ketekorero August 2015
youth Building future leaders in Gisborne
The church was a simple plain, old building. A building with a few decorations hanging on the walls, uncomfortable pews, and on a Sunday full of words that I couldn’t understand. I would go up with my hand over my chest, and mum would have some wafers and wine, which I never quite understood because my thoughts of alcohol and the Church didn’t align. In my mind, God was the man who gave me blue eyes and red hair. He had lots of rules, and He lived just above the clouds. My thoughts on salvation were somewhat askew. God forgives, right? So why did I need to live a certain way or follow His teachings? Oh, how things have changed. Fast forward a few years and the church is now warm and comforting. Mass is still at times hard to understand, but so reverent and meaningful. The wafers and wine are most certainly the body and blood of Christ. Those ‘rules’ that God had have become the building blocks of my morals. Filing the Void I had tried for years to fill a void with so many different things: I wasn’t unhappy and nor was I angry or lonely; but something was missing. What could I be living for if I wasn’t striving for the eternal joy of knowing God? I have come to realise that the things of the world cannot provide lasting happiness. I still have my moments where I think something to be far more essential than need be, but I feel so much more comfortable with where I am in my faith. Perhaps part of my reasoning for being distant was the falling number of young Catholics, especially in a small city like Gisborne. I felt lonely in my faith, or ‘different’ to others at school. Setfree, a Catholic Youth Festival, was an excellent opportunity to make me feel inclusive in a group of young Catholics. Meeting people who had the faith and who were witnesses to this faith that gave them absolute joy was eye opening. This made me eager for a generation of young people fully alive in Christ in my little community in Gisborne, especially Campion College. My best friend
Members of the Identity Youth Group, Gisborne. Mary and I decided to step up and establish a youth group where students felt at home in the church and to encourage them finding their personal faith. Our youth group began as ‘JC revolution’ about a year-and-ahalf ago and, as of this year, has emerged as ‘Identity Youth.’ It has been great fun to get to know students on a deeply personal level, and we have had some exciting games nights, as well as discussion and sharing plenty of pizzas. Our youth group runs once a month after youth Mass and has grown from 5-10 to 20-30 participants in the past year. We also dedicated a lot of time to promoting the youth group in our classes at Campion College, and this has paid off. Road Trips to Hamilton We have been on many memorable road trips to Hamilton for events the Catholic Youth Office has run, such as Setfree and Sports Night, all of which have been such a great success. With the support of our parish St Mary’s Star of the Sea, we have been able to accomplish much more than we had expected. Being a young Catholic in Gisborne is no longer lonely, but so very exciting and enrichening. Mary and I get to see people grow closer to Christ and experience the same things we have, and more. ‘Identity youth’ is like a second family, and as Mary and I are moving on to study elsewhere next
year, we hope to build up some future leaders of the group. I look forward to the future of our youth group, and the fruit that it might bear in the lives of our young community. Ciara Lovelock, College Gisborne
Mary Hogan and Ciara Lovelock at the 2015 youth volunteer awards in Gisborne.
Interested in becoming involved in a Youth Group? Contact Alex Bailey, firstname.lastname@example.org and Briege Koning, email@example.com
Publication of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, New Zealand