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Youth Minister Profile – Anjalie Upasena

Youth Minister Profile – Anjalie Upasena

 

Hi there! My name’s Anjalie and I’m fortunate enough to be a Youth Minister at St Clare’s College this year. I’m 18 and I come from a family of three with me being the only child! I’m currently studying Medical Science at ANU and discovering all about life after school.

 

Although I graduated last year, I’m privileged enough to be able to go back into my old high school and to serve as a Youth Minister. My faith was fostered and nurtured in the culture of Youth Ministry especially at my high school which gave me the opportunity to be a part of a Youth Ministry Team and to associate myself with like minded young people who were also interested in discovering and growing in their own faith. What Youth Ministry offered was a personal, relational aspect to faith and to God himself; it wasn’t just restricted to traditional ways of thinking but it enabled me to accept faith as something of my own and helped me realise how important it is especially during my teenage years.

 

Seeing how important and critical faith was in my own life and the need I had for God to intervene and be present in my everyday made me realise how young people just like me in their own high schools are thirsting and longing for a love to satisfy them – however many do not know that this love is actually God’s. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to become a Youth Minister- to give young people the opportunity of knowing Jesus just like I had been presented with when I was their age. Being placed at my own old high school meant that I am able to go back and build on those existing friendships I’ve made with a lot of the girls and to see them grow and change into beautiful women of God.  

 

One of my many highlights of being a Youth Minister at St Clare’s is being able to go into different RE classes and to just have normal conversations with the girls and to meet them where they are at. One of the key first steps to evangelization, before even talking about God is to take the time to know that person and to become their friend; because we’re all called to accompany each other on this journey.

 

I’m excited for what is to come of this year and to continue to help all the girls discover that they’re beautiful daughters of God made for a sacrificial love.

Youth Minister Profile – Sarah Ziegler

Youth Minister Profile – Sarah Ziegler

My name is Sarah Ziegler and I am one of the Youth Ministers at James Sheahan Catholic High School in Orange, which is in the Bathurst diocese. I graduated Year 12 at James Sheahan last year with the completion of my HSC and am now spending my gap year in a year of mission. This year I am working alongside Will Tracey (Youth Minister) and Belinda Lee (REC: Mission) to implement effective engagement, participation and faith formation through mission in our school as well as in our wider Parish community.

Having been a student at a Catholic school, I understand and can relate to the importance of providing faith based opportunities for youth. As a student, I was eligible to take part in the CSYMA classes that were offered to Year 10 students at the time. The CSYMA classes enabled me to explore my faith with my peers through active ministry. The highlight of my CSYMA experience was being able to go out to Primary Schools around the Bathurst Diocese to facilitate retreats. When given the option to participate in active ministry, my peers and I really seized the opportunity by taking each program on board, thus allowing ourselves to be open about faith to enhance the experience for the primary school students, which in turn provided them with a powerful experience of faith through mission.

Being a part of this active ministry is an experience I’ll never forget, which is why, this year, I am striving to provide the students of James Sheahan and the youth of the wider Parish community opportunities that will lead them to active ministry. A large focus for both Will and myself this year is to encourage the youth in our school to become more actively involved with our Parish community. This focus can be seen through the Parish youth group, ELEVATE which runs every Sunday afternoon before mass. ELEVATE invites youth from Years 7-11 to gather in a safe and interactive space to explore their faith.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to partake in active ministry as it has allowed me to explore my journey of faith. For the remainder of the year, I look forward to providing and guiding those who wish to explore their faith and mission with a worthwhile experience, just as I have had and continue to have.

Youth Minister Profile – Alex Pereira

Youth Minister Profile – Alex Pereia

My name is Alex Pereira and I am the Youth Minister at Trinity Catholic College Lismore. I am 18 years old and I graduated from Trinity last year. I come from a practicing catholic family of 8 people, I have 5 siblings ranging from 20 to 3 years old. We are all very musical and music has been a part of our lives forever. I play the bass, guitar and sing.

 

One of the ways I got into Youth Ministry was through my passion for music. I started off playing bass guitar for my local parish, then in year 10 joined the school liturgy band as a vocalist and in year 12 was asked to lead the band. During one of the liturgy band rehearsals I was visited by someone who I looked up to a lot in terms of youth/music ministry, and she suggested that I should really think about becoming a Youth Minister as she thought fit the role well. I took her advice and kept it in my mind but didn’t think much of it until right at the end of year 12. I was one of the Ministry Captains and working alongside our school ministry team, the wider school and broader community made my decision to become a youth minister extremely easy and I knew it was something I wanted to do, and could do well.

 

This year I have had the honour of working alongside an amazing team of youth ministers and running various different retreat days, conferences and prayer experiences. These experiences are held for primary and high school students. For many of the retreat days I play electric guitar and bass guitar in the worship band “Wildfire”. This band is made up of Youth Ministers from all around the Lismore Diocese. It has been an amazing journey so far leading worship for so many young people between Port Macquarie and Tweed Heads.

I am looking forward to growing further in my faith this year and creating a stronger culture of ministry in my school. I am excited to continue working both with students in the school, and the other youth ministers in the diocese and to grow alongside them.

Update: CSYMA at Carroll College

by Juliette Pierre

A day filled with God’s word, excitement and community through the dedicated Year 10 CSYMA class, teachers leading workshops and games with their fellow St Bernard’s and St Mary’s Year 6 students. The Confirmation class explored concepts of The Holy Spirit and the gifts and fruits the Lord provides through The Holy Spirit. The Retreat held at Carroll College welcomed St Mary’s, St Bernard’s students and teachers to partake in the enriching day. In preparation for the Confirmation Retreat a series of stations with different activities were created to enable a more hands-on approach to understanding the key symbols of Confirmation. These stations consisted of Banner Painting with the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Scripture Writing including Prayers of the Faithful and Writing Scripture verses on Stones, Heroes Qualities and Traits, the Fruits and Gift Box. Each station reflected on the beliefs of the students and encouraged them to dive more into recognising their God given traits and experiences they have overcome to be the Hero that they are today. As the Year 6 students form and prosper in their Faith they can reflect upon the day with reassurance that the Holy Spirit provides the guidance and light they will require on their personal vocation.

 

Youth Minister Profile – Eoin Garton

Youth Minister Profile – Eoin Garton

I’m Eoin (It’s Irish) and I’m the Youth Minister at St Francis Xavier College and St John the Apostle Parish for 2019. I’m currently studying development studies, which will prepare me for a career related to international humanitarian work, but I’m still a bit uncertain about whether or not it is what I really want to pursue.

 

In many ways, deciding to become a Youth Minister was a way for me to escape from this kind of uncertainty in my life. I decided to become a Youth Minister because I was certain of two things; my desire to help and nurture others, and a desire to share and grow more deeply in my faith. That’s not to say that my faith itself has always been rock solid, but it’s always been something I’ve wanted to develop and pursue further. Plus, I’ve always wanted others to see and know God in the wonderful way that I do. Similarly, a desire to be a leader in the local community and nurture others was something that grew within me as my faith did. The opportunity to become a youth minister seemed to be a way for me to combine these two certainties in my life and has so far given my life a stronger sense of purpose, which I am very grateful for.

 

Being a Youth Minister has provided me with opportunities to interact with people I had never expected to. Although I’m placed at a high school, I’ve had the opportunity to not only support the spiritual development of the high school students but also of primary school students. We were fortunate to send our youth ministry team to run a sacramental reflection program at St John the Apostle Primary School. Not only was it a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the neighbouring schools, but it was also rewarding to see the high school students share their own faith and knowledge, and connect with the primary students through that faith.

 

In this sense, being a Youth Minister has afforded me the ability to build bridges bridges between different groups of people. This was also exemplified through the wonderful Stations of the Cross which was run collectively by students of both St Francis Xavier and Agapé Youth Group at St John’s. I’m really looking forward to strengthening the bridge between these groups in particular, but, most of all, I’m excited to play a role in the creation of an interconnected faith community in the Belconnen region.

Youth Minister Profile – Amber Scanes

My name is Amber Scanes and I am a Youth Minister at St John Paul College in Coffs Harbour. I am 18 and graduated from St John Paul College last year.

 

I have always found Youth Ministry an integral part of any Catholic school. During my years of schooling, I found that the Youth Ministers had always had a profound impact on the students, myself included. So I am really thankful to the Youth Ministers who really showed me what life is like in colour, and for revealing to me the goodness of God.

 

I have had many incredible experiences so far being a Youth Minister. One of the ones I hold close to my heart is my immersion trip to the Philippines. I was thrown into a world far different from my own, and I was exposed to some pretty tough sights. But the one thing that kept the Filipino people so joyous, was their belief in God. They knew that He was looking after them, and they trusted in Him. As I went back to my home, I began noticing God in every little thing, and every single person I came into contact with. That truly shaped me into the woman I am to this day, and just how I Minister to the students at my school.

 

Through this job, I am able to see very different personalities in the students. Each one at a different step or pace in their faith journey, and each one impacts me more than they could know. The thing that I am most looking forward to this year, is to see students delve deeper into their faith and grow as young men and women. For them to realise that they are so incredibly loved and that each and every single one of them has an impact on this world. I am looking forward to seeing them become exactly who they were created to be, children of God.

CSYMU and the Ugandan Vision 2019

by Masiko Chris Beckham

It all began with the East Africa Teacher Formation Conference in 2017 and 2018 where 141 and 120 participants respectively from more than 20 dioceses across east Africa gathered in Masaka Diocese. The conference included teachers and educational leaders from Catholic schools and education offices. This ignited a burning desire in the hearts of most of the participants who wished nothing less than to start the program in their schools and dioceses.

CSYMU has had an incredible breakthrough with the grace of God. In 2019 the program was introduced in 11 dioceses all over Uganda. Holding the very first National Diocesan Coordinators’ meeting at the end of 2018 where 11 Diocesan Coordinators gathered. The key outcomes of the meeting resolved to focus on sensitization as part of the implementation process, as a way of breaking new ground  in places where the program will be introduced for the first time.

In this case initial retreats for teachers and students where conducted in the Dioceses of Soroti, Tororo and Moroto. The focus was to introduce the program to teachers and students through promoting the vision of creating Catholic schools as centers of the new evangelization and conducting recollections which focused on increasing the spirituality of participants. In Soroto Diocese one secondary school was reached, 700 students and 10 teachers trained; 7 primary schools, 18 secondary schools and 1 institution with 5,491 pupils, 6229 students and 69 teachers were respectively trained in Tororo Diocese. In Moroto Diocese, five secondary schools were reached, 2029 students and 63 teachers were trained. Leadership and teacher formation programs were also conducted in Fortportal and Kasese Dioceses where 27 head teachers and religious teachers, 15 teachers and youth leaders respectively attended. Total schools reached are 5,491 pupils, 8958 students and 184 teachers and leaders were trained during first term. In the remaining part of the year, we are hoping to have more initial retreats and formation programs being conducted as we reached out to other dioceses which are part of the CSYMU network.

On the other part of the ongoing formation for teachers and youth leaders, we are organizing our first Equipping School 2019 between Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th September 2019 in Kasana-Luweero Diocese. We hope to have between 100 to 150 participants from all parts of Uganda and some people from Kenya.

 

Lismore Diocese LEAD Gathering 2019

Lismore Diocese LEAD Gathering 2019
 

On the 14th-15th of March 145 Students, 24 Youth Ministry officers and 20 Parish Secondary Schools staff members attended LEAD at McAuley Catholic College, Grafton.

Grow. Harvest. Rejoice. was the theme of this two day gathering for senior students (Year 11 and 12) to grow in Skill and Virtue. The Welcome to Country led by local elder Dean was a wonderful start to LEAD. He got the students up to learn a dance and this really set an inclusive and engaging mood to kick off the gathering. 

There were a variety of activities the group participated in with the Connect Proclaim Respond (CPR) process being used throughout to develop workshop themes.

The activities were facilitated by the Lismore Diocese Youth Ministry Officers who shared input on themes of servant leadership, missionary discipleship and personal testimony and stories.

Lismore Diocese Worship Band, Wildfire led the praise and worship throughout LEAD with the Thursday night rally a particularly moving experience with many students appreciating and commenting on the effectiveness of adoration as a time to spend with Jesus.

“Coming together as a group of teens involved in the Catholic faith at Lead has been an eye-opener. For me, my favourite part was watching Wildfire. To be able to see young people like me sharing their ministry and expressing it through music has helped me to see that there are so many ways to celebrate your faith in a way that suits you.”  Sophie Pereira Trinity Catholic  College, Lismore
“Lead was an amazing experience, The people who went became a lot closer and we went back and started our own senior ministry team to do ministry and community work throughout the school” Jacob Smith St Joseph’s College Banora Point

Western Deanery Retreat Days

Western Deanery Retreat Days – Angela Read

On the 2nd and 3rd of April, the CSYMA team travelled out to the western deanery to run two retreats. The retreats were ran for the year 8 and year 9 year groups from McAuley Catholic Central School, Tumut, St Anne’s Central School, Temora, and Sacred Heart Central School, Cootamundra. On the 2nd of April, the year 8’s from each school travelled into Cootamundra for their retreat “I AM” – self image. Throughout the day there were three sessions The first session looked at how everyone has talents, gifts and personalities that lead to our identity and contributing factors to our identity are called labels. In the second session looked at the way we live, and act including how we treat ourselves is reflected in the way we respect and value others, and how our actions have an impact on self image. The third and final session of the day looked at how Jesus desires that we get to know him intimately. He gave his life for us because he saw our worth and through knowing this we are able to understand that we really matter.

 

On the 3rd of April year 9 from each school also made the trip into Cootamundra for their retreat, “Catch the Wave”. Throughout the day there were three sessions; exploring How God is Love and how humanity is created out of his love and his thirst for relationships with this God of love, the brokenness of humanity, caused by sin, is evident everywhere we look. The salvation message was explored including how God created humanity out of love from which sin entered the world through a choice away from his love, and how Jesus giving his life shows that he sees worth in us and how we realise that we matter;

 

Throughout the sessions over the two days we explored the session themes through dramas, personal sharings, activities and breaking off into small groups to discuss further. Overall the days were a huge success and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves and were able to interact with the youth ministers through games of touch football and handball.

Youth Minister Profile – Neve Tually

Youth Minister Profile – Neve Tually

My name is Neve Tually and this year I am the Youth Minister at Merici College, and the Central Canberra Parish. I am currently 19, I live in Yass with my family and am taking a break from Uni to spend a little more time figuring out what I would like to study in the future.

Youth Ministry has always been something I knew was important – being a student at a Catholic school I had the opportunity to be a part of a Youth Ministry Team, as well as attending events such as school retreats, conferences and youth rallies. Events like these not only grew my own faith in a powerful way, but also shaped my view on the importance of Youth Ministry. A large factor in why my faith is as important to me as it is today, is the opportunities that I was provided at youth ministry initiatives in the Archdiocese. My faith is something which brings so much to my life and the opportunity to share that with others is what being a Youth Minister is all about.

Being a Youth Minister means that I get to work with people from all walks of life – each person has a different background and experience, and responds to faith in a different way. One of the opportunities in my ministry this year has been to work with the Merici Youth Ministry team in being a part of faith events in the school – the biggest of the year so far being the whole school Easter Liturgy. It was inspiring to see how the entire school participated – all the way from the students with roles to those in the audience. Working with the Youth Ministry Team to plan and lead the liturgy meant that not only did the students get to experience the faith in an interactive and captivating way, but also to share their own faith with others.

I am excited to continue working both with students in the school, and the kids and young adults in the Parish, to help to bring them into our community – to show each of them God’s love and walk with them on their own journey. Having seen in my own life what a powerful effect this type of ministry can have, I am excited to now pass that on to those around me.