On 30th August, the Woodvale parish youth group hosted a sleep-out to experience what it is like to be homeless and to grow in humility. Although this was the monthly youth group meeting for Woodvale parish, people from other parishes such as North Beach, Bateman, Whitfords and Canning Vale also attended.
The evening started off with mass where the members of the youth group provided the music for the liturgy. Following mass, a simple dinner was served in a similar fashion to a soup kitchen. We were joined by local representatives from the St Vincent de Paul Society and Pregnancy Assistance who told touching stories on how the neighbours in our community might be struggling to make ends meet. Both representatives spoke about the importance of a non-judgmental approach – “seeing Christ in everyone” and providing tangible assistance which reveals a “light at the end of the tunnel”. The stories inspired many of the youth to donate and offered to volunteer for the organisations.
After prayer and games, the group settled down for the night outside the church to sleep out on the cold, wet and hard ground. The group woke up early in the morning feeling sore and lethargic. There is a tendency to take things for granted such as a bed to sleep on and food to eat. It helped us understand that this is the harsh reality which thousands of people face every day.