What does Year of Youth mean to me as a young person?
The Year of Youth is a year where we can celebrate being young! It equips the next generation of the Church, US, with the knowledge and skills to spread the joy and Good News of the Risen Christ. “Opening new horizons for spreading joy”: this focus is great because often the world has a very narrow view of religion and we often don’t look past what’s portrayed in the media. So, I feel like this Year of Youth theme gives young people permission to express themselves in different ways and to understand they are all members of the Church. We are celebrating the young faith that will keep the Church evolving.
This for me is very exciting because as a youth minister I get to interact with both teachers and students. At St Mary’s Casino, we have a Youth Ministry Team. The Team was formed based on the school theme for the year, ‘Spreading Joy in the Ordinary’. Whenever the Team or I have an idea we think of ways that will engage the students within the school and meet them where they are at. This exposes me and others to new horizons and we learn from each other about who God is.
St Mary’s Parish there is a young adults group called IDENTITY. At the end of Last Term, I asked all young adults in the Parish to write down what they wanted to learn about the Church and religion. From this, it grew into a team of young people willing to serve the needs of our peers. It helped my faith grow stronger knowing there were others like me wanting to contribute to the Church and empower others. We’re excited to invite other Parishes into our vision.
One of my many goals is to allow students to connect with God doing something they enjoy. Within the school, the youth ministry team has started a monthly podcast based on what the Church teachers. We have recently introduced music ministry as well. By opening new horizons students can engage with faith, come to know God as their friend or simply participate by doing something they love.
As a young adult in the Casino Parish community, I have been very blessed to be given the opportunity to go deeper with my faith as a result of the initiatives of the Year of Youth. I also have the awesome opportunity to learn from the parishioners, teachers and students within the community. Pope Francis challenges us to, ‘share the joy of the Lord, the hope of Christ, to welcome opportunities and take that leap of faith’.
The most rewarding thing about my life as a youth minister is the joy of the students who have with or without knowing it, been touch by the love of God.
YMO, St Mary’s Catholic College Casino