Each year, students from St Paul’s Catholic Secondary College, Kempsey graduating class are invited to apply for traineeships at the College.
Four students took up the positions this year, two as Youth Ministry Officers, one as an Aboriginal Liaison Trainee and the fourth as a Sports Trainee.
The Leader of School Evangelisation at St Paul’s College, Dominic MacAndrews, said that the College has been blessed to have Youth Ministry Officers as part of the team.
“For the seventh year in a row, we have employed one or two full-time Youth Ministry Officers (known as YMOs),” said Dominic.
The YMOs for 2020, who graduated from St Paul’s last year, are Calissa Denaro and Darcy O’Loughlin.
“The Youth Ministry Officers are passionate about their faith in Jesus Christ and want to share that with the students at St Paul’s,” said Dominic.
Dominic believes that faith is “caught and not taught” and that the YMOs are young modern-day witnesses to the faith for St Paul’s students.
The YMOs organise retreats and reflection days, Masses and liturgies and assist in Religion classes. In Term two this year, Calissa and Darcy also spent time with the students at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.
Calissa said they helped Year 4 classes with maths and reading and in Term 3 and 4 they will be working with them and Kindergarten students during religious education classes.
“Our aim is to provide the primary school students with support in all aspects of their schooling, with a particular focus on making religion more engaging and enjoyable”, said Calissa.
Calissa and Darcy also work with St Joseph’s music students to create a choir to sing at school and weekend masses.
Dominic said that St Paul’s students are able to see the person of Jesus lived out and through the YMOs.
“Through the presence and work of the YMOs our students are invited to consider their own relationship with God and are supported and encouraged to explore and deepen this relationship,” said Dominic.
Youth Ministry offers unique opportunity
For Darcy O’Loughlin, who is planning to study for a degree in forensic science, the traineeship as a Youth Ministry Officer has given her the opportunity to learn about the work environment and to further explore her spirituality.
Calissa Denaro said that she and Darcy are in a unique position to relate to students.
“The students all know us, we’re young, they’re not scared to talk with us, and we know where they are coming from”, said Calissa.
Calissa plans commence her studies for a teaching degree next year.