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Youth make ‘oldies’ feel younger

New friends: NET Ministries Australia’s young volunteers visit St Paul’s Villa residents Patrick Quinn (left) and (right) Tess Duggan and carer Cathryn Andrew once a week.

New friends: NET Ministries Australia’s young volunteers visit St Paul’s Villa residents Patrick Quinn (left) and (right) Tess Duggan and carer Cathryn Andrew once a week.

By Emilie Ng

CHILDHOOD memories resurface whenever St Paul’s Villa residents spend time with the NET (National Evangelisation Teams) Ministries Brisbane team.

NET Ministries Brisbane team members Pia Irwin, Kate Gilday, Niamh Healy, Luke Schoenfelder, Peter McMaster and Lachlan Wilson have been visiting residents at the Bardon aged-care facility since September.

The visits are part of a new corporate partnership with St Vincent’s Health Australia and NET Ministries Australia.

The five volunteers from the Brisbane NET team will visit the residents, assisting them to join in the celebration of Mass and sharing their musical talents with the residents.

One St Paul’s Villa staff member said the partnership had made a positive difference in the lives of its residents.

Resident Patrick Quinn said he was “pleased” to see young people “make the effort to see us old people”.

“It makes you look back on your own life, think of your early days,” he said.

“It’s just lovely to see them here, that’s all.”

Mr Quinn said visits from young people, including student carollers from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Bardon who visited last week, “remind me of being young again”.

“I had a wonderful young boyhood riding ponies and mustering cattle,” he said.

Tess Duggan said she first met the Brisbane NET team when they “gatecrashed” a birthday visit.

“The day they came I was having lunch with my daughter, it was her birthday, and they were just walking through. They introduced themselves, and then they proceeded to sing happy birthday,” Mrs Duggan said.

“And they just made my daughter’s day.”

Mrs Duggan said she felt younger having young people around.

“Especially because they go out of their way to greet you, and they remember your name,” she said.

“It makes me feel on top of the world and important.”

NET Ministries executive director Mark Doyle said the partnership helped future leaders “engage with people from all walks of life”.

“Our mission field is mainly young people in Catholic schools, but this partnership will enable our volunteers to build relationships with many elderly people from our community,” Mr Doyle said.

“They will be able to share their lives and the love of Jesus in a very practical way with the residents of these facilities, broadening their experience and taking them on a journey that will greatly enrich the lives of all involved.”

SVHA group mission leader Jack de Groot said the partnership would allow elderly residents to share their wisdom and faith with younger Catholics.

“A faith that sustains us in our old age and that motivates us in our younger years is a great way to keep the Church alive,” Mr de Groot said.

NET Ministries and SVHA hoped to expand this partnership in the near future to include other aged-care facilities in Melbourne and Sydney.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video:


Written by: Emilie Ng
Catholic Church Insurance

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