Anela Nicholson

How to be a part of the Church now

By  Anela Nicholson, Youth Speak News
  • September 4, 2015

“There’s something amazing happening in the Church, and you’re a part of it.” I heard my local bishop say these words at a youth retreat I attended over the summer and they have resonated with me ever since.

I found these words both inspiring and encouraging because sometimes as Catholic youth we are tempted in a moment of weakness to think that we’re not old enough to really make a difference or help the Church grow.

It’s important to remember that we are actually the cornerstones of the future Catholic Church. We are going to be the next generation of priests, religious, catechists, youth ministers — even the next pope. We need to start getting involved at a young age so that we are ready to help “keep the faith” as St. Paul says. Having said this, how can we as teenagers and young adults become more involved in our Catholic faith?

One way for youth to help the Church grow is by simply extending an invitation to others, whether to attend Mass with you, join your youth group or go to the annual church picnic. Our fellow youth look for inclusive, welcoming environments. By extending an act of kindness to simply ask a friend or relative to join the community, you are showing the love that Christ asks us to radiate as Christians.

Another way to get involved is to become more informed about what the Church upholds and teaches. The friends we invite to join us might want to learn more about our Catholic faith, so it’s vital that the information they receive is correct and presented in terms of Christian virtue.

It’s a valuable idea for youth to find a mentor to help guide them in identifying and following God’s will for their lives. A mentor should be someone who lives out their Catholic faith in a way you find admirable and who you wish to imitate.

A mentor should be able to assist you in identifying your God-given skills and talents as well as help you find service opportunities that will allow you to develop a sense of belonging towards your faith.

As youth and young adults, it’s important to recognize that welcome to active service in the Church. It’s just a matter of finding roles, tasks and ministries that are appropriate to the age and skills of an individual.

Pope Francis once said, “Do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things.” This quote can serve as a mantra to us because it reminds us that God has given each of us special gifts to be used in service to Him and His Church, and that we should also use these gifts to achieve our dreams.

When we think of using our skills in the Church, we may automatically think of joining the choir or the local youth group. But what if we aren’t musically inclined? What other skills might be useful? Youth can look for opportunities to show love to others, even in simple or unexpected ways.

Think about serving the community by spending time with the elderly, who have so much knowledge to share and who are looking for an opportunity to hear and be heard. Another way might be to serve your local parish community as an altar server or lector, a greeter or an usher at Mass, or as volunteer in religious education, children’s liturgy or young adult’s ministry.

Also, don’t be afraid to pursue a possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life, since God may be calling us to help further His Church in this unique way.

Finally, the best way that we as youth and young people can get involved in our faith and help the Church to grow is to be the best example of Catholicism to others. By showing the joy and fulfilment that come from vivaciously living the faith, we will inspire and encourage others to do the same.

(Nicholson, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Regent Christian Online Academy in Nanaimo, B.C.)

Comments (1)

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Very proud of you, Miss Anela!!! Nicely done!

Connie Dunwoody
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