“Friendship is one of life’s gifts and grace from God”
Christus Vivit, 151
The first time I joined the young people was for World Youth Day 2019 which coincided with Palm Sunday on the 14th of April. Our St. Joseph Church (SJC) young people animated the mass which was then followed by some games and fellowship in our church hall. It was nice seeing the young people come and serve together in church on that day as it brought all of us together as a family. I was never the person who liked joining big groups but when I was asked to serve on that day and was invited to join in for the fellowship after mass, seeing how everyone was so welcoming and open during the games and fellowship was when I realized that I wanted to be a part of our youth community. And I was already looking forward to our next youth gathering.
The next time we met was on the 4th of August which had good turnout of young people yet again. It was a great time with fun games, good food, and friendly company. It was nice meeting many young people from our church who came together from all walks of life for a good time. It was an opportunity for us to bond on that day before we left for AYPA later that week. Fourteen of us from our parish participated in the ArchKL Young People’s Assembly (AYPA) which was held from the 9th till 12th of August at the MAJODI Centre in Johor.
On the first day, we started off with a relaxed breakfast and a pretty cool ice breaking session followed by mass by Archbishop Simon Poh which culminated with AYPA’s launch. We then had a plenary session at night where Archbishop Simon Poh took us on a journey with Pope Francis’s latest Apostolic Exhortation, “Christus Vivit” which means Christ is Alive, a love letter dedicated especially for us Young People! The next day was an early day for us as we begin with Mass. Later, we had an engaging talk about Social Media and Evangelisation by Fr. Antonius Haryanto from the Indonesian Youth Commission. In the evening, we had Aktiviti Padang. Archbishop Julian Leow joined us too for a round of Tug-of-War and Sr. Michaelina aced Dodge Ball! Later that day, YB Kasturi Patto, the MP of Batu Sekawan, Pulau Pinang, spoke to us on “A Call To Serve the Community” where we were told that politics can also be a vocational calling to serve the voiceless, the poor, and the marginalized. She shared with us her experience as a child and her journey to becoming a politician. This really changed my perspective about politics as I have never viewed it as platform to serve the community because we were always told that politics can be dirty and corrupted.
The third day of AYPA also started with mass, this time celebrated by Fr. Simon Lau. During the homily, he shared with us his experience of becoming a Christian and his journey to priesthood. This was then followed by a talk on “Leadership and Accompaniment as a Young Person in the Church” by Archbishop Julian Leow. We also had the privilege to have a question and answer, and a dialogue session with him. The highlight of the day for me was the Malam Sahabat – a sarong themed party! From the great spread of food that was prepared for us to performances (SJC young people participated too), it was truly a great night of fellowship.
SJC Youth Ministry was also honored with a presentation of certificate for participating in the recent Reach Out Grant (ROG) initiative. For those of you who don’t know, the ROG was created to enable Young People to bring significant change to our marginalized brothers and sisters during this Extraordinary Mission Year.
AYPA was truly an amazing experience – from meeting young people from other parishes to walking to find a mamak shop in the night for drinks with a bunch of them and playing charades till wee hours in the morning – it was a memorable experience! Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, we left AYPA with new friends and so many memories that I’m sure we will cherish.
After AYPA, the Young People from Good Shepherd Church invited us for a game of badminton! It was a great (and sweaty) day – befriending more young people from our KL North District and sharing our stories, struggles, and of course, we had a good bout of the banter bus! I am not much of a player but it was nice just being there to spend time with friends!
Being an introvert myself, our SJC Youth have been very welcoming, open and inclusive to everyone and it has made it easier for me to be a part of the family. From having breakfast together to just casual chats, my journey with them so far has been a memorable one! Every time when there is a gathering, I leave with my heart so full of joy and plenty of great memories to take back with me. And I look forward to creating more great memories with them.
By: Josheena Monisha Pereira