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Blackwood youth a blessing


It’s just another regular Youth and Young Adults (YAYA) Mass for the 23 young people who make this special celebration happen at Blackwood parish but for their fellow parishioners the effect of these youth is anything but ordinary.

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Using their skills in music, welcoming and public speaking, the members of YAYA have been a shining example of the Archdiocese’s Renewing Parishes campaign, and it’s impacting their entire community.

The group, ranging in age from 12 to 21, are responsible for hosting their community at Our Lady of the Way on the fifth Saturday of the month, managing the ministries as well as music for this Mass which occurs around five times a year.

Despite their differences in age and stages of life and only meeting a short time ago, these young people have quickly begun to form a strong bond which is continuing to strengthen their individual faith journeys.

As Tracey Tessitore, Blackwood parish pastoral associate says, “they are a lovely group that are connected only through their coming to Church and their faith”.

“Their relationships with each other are building, but they are in different stages of their lives with different commitments so we celebrate what we have and what God has blessed our parish with.”

Fr Michael Musyoka Kyumu said witnessing these young parishioners being fully engaged with the life of the Church was “very refreshing and encouraging”.

“They probably do not practice their faith as the older parishioners do, but with this generation of Christians, the gospel is taken to another new level.

“They are open, inclusive and eager to learn. I see them as the fulfillment of the wisdom of Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes: Church in the Modern World. It has been a great experience for me to engage with this group in our parish.”

Proud YAYA parent and Blackwood parishioner Jo Tan spoke about how the group has allowed her three sons’ connection to their parish to grow through music. “It gives them a role in the Church and keeps them connected to the community, and utilises their musical talents beyond music lessons,” he says.

“Our music coordinator Chris Wright has been ‘instrumental’ in his support and encouragement.”

Jo’s teenage sons Lucas, Oliver and Charlie, who attend Mercedes College, and agricultural science student Elizabeth, 21, expressed their gratitude for the group.

“It’s nice to have this (YAYA) to see other people and connect with them,” says Elizabeth.

The young people also have learnt much about themselves and the importance of welcome in hosting Mass for their community. Second year nursing student Jenny, 19, says the group has been good for her own career development: “Speaking at Mass and doing readings has helped with confidence, interacting with people,” she says.

Emmaus Year 12 student Blake says the YAYA program “helps me discuss things about my faith, and learn about it. You generally don’t get to discuss faith, and it’s good to do it with people your own age.”


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