Welcome to our ‘Faithful Servants’ series
…a new feature that will faithfully share and regularly feature the ever-present ‘servants of the faith’ across our local parish community.
We continue this feature with a focus on our new Ministry area leaders. This week we introduce OLR Youth Minister Felicity Jones, and the work she continues to achieve in her new role as Youth & Young Adults Ministry Leader.
The whisper of the Holy Spirit guides Felicity into youth ministry
When Felicity Jones was nominated college captain of St Mary’s College Ipswich 8 years ago and volunteered to be Ipswich Catholic Parish’s Youth Co-ordinator and Campus Minister she didn’t realise back then, what she now knows, that the Holy Spirit was very well preparing her for a leadership role.
Now, as Youth Minister of her new parish community at Our Lady of the Rosary and Unity College, Caloundra West, Felicity is well-qualified to lead forward the new Youth and Young Adults Ministry at Our Lady of the Rosary (OLR) Catholic Parish.
“I feel passionate about youth ministry and I truly believe, that in in this season of my life, I have been blessed with gifts in this area and feel called to use them to do whatever I can to help the Church with her mission of spreading the good news and building disciples amongst our young people,” says the former Ipswich parishioner.
Now, at 25 years of age, Felicity is again in service of college students and young adults as Youth Minister across the OLR parish for the last two years.
“It’s important to provide students with real, fun, and authentic opportunities to encounter Jesus and begin to develop a relationship with him and really experience the love of God,” she added.
“I hope that other youth ministries are able to be inspired by what we do, and that we are able to give our support to youth initiatives around the Archdiocese.”
Felicity says that she has seen an increase in youth participation across the OLR parish in recent years.
“Every Friday night, during school term, we have seen anywhere from 50, and up to 80 students, gather for Kingdom Youth group; with more than 50% of this group attending the annual Ignite Conference for young people.
“Many have joined us at Mass on Sunday to assist with music ministry or to volunteer in other ways,” Felicity added. “Since then, more than 10 young people have received their sacraments.
“There is so much hope that this ministry area will grow because of the dedicated volunteers we have supporting the work that is going into this space.”
Felicity, who grew up with loving Christian parents, says having people in her life who loved Jesus and modelled a personal relationship with him, helped her encounter God herself.
“My mum is part of a Presbyterian Samoan community, and dad is Catholic,” said Felicity. “Through their support, guidance and patience, I was able to come to know God. Even though I grew up Christian, I first came to truly know our Catholic faith when I was 18 years-old myself!”
“I was so blessed to attend World Youth Day in Poland in 2016. It was the Year of Mercy. It was here I was able to experience the Sacrament of Confession for the first time on the steps of the Cathedral in Krakow. It was extremely emotional for me, and I think I cried the entire time! But I was so well-support and guided throughout the whole experience. The priest was so gentle and caring, and I truly felt like it was Jesus sitting in front of me, encouraging me, and praying for me. I will never forget it and hope I can be even a small piece of the love and light I experienced in that moment, for others,” she said.
“Now, the best way I try to live out my faith each day, is by saying a small prayer in the car each morning, even if it is simply ‘thank you, Jesus.’ I also try to journal or read the daily scriptures.”
Felicity, who has graduated with an Honours degree in Theology, says she has a great love for tradition and thinks the Catholic faith is reverent and beautiful.
“However, I have also come to know how modern practices of praise and worship can also lead us into encounter, and I find myself able to appreciate and balance the two. I love the sacraments, Adoration, journaling and discussing prayer and theology with others,” says Felicity.
In order to lead youth and young adults in encounter and in a closer relationship with God, Felicity says she has taken steps forward to strengthen relationships with young people and plans to make connections to keep faith-filled teenagers connected to the Body of Christ.
“More than anything, I just want this to be a safe space. I want us to build a culture that is positive and welcoming; where students are able to really experience the love of God through all the elements we offer.”
If you would like more information about faith encounters for youth and young adults, please contact Felicity at [email protected]