Local youth groups celebrated Advent together at the Archdiocese of Ottawa’s first youth fellowship event. Photo by Rebecca Atkinson

Ottawa youth make new friends at diocesan party

By  Rebecca Atkinson, Youth Speak News
  • December 23, 2016

More than a hundred middle school and high school youth, along with their parish youth coordinators, gathered at a diocesan-wide Advent party in Ottawa on Dec. 16.

With the theme “From Darkness into Light,” the event was the first major archdiocesan youth event of its kind and the first step in developing a longer term networking opportunity.

The Ottawa-area youth coordinators say they hope to have this type of event happen more often, with the possibility of making it a monthly gathering.

The evening started off with some social time, with many taking the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

The night was comprised of several activities, including praise and worship led by the Divine Infant youth ministry band, a talk from a NET Canada representative, and some games.

Dantée Baptiste, a high school youth volunteer, was very happy with the outcome.

“I was looking forward to connecting with other youth from other parishes who I normally don’t get the chance to meet,” said Baptiste, who attended the night after the youth coordinator from her parish strongly recommended it.

Baptiste said the talk and the live music were a particular highlight. She said that, should the diocese make this effort a regular occurrence, she would readily return.

This diocesan-wide ministry came about after a group of youth coordinators and the Family and Youth Ministry Office in the archdiocese decided it was important to give youth the opportunity to be a bigger part of the universal Church.

Krista Wawrykow, officer of the Family and Youth Ministry Office for the Archdiocese of Ottawa, said she values this effort because it gives youth the chance to see they aren’t the only young Catholics around and that there is life to be found in the Church.

“For me, this was a great experience of the beauty of the Church, where we all come together and offer our talents to the Lord,” she said.

While the archdiocese and youth coordinators hope to continue their efforts in uniting the Catholic youth ministry in Ottawa, they have yet to put a date on the calendar for the next event. The diocese is, however, planning to take a group to Steubenville Toronto in July 2017.

(Atkinson, 20, is a first-year journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ont.)

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