To live our lives to the fullest, we need to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. On Thursday 28th September, I had the pleasure of being in attendance for the Parra Matters: Home from the front sessions run by Catholic Youth Parramatta and facilitated by the Institute for Mission Team in Blacktown.
Being involved in youth ministry, we tend to give a lot. The home from the front series is an opportunity for youth leaders to step back and receive formation to become more effective in their ministry.
As you walk through the front door you are greeted by Father Paul Roberts (Director) and Charbel Dib (Resource Coordinator) who are walking around with platters of sushi rolls, meatballs and fried chicken. You get to meet old and new youth leaders who hail from the Diocese of Parramatta.
The theme of the night focuses on living life to the fullest, Especially in the areas of health and fitness. We start out with the opening prayer followed on by Father Paul sharing his story about being transported in a mobility scooter from the airplane to the luggage carousel due to having a knee injury and how his friend motivated him into training as his friend had the same knee injury which motivated Father Paul to become fit. Prior to joining the Institute for Mission team, Charbel was involved in the fitness industry as a personal trainer which provides the backstory behind the theme.
Father Paul and Charbel ask six volunteers to collect an A3 sheet of paper which would reveal the top 6 killer medical conditions in Australia which consists of heart disease, diabetes, different types of cancers, high blood pressure, elzymers etc. We learn how exercising can prevent us from contracting these medical conditions.
We are led through a couple of stations based on the seven primal movements:
The room is layout in different types of workout equipment where Charbel and Father Paul demonstrate how we can exercise at home if we cannot make it to the gym. We also discover that we learn the primal movements from birth and it’s only when we start going to school and university that we lose our primal movements due to spending a lot of time sitting down in class.
The next part of the session is focused on nutrition. We participate in an interactive activity where we needed to choose six unhealthy meal images and four healthy meal images that we would normally eat. If you know me well I went straight to choose the burger and chips, chocolate and pizza. It was much harder to choose the healthy foods that I would eat.
The outcome of the activity is that we can apply an 80/20 approach to eating, where we should eat good meals most of the time and occasionally we can have a cheat meal. Other important nutrition tips is to prepare meals at home in advance, using an app to count calories, changing from white rice to brown rice etc.
The last section we focused on is how we can incorporate health and fitness into our faith. We looked at the items that bring us joy in our lives e.g. going for a shower, working out in the gym and the barriers that stop us from living our lives to the fullest e.g. being afraid, financial burdens, lack of access to resources. St Augustine tells us to “take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of the soul as if you were going to die tomorrow”.
We are given tips on how we can incorporate prayer into our daily lives such as praying the psalms on the treadmill, offering up reps and sets in the gym, making meals and meal prep a special time of offering.
Before the end of the night Charbel takes us through a guided meditation where we listen to a psalm while we close our eyes and slowly breathe in and out.
We conclude by singing a praise and worship song, sharing the sign of peace with one another and we write out our prayer intentions on a stick it note and place the prayer intentions on the whiteboard.
The home from the front sessions are unique. It is more of a conversation than a presentation, The Institute for Mission team are genuine people who really want to help the youth ministry community. They can make you focus, laugh and cry all at the same time.
The next day when I went to the gym, I applied the tip of offering up each set by thinking of a person or a situation in my life which has motivated me to complete my workout.
I want to personally thank the Institute for Mission team and Catholic Youth Parramatta (Qwayne Guevara-Local Engagement Leader) for a great night of food, faith, fun and formation. Keep an eye out for the next Home from the front session as Id highly recommend that you mark the next event on your planner for 2018.
For more information on what programs the Institute for Mission offers, the details are below.
Youth Ministry Organisation: Institute for Mission
Contact Number: 02 9831 4911
For more information on upcoming events run by Catholic Youth Parramatta, the details are as follows.
Youth Ministry Organisation: Catholic Youth Parramatta
Address: 51-59 Allawah Street
2148 Blacktown, NSW, Australia
Contact Number: (02) 8838 3248
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Richie Leilua
Richie Leilua is the Youth Ministry Co 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.