Young youth ministry, also commonly referred to as youth group, is an age-specific religious ministry. Faith groups or other religious organizations carry out youth ministry to involve and engage with young people who attend the places of worship, or who live in the community. Catholic youth ministry usually encompasses one or could be more encouraging the young people, whether they have professed a faith or not, to lean more about the faith of God and to become more involved in spiritual life as well.
Parish Youth Ministry
The first Youth Ministry was initiated by the parish priest and religious sister, FrSagayarajArokiyados and SrJuvita respectively, in St. Mary’s Church in 2012. Inspired after the first Journey of the Cross and lcon (JCI) held in the Sibu Diocese. After the JCI program was organized successfully, the first Youth Ministry was conceptualized as a youth group. There was initially no clear youth organization and plan was made in the first place which involved a small number of members. The youth activities in the field range fromsmall to medium scale youth group attached to parishes. The aim was to offer to young people, especially from the primary to secondary students, graduate students and working adults, to establish a community with some constructive leisure activity in the hope to dissuade them from taking part in criminal or negative activities.
Our primary task is in supporting, guiding and building up parish based youth ministry to providean avenue for young people to reach out to communities of other young people in our own parish as well as other parishes in different area. By establishing these youth group, we offer regular formation, support as well as opportunities for parish youth to move into youth leadership. We work with priests and parishioners to help create, sustain or expand youth ministry at a local level. However, over the decades there were many obstacles to overcome. Some might argue it is still a mess today. It grew from youth work and from specific youth ministry initiatives. In our past youth group, it has never had a clear youth leadership pathway. No matter how hard one tries, the story gets abbreviated, lost in timeand less precise. Nearly all dioceses and a great deal of parishes have some form ofyouth provision running, although a great deal of areas particularly are finding youth workboth more difficult and rare as the numbers of young people regularly practicing theCatholic faith continue to decline, as we can witness at St. Mary’s Church
Our aim is, “To empower the youth ministry with the presence of God’s fruits of life in our generation.” The new and exciting developments of recent decades and particularly the influence of the new movements within the Church are ensuring that youth work continues to be an active and fruitful field.
Year 2012 – 2013
During 2012, the first Journey of the Cross and lcon (JCI) program was the first event that gathered all the St. Mary’s youth and parishioners to welcome the Cross and Icons. The event was supported with joy by a large numbers of youth from the Sunday school or known as CCD students and also supportive parishioners, which number approximately about 30 person, who participated in the JCI program. The Youth used the Catholic social teachings and other activities. Just then, the youth group started to have a small fellowship that was led by Mr. Hudson Michael which consists of 14 members and the fellowship was held every afternoon on Sunday in the Church Hall. Once our fellowship started, we had bible sharing and singing the praise and worship songs. Fr. SagayarajArokiyados was our parish priest in St. Mary’s Church since 2013. He encouraged the youth group to have youth mass every second week of the month, in which the youth were to take part as second reader,Cantor, offering service and choir as well.
Year 2014 – 2015
Fr. Andrew Tang became our new Rector in 2014. The youth started to organize the first youth camp, named “Jump Start Camp”. The camp coordinator was Casimir Teng who used to be our advisor since early 2013 until 2015. The camp was organized smoothly and successfully as planned even though the number of participants were small. After the camp, we continue with our activities, such as youth fellowship by sing a-long, bible sharing and youth member’s birthday celebration. During Lenten season, youth was involved in Station of the Cross by reading the scripture whilst presenting the relevant part of Passion of Christ video. Then, we also was involved in Christmas Eve Sketch based on the Journey of the new born Baby Jesus in 2015. Then we had a new Rector, Fr. Alphonsus Tang. The youth continue with a few activities in a month by having meeting, gathering once a month and led the choir as usual. Most of the time, we focused on the youth choir during certain solemnity season, such as Easter Morning. Palm Sunday and Christmas season. During Easter Night vigil, youth organized some related program like Taize night, bible sharing and movie time. The youth was also involved in the decoration of Easter Eggs as gifts. Besides, youth was also actively involved in Christmas Eve performance that showed some words by using gloves and LED light.
In 2016, the Journey of the Cross and icons program were held for the second time in Sibu Diocese. The Cross and lconsjourneyed from St. Herbert, Song to St. Mary of theDivine Mercy. The youth organized one day camp for youth gathering betweentwo parishes. One month later, the JCI took the journey to the next station and handed-overto St. Francis Xavier, Kanowit. Then, the selected four Youth Leaders, as representatives, attended the Sibu Diocesan Leadership Camp in St. Francis Xavier, Kanowit. Thepurpose of SibuDiocesan Leadership Camp included leadership meeting, it was designed to discuss on the parish youth issues, annual youth activities andSibu Diocesan Youth DayPlanning. Then, youth organized Car wash and food selling for the youth fund-raisingonce a month, and the response was highly appreciated. The youth actively joined theyouth choir as usual every 2nd week of the month, involved in sing-along with CCD primarystudents and joined some external youth gathering, such as prayer meeting every Thursday night with Kolej ITA and University College of Technology Sarawak youthministry. Besides, youth also had organized one-day trip to Belawai as an appreciationfrom the fund-raising activities to enhance the youth members’ relationship as one familyof Christ. Apart from that, the youth was excited in participating themselves during the StMary’s Family Day. During Christmas season, we also had joined the Christmas paradewith the great combine numbers of youth campus ministry from University College ofTechnology Sarawak, Sibu
In the beginning of the month of 2017, youth also was involved in new year program in thechurch. Youth leaders joined the Sibu Diocesan Youth Day Formation oncea month since February until May, these were held in St. Mary, St. AlphonsusJulauand St. Teresa Sibu. Since then, youth were involved in the fund-raising for thoseparticipants who were unable to pay the registration fee of the Sibu Diocesan Youth Day on 6th until 10th June 2017. After the Youth Leadership Training, the youth became morewell-organizedwith proper organization of youth leaders. The trainingwas held in St. Mary on 29 June until 2nd July 2017. Currently, the new youth leaders have conducted new youth recruitment from the CCDstudents and proposed to have exciting annual youth activities plan 2018.
Youth Leaders Team
Year 2012- 2013
Youth Leader: Hudson Michael
Youth Members: Athanasius, Cyril, Lawrance, Harry Ejay, Angeline, Jacyntha, Sophea,Vanessa, Sharleen, Janet, Marianna, Magdalen, Heidi, Maxwell, Ralph and Jonathan
Youth Advisor: CasimirTeng
Chairperson: Jonathan Justin
Secretary: Marianna Chan
Treasurer: Ralph Sherwin David
AJK: Sharleen, Maxwell, Jude, Julius, Gabriella, Dunstan, Tracy Aina, Jacyntha, Sophea,Vanessa, Magdalen, and Janet.
Youth Advisor: Adriana David
Chairperson: Jonathan Justin
Secretary: Sharleen Justin
Treasurer: Ralph Sherwin David
AJK: Marianna, Maxwell, Jude, Julius, Gabriella, Dunstan, Tracy Aina, Magdalen and Janet.
Youth Advisor: Adriana David, Beatrice and Sr. Christina
Chairperson: Sharleen Justin
Vice Chairperson: Roderick James
Secretary: Felicia Chua
Youth Leaders: Jonathan, Maxwell, Dunstan, Colin, Jovian, Bryan, Everonicca, Imeld
Cristiano and Keith
Active Members: Gabriella, Jude, Tracy Aina, Marianna, Ralph, Irma Sharon and Mabel.