Living the Faith Series is a collection of stories of faith from the youth of the Archdiocese of Perth.
The beginning of my journey in Youth Ministry
My name is Caiden Vales de Menezes and I am 22 years old. I am currently a Primary School Teacher in a Perth Catholic School. I am also a Youth Leader of the St Joseph’s Youth Group in Queens Park.
My journey in Youth Ministry began all the way back in 2016, during my first year of university. Having recently graduated from St Norbert College, where I was involved in a range of Student Ministry experiences, I was looking to serve the Catholic community. The call to guide the youth in my Parish was extremely fitting. My main focus of Youth Ministry was to allow the young people in my Parish to develop a relationship with Christ.
ACYF became the highlight of my four years in ministry
A highlight in my four years of youth ministry will definitely have to be The Australian Catholic Youth Festival. At first, I thought that this event was just an ‘ordinary’ youth event where you talk about your feelings. However, I was mistaken. ACYF was definitely a life-changing experience that will forever hold a place in my heart. During each day of the Festival, I can truly say that my relationship with God became stronger.
ACYF was a fantastic opportunity to meet other young Australian Catholics and develop a network. Having the opportunity to attend the plenaries, talks & workshops with over 5000 young Catholic Australians was an exciting & faith-filled experience.
My vocation as a teacher
ACYF came during a very important time in my life where I was just about to graduate from university and begin my first full-time job as a teacher in 2020. It was during Fr Rob’s ‘Lord I Need You’ prayer for Youth Leaders & the young people, that I knew deep down in my heart that I’d made the right decision to say yes to begin my vocation as a teacher.
As a Primary School Teacher, my time at ACYF has inspired me to include these experiences in my Religion lessons, whether it be teaching my students the My Lighthouse dance or retelling Bible stories through Godly Play. However, the main lesson I learnt from ACYF, which I hope to inspire my students and youth members is that Christ loves us and He is always there with us every step of the way.”