Speaking Out: Starting our own youth group

By  Kathleena Henricus, Youth Speak News
  • May 2, 2019

There was one important lesson my friends Matthew Remedios and Monika Cyfko learned while volunteering at our parish’s summer camp — youth need this kind of bonding and faith experience all year round.

Unfortunately, our Mississauga, Ont., parish didn’t have a full-time youth minister, but that proved to be just the impetus they and other camp leaders needed. Employing the help of the church’s seminarian intern, Kevin Adriano, they started up the first ever St. Joseph Parish youth group: ALPHA.

After attending one of these meetings, I’m amazed to see how the atmosphere could be changed so quickly; how our community has rallied around the 17 young members and the leaders and how it has changed the lives of our leaders as well.

This group is so important to me, and to our community, because we all remember falling asleep in the backseat of our parents’ car every week after travelling to Toronto or Brampton to attend the closest youth group event. 

It means so much that the people I grew up with in youth groups and choirs wanted to do one better by the newest generation of Catholics. It’s the kind of humanity you wouldn’t think would happen in your life, the kind that reaffirms not only your faith in Christ, but your faith in people.

Through every difficulty, this small youth group has managed to thrive and the parish community has stepped up to the plate. 

A local mom makes dinner for each meeting and each leader takes time out of their lives to tell their own faith story, helping to shape the understanding of what it means to be Catholic for our entire church community.

We’ve all grown in witnessing this true act of selfless service that started with two kids who saw a problem and wanted to be the solution. 

The Lenten and now Easter season has taught me that the actions of a few can forever change the lives of many. 

The Easter season is so much more than reward for 40 days of giving up your favourite indulgence. It’s a celebration of the work of our Lord, the selfless love we can choose to embody throughout the year through acts of service like this. 

It takes small, consistent actions to build an empire, or in this case, a group of 12- to 17-year-olds trying to embody Christ and bring light to an ever-darkening world.

I can’t begin to describe the energy this youth group has brought into our parish. It’s an indescribable gift to witness the chance our parish youth have and how much closer it has brought the people I’ve gone to church with all my life. I can only hope this group grows and becomes the place where faith, love and fellowship make memories to last a lifetime.

(Henricus, 15, is a Grade 10 student at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)


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Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.