by: Jermaine Beins and Ylan Pham (Youth Leaders – Bayswater Parish)
Well…both of us grew up into religious families that always put God first. They always played an active role at masses and contributed to community life to the best of their ability. One great thing they taught us was to live out our Christian mission of service to one another and during that time, we sang in choirs, joined youth groups in school and at our local parish, and gave of ourselves through our service to others in our daily lives.
Especially in the last three years of studying we always prayed hard and asked God to be there to help us in our studies and to help us grow both personally and spiritually in our lives. We believe that God did indeed help us because we have reached our potentials and the goals we set out.
So when we went to Melbourne in December last year for the first Australian Catholic Youth Festival, we saw it more as a chance to relax and used it as our school leavers rather than a chance to develop a closer relationship with God.
When we arrived, we had three days to journey around the busy and bustling Melbourne which we had always heard about. We went to a trampoline place, relaxed on beach chairs next to the famous Flinders Street station, took photos with celebrities and saw the home of cricket, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
But one thing that started to get us in the mood for the youth festival was the mini masses which we had almost every day at the hotel, as well as Father Mark’s obligation of morning, afternoon and night prayers. Some places where we prayed included the train, bus, while walking around and in our hotel rooms.
The nine disciples of CYM were all excited for the youth festival, so we made our way to the opening plenary session to kick start our religious journey. We sat in an auditorium that was filled with 3000 youth participants who were all excited and pumped to embrace their faith. We sang many songs, met our leaders for the youth festival and even got a heart filled talk about how we as youth are called to serve God by the loveable Bishop Hurley.
Over the three day festival we grew stronger and closer to God through the activities and talks that we went to. But one moment that touched and inspired both of us was at the last plenary session where musician and speaker; Steve Angrisano asked a section of the auditorium to start a slow motion Mexican wave. We were filled with awe at this sight, and it made us realise that we are not alone because there are many other young Australians who are in the same situation as us.
When we came back from Melbourne in some way or another we were both rejuvenated and ready to use the talents that God gave us. Consequently, we decided that one great way we can give back to God was by becoming coordinators of Saint Columba’s youth ministry, so that we as a team can influence each member of our youth group to become an active member of their faith. In our spiritual journey, as youth co-ordinators, we want to inspire youth’s faith and build towards the next WYD in Poland 2016.
Finally, we would like to thank Father Minh Thuy for supporting and funding us so that we were able to experience God and his amazing works.
God Bless you and your family, Thank you!!!!