(From left to right, Merwyn Monteiro, Andrew Lemalu, Sarah Poloaiga, Haylee Tumanik, Chris Lee, Phil Grech)
The second Western Region Leaders Gathering was held at Our Lady of The Rosary Parish, Fairfield on Monday 4th September. Richie (YMGC, ICS Young Adults, Fairfield), Merwyn (SFXyouth Lurnea), Haylee (St Gertudes Youth Group, Smithfield), Phil (J walkers group, Sefton) and Sarah (U4C youth group Revesby) were the leaders that represented the Western Region. They were joined by Chris Lee and Andrew Lemalu who make up the new CYS team (Rebranded as Catholic Youth Sydney).
The aim of the Western Region is to provide a connection between different parishes in the Western Region by providing support and accountability in youth ministry as well as planning youth ministry events for the Western Region in 2018.
The gathering started off with prayer followed by community time which is a segment where youth leaders get to have some fun before delving into the deeper discussions. The hot seat icebreaker was introduced where a person would need to state their name, parish, occupation and hobbies before the audience receives an opportunity to ask the person two questions. The questions ranged from favourite places to travel to marriage and vocation callings.
The next segment of the night is the parish spotlight where the host parish outlines the statistics of the parish (e,g cultural demographics) and a brief history of the youth ministry activities that have occurred in the past few years.
The Western Region Leaders had the privilege of hosting the CYS team who are currently visiting the different youth ministry communities in the Sydney Archdiocese, as they would like to know how they can support each group to become more effective in their various ministries.
The Western Region Leaders each shared the struggles that they are currently facing in youth ministry such as the correct resources to use for their ministry, advertising and promoting youth ministry events, getting parents involved in youth ministry and new priests changing the plans for the youth ministry sessions. The CYS team will provide support by offering effective strategies on how to overcome the ongoing struggles as well as having a continual dialogue with the groups in the Western Region.
CYS are looking to relaunch their organisation in November at All Saints Parish in Liverpool. There is a possibility that the Western Region Youth Groups will organise a combined youth mass as well as an encounter day session to celebrate the occasion.
The Parish Buddy System has also been introduced in the Western Region which is where parish youth groups will work together to encourage unity by sharing resources and providing accountability and support when needed.
The details for the next Western Region Leaders Gathering are as follows:
Parish: St Francis Xavier Parish
Address: 71 Webster Road, Lurnea
Wednesday 11th October
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1922646231327185/
Written by Richie Leilua (Based on the notes created by Merwyn Monteiro)
Richie Leilua is the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Youth Ministry Game Changers Program, He is a Lasallian Youth Minister at Oakhill College in Castle Hill and assists with the youth group in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Fairfield, NSW.