The 22-year-old visual arts student has taken on a part-time position supporting youth ministry leaders and groups in parishes, schools and communities.
David’s own involvement with the Awaken Youth Group at St Matthew’s Church in Bridgewater has highlighted the importance of the wider Catholic community supporting young people.
“The first thing that caught my eye at Bridgewater was how loving everyone was towards each other, it’s a perfect example of the Catholic Church today,” he said.
“Our youth group has had fantastic support from other parishioners and the parish priest.”
David’s faith has been nurtured by his family of five and his education at St Ignatius’ College where he attended school retreats in Year 11 and 12, firstly as a participant and then as a retreat leader.
He remains closely connected to St Ignatius’ parish at Norwood, where he sometimes reads and serves on the altar, as well as being actively involved in the Adelaide Hills parish.
David is one of five leaders in the Awaken Youth Group which meets once a month at St Catherine’s School, Stirling.
David said there was an excellent relationship between the parish and school. The youth group sings at weekend Mass once a month and organises a range of activities for young people aged 12 to 16.
When he saw the position advertised for COYYA Youth Ministry support officer he thought it would be a way for him to contribute to the life of the Church and was pleased that “God saw it in his plan for me”.
“The main focus is to keep in contact with youth ministers in schools and parishes to see how we can work together, to show them what we have to offer at COYYA and find out what their communities are getting up to,” David explained.
“It’s a blessing to be able to go out and visit them in their schools and parishes and to see the Church in action.”
He said one of the lessons he had learnt in his Bachelor degree in Visual Arts was to know the intention of what was behind your work.
“As a Catholic, sometimes that intention might be to evangelise and invite other people into what you know as your own relationship with God,” he said.
Since joining the COYYA team based at the Catholic Education Office he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from his co-workers.
“Everyone has been so warm and welcoming…it’s just great to be with people doing their work with the greater glory of God in mind,” he said.
“There’s so many opportunities for us in the Church to invite others into it.”
Rather than dwelling too much on how the Church can attract more young people, David said it was more important for the Church to engage with the “whole congregation” – from “newborns and primary school students through to the older generation”.
“Youth are just one part of that, they are not an outside group. They are at the very beginning of adult life, and the Church has so much to offer them.
“When you see how wonderful and glorious God’s work is, there’s no other way to look than with optimism and trust that it’s all part of God’s plan.”
As for his long-term plans, David said he just wanted to “give of myself in the life I have now and see the fruits that come from that”.
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