Opportunities for the youth of our Parish and their families
“The time we have at mass gives us so many opportunities whether to gain new skills, understand our faith or simply to socialize with friends old and new. Only 45 minutes and yet we achieve so much that can help us in our lifetime. The young people of our Parish have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities to help them in the future and thanks to these opportunities I was lucky to be one of the many of our youth that have benefitted from the experience and lessons taught that have helped me through my education and with my job now as a Product Manager.
Many of you also know Anusha and my sister Emily who have helped out with the music of the Mass and Children’s Liturgy, as well as Dawn who found her voice and leadership skills through gaining in confidence as an altar server and reader with the help of the parishioners. These are just a few of the many Youth that have been helped by the skills and abilities they have learnt and continue to learn through their time at church.
Here are some examples of how you could benefit from each of these groups:
Altar serving helps the children to learn what it is to be part of a team – to work with each other, to learn new skills and responsibilities, to have courage and to gain the opportunity to rise in the ranks and to help lead the altar servers and to train and welcome any children wishing to be a part of this great team of youth. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of the congregation and carry out our duties, but as a team and with the help of members of our parish we gain the courage to serve the mass and aid Father Rory in his duties.
First Holy Communion helps the children to begin the journey in learning about their faith, here they can socialize and work with people their own ages, gaining confidence in themselves and understanding in their belief.
Confirmation helps the children on their final stage in understanding their beliefs and socialising with their class mates – making new friends and gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities to then use them in the future whether for work or education.
Reading – Standing up in front of one person let alone a whole congregation is scary but with the help of the clergy and family I and many others have gained the confidence to stand in front of you today to not only read the readings of the day but also to give this speech with only a couple of notes to aid me. Through this we gain the confidence to project our voice.
Music – Quite a few of our youth who have helped with the music at mass have now go on to play in orchestras or bands, they have gained the confidence and skill to increase their grade levels whether for Violin in Anusha and Emily’s case, piano, guitar and many other instruments thanks to the support and teaching of members of our parish. Here they work as part of a team to help each other to learn new hymns and instruments as well as gaining the confidence in their skills and abilities.
Choir – Whether leading the psalm or singing with the choir, children have the opportunity to become part of a team, to socialize and to gain the confidence in themselves to raise their voices and be heard.
Children’s Liturgy – where the children can be creative and have fun with their peers, learning skills and gaining confidence in interacting with others of their age group. Learning about the Gospel of the day in fun and interactive ways with their friends.
Children’s Social Events – Everyone loves a chance to have fun, to get together with friends, relax and be themselves. Our Social Events help the children to do this and develop skills for future use like with our other groups, to be prepared for the future in learning team and leadership skills, creativity, how to socialize and gaining confidence.
Children’s Mass – Our children’s Masses, that we hold once a month, enable the children to be a part of the Mass whether through readings, singing, playing, welcoming…. It enables them to learn how to work as a team and be confident in their roles and with each other.
Welcoming – “Hello”, it’s such a small word and yet it takes a lot of confidence to say it. Such a small word and yet once uttered it changes everything. It can make someone smile, make friends and give you opportunities that can help you in day to day life or for the future. We greet each other as we come into Mass, we welcome those that are new to the parish, we shake hands and greet those around us during mass and chat with them after in the hall for tea and coffee.
Too many of the young generation hide behind their phones and social media to talk to their friends, usually because they don’t have the confidence or the social skills to talk in person. But by becoming a part of one or multiple teams this can help us to see that we have a voice and that we have the confidence to be who we are, that we shouldn’t be afraid to communicate with each other not on Facebook or messaging but face to face. But we can’t do this alone, we need your help, the congregation to aid us in our endeavors, to help us gain the courage and confidence to grow out of our shells, away from our electronic devices and to discover who we are.”
By Sophie Wake, age 21