Just going to church once a week is never enough for me if I want to grow into the person Jesus wants me to be. I believe God has given us gifts to glorify Him and we should use our gifts for the greater good. Everyone is busy- we all have commitments and sometimes we tend to withdraw ourselves from social responsibilities, but I have found serving so fulfilling. I am a youth in St. Joseph’s Church, Sentul and I have the privilege of making an impact in others’ lives. I have come across many inspiring young people and I am blessed to meet them at the right time. St. Joseph’s youths have recently begun a mission called Youth Outreach Programme in October. A group of enthusiastic young people have been reaching out to the many youths in the parish, the poor and marginalized, and the refugee community. Our vision is for us to be one community. We have had some activities within our parish community over the course of two months.
We started off the mission with a joyful fellowship with the Educare group. Educare provides free tuition classes for the underprivileged children around the parish’s neighbourhood. The fellowship bore fruit after a few weeks of preparation, the Reach Out Grant (ROG) application, and sponsorships from generous individuals. The story didn’t end there; we raised funds for our outreach programme by throwing a breakfast sale in November. I signed up to volunteer at the breakfast sale. It was definitely an eye opening experience for me. In addition, I admire the dedication, determination, and hard work put into the mission by the young people regardless of how busy they are!
A week later, we celebrated The Third World Day of the Poor cum Parish Family Day 2019. We had a multilingual morning mass and subsequently, a carnival – there were games, food and entertainment. SJC Youths had the ‘Big Splash’ game booth and I had a good time that day. I could feel the excitement from the players. My friends and I were running about the tent to collect the tennis balls that flew all over the place! Having been in St. Joseph for 7 years, this was my first multicultural event in the parish where I felt truly a part of the youths and the parish community and not just as a guest or visitor.
I am from Myanmar and this year, SJC Youths approached me saying that they would like to know and befriend the Myanmar youths. I contacted Paschal Tu Tung, the youth representative in the Zomi Catholic Community Malaysia (ZCCM) in our parish. There are various ethnicities in Myanmar and Zomi is the sub-group of the Chin ethnicity. Paschal was very open-minded and willing to meet the SJC Youths. At our first meet and greet, the representatives from ZCCM came and we got to get to know each other and talked about growing together as one community as we move forward into 2020. Everyone agreed that we should start with celebrating the Youth Christmas Party together.
ZCCM youths kicked off the party with a Myanmar Christmas song and the icebreaking game was exciting! There were many unfamiliar faces around but after a few rounds of different games in between the performances, I started to feel more comfortable and the atmosphere grew more festive. Like every party, we had good food; there was an array of dishes and desserts made with love. We also served a popular traditional Myanmar dish called “La Phat Thok”. Before the night was over, we had a very fun sing-a-long caroling session. I’m still singing “repeat, repeat the sounding joy” in my mind. My cheeks hurt from laughing so much that night. Furthermore, there were songs performed in our mother tongues (English, Tamil, and Myanmar) and everyone listened, jived, and danced to the songs. Indeed, music does bring people together!
Here are some thoughts from my friends:
“Our mission is to be one community regardless of background or language. Every outreach has been successful and I particularly enjoyed the Christmas Party; some youths who were already in their mid-twenties said they’ve been waiting so long for this and it finally happened!” – Jeromya.
“Everything was so fun [at the party] and I enjoyed it!” – Agatha.
“The Youth Outreach Program [is] and the Christmas Party was very good. It should have been initiated a long time ago. Ten years have passed [since I came to this parish], but it’s better late than never!” – Paschal.
Although this year is coming to an end, with the friendships made, we are looking forward to the New Year and all the new possibilities awaiting us as we continue with our mission!
by Jemevic Poe Mu
Youth Outreach Programme