As well as making up the youth choir, the young people aged between 14 and 25 also lead the liturgy once a month and are involved in other parish activities such as Lenten programs, the Stations of the Cross and the outdoor Christmas Mass.
Some are members of Youth for Christ and hold fundraisers such as ‘sausage sizzles’ at the church to raise money to assist with attendance at interstate conferences. In school holidays they get together with the Glenelg parish for a “messy Church” day of activities for the children.
With the support of the parish team, they are constantly identifying opportunities for youth to be involved in the life of the parish.
Sisters Amanda and Serena Razon are the prime organisers of the choir which meets half an hour before Mass to practice and at other times if they need to learn new hymns.
They said there was a great “willingness’ in the parish to use the strengths and gifts of young people.
“The members of the parish team are always willing to listen to us,” said Amanda, 25. “There are a lot of opportunities for youth to be involved and use their talents.”
The group came together about five years ago when a few of them started singing and it has gradually grown, particularly as the Youth for Christ group has become more closely affiliated with the parish.
“We have seen it really blossom over the past few years,” said Serena, adding the older parishioners were very appreciative and often thanked them after Mass for the music.
“Whenever we miss a week (of singing) they ask where we’ve been,” she said. “A lot of people come to the 6pm Mass because of the music…new people are coming and sometimes we even get a round of applause.”
The choir has had requests from other parishes to sing at Mass as well as at weddings and funerals. They have performed at the Cathedral and the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Adelaide two years ago.
Of Filipino descent, the Razon sisters said music was a very important part of their faith and was a “big thing” in the Philippines.
While music helped them to stay connected to the Church, it was more about “serving” and “knowing that we can give back”.
“It’s another way to involve youth and show them they can be involved too – a lot of them have gifts and can use them in the Mass,” said Amanda.
Anyone wanting to join the youth and choir group should contact the parish on 8293 6600 or email email@example.com