augustine’s Seminary. The now 36-year-old was ordained to the priesthood in 2013. Roldan has served throughout the archdiocese, from his home town in Mississauga to his most recent posting at Holy Martyrs of Japan Church in Bradford.

Roldan attributes remaining obedient and trusting of God’s plan as bringing him to holiness. It’s a message of faith he relates to young people today. The path to holiness isn’t always easy, but the fruit of it — a spiritual conversion of self and the world — is the sweetest of blessings, he tells them. He explains that true happiness and peace come from taking that leap of faith and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

“(Young people) are being called by God, they all have a vocation, they all have a mission and they are called to discover whatever that mission is,” said Roldan. “Only they can fulfill it and the world needs them to. That’s how they are going to become holy and that’s how they are going to make the world holy.”

John MacMullen, the associate director of OCY, is excited and waits in anticipation for the direction OCY will take with Roldan in office.

“Fr. Joshua is very mission focused — how to create a dynamic Church that’s really focused on proclaiming the Gospel,” said MacMullen. “He and I are very much on the same track that way. How to grow youth ministry, how to expand support to assist parishes in the diocese, so we can bring more people to Christ.”

MacMullen has known Roldan since his ordination and, having worked with him at Steubenville Toronto conferences and with local youth ministry events and initiatives, says he is very excited to have Roldan on the team. 

“We are trying to create a mission to have every parish in youth ministry. We are hoping for the same thing: growth, and to establish youth ministry across the entire archdiocese for young people in every single community.”

The first landmark OCY event under Roldan’s watch is poised to be the Renew Toronto Young Adult Conference slated for Oct. 18 at Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto. This gathering for young adults aged 19-39 will feature four workshops and six yet-to-be-announced speakers. The conference’s theme of renewal is rooted in Romans 12:2, which reads: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

(French, 23, has a Bachelor’s of Catholic Studies from Seat of Wisdom College and lives in Barrie Ont.)

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