After two successful years of face-to-face ministry with young people in this parish, our relationship with NET Ministries is coming to an end. Back in mid-2019, Dan McShea, Unity College Principal, and Fr Peter engaged NET Ministries in a two-year relationship to provide teams of five highly trained young adult missionaries. 2020 saw Peter, Shania, Orrin, Danielle and Elise give one year of their lives to working in our parish while in 2021, we’ve been graced with the gifts of Ellie, John, Rhea, Brooklynn and Caleb.
Our 2021 team of Netters, as they’re affectionately known, arrived in late February and sadly depart next weekend on 13th November. Over the course of the year, they spent four days each week – Tue-Fri – ministering at Unity College during school hours and both weekends and after hours supporting the parish mission. Some of the obvious fruits of their labour include a weekly Friday evening youth group for year 6-8 students, and a weekly Sunday evening youth group for year 9-12 – both of which will recommence in Term 1 next year in some form. They assisted at Kids’ Club (children’s liturgy) during 9.30am OLR Mass on Sundays as well as providing contemporary music ministry twice a month at that same Mass.
Perhaps one of the most valuable things the Netters did this year – indeed both years – was invest themselves in relationships with our parish young adults – giving themselves in relationship out of pure Christian love. The fruit of that love is evident. We have young adults who are engaged in their faith with a desire to give of themselves by serving in different ministries; some of them 3-4 nights every week! It’s that same self-giving that we see in the first reading and Gospel this Sunday wherein the widows give everything they had out of the conviction and trust that they would still receive everything they needed to live.
Friends, even though our relationship with NET Ministries is coming to an end, our commitment to investing in the youth and young adults of the parish is utterly necessary to continue. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that if we do nothing, nothing new will grow. For this reason, Unity College and the parish have, once again, entered into a relationship by hiring a full time Youth Minister for the next two years. While she can’t be named at this stage since the contract is not yet signed, the Youth Minister’s role, like the Netters, will be two-fold: working at Unity College in face-to-face evangelisation with students and teachers, as well as making evangelisation the centre of all we do in the parish with our youth and young adults. In a significant way, their role will also focus on creating vital points of connection with the parents of our school-aged children across both OLR and Unity.
These are exciting developments that will positively affect many young people in our parish – across all our communities. Please pray for our parish, that we will continue to prioritise evangelisation above all else.
Peace and blessings,