JO Hayes loves life and life loves her right back.
The 24 year-old has landed what she describes as “a dream job” and she gives the credit to God.
“It’s all God,” she said of her addition to the Family Show team on weekday mornings on 96.5FM.
“I love my job – mostly because I get to talk all day.
“(And) I’m also a huge ‘newsie’.”
Preparing and presenting the news as the station’s news director, Jo also joins in the banter with colleagues Robbie Parkin and Liam Renton.
She’s a strong believer in the “family alternative” station and often is heard sharing her faith.
“96.5 is such a great radio station,” Jo said.
“It’s a positive alternative for Brisbane’s radio audience and does fantastic stuff out in the community like broadcasting live from Brisbane primary schools and supporting local charities and churches.
“I really feel God’s hand on my life and am so grateful he’s brought me to where I am now after a couple of years of not really knowing where I was headed.”
After being away from Brisbane for a time, Jo returned to study a Masters in Journalism and also found a home within Emmanuel Community.
“For me Emmanuel Community really gels with my Christian faith,” Jo said.
“I love fellowshipping with other passionate Catholics and celebrating our great faith and Church.”
The Clayfield parishioner said she admires other Christian religions and enjoys worshipping and spending time within them too – but remains ground in the Catholic Church.
She attends Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament “at least once a week” and is committed to prayerfulness.
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to commit to spending more time with the Lord each day, just in prayer and reading His Word,” she said.
“(And) our relationship has definitely deepened and strengthened over the years.”
Her parents and siblings are a positive faith influence. “I feel very fortunate and blessed that I grew up in a committed Christian home,” Jo said.
“Mum and Dad were both great examples of Christian living.
“My siblings have also been a huge influence on my life.
“All five of them are committed Catholic Christians and I’m so blessed to have all of them in my life.”
The choice to send the Hayes brood to state schools also proved fruitful.
“Things were obviously tight financially from time to time but Dad made sure we never missed out on the ‘important things’ … like music and speech and drama lessons and a summer holiday at the beach,” Jo said.
“I actually think it was a real blessing for me to go to a state school as my Christian ‘formation’ was really built on what I learned and witnessed and home and at church.
“We had a chaplain at my high school and he was a great influence on my Christian faith.
“We went to Mass together as a family every Sunday and to this day, Mum and Dad still attend the church I grew up in – St Carthage’s, Gordon Park.”
The Hayes’ also took part in “fantastic” Scripture Union camps and this mix of experiences led Jo to study speech pathology as a young adult, obtaining an OP 2.
There she was a member of the Newman Society at the University of Queensland, St Lucia, where faith “really took off”.
Then taking herself off to Mt Isa for work, Jo felt she was called to “serve the Church … in a voluntary capacity” and so joined a Youth Mission Team (YMT) as part of the Disciples of Jesus community.
“(That was) a shock for a girl used to living her own life and earning a good wage,” she said.
“Part of our commitment for the year was to live as ‘missionaries’ – with $25, not including living expenses – (and) I thought, ‘What, that’ll only buy me coffees for half the week?'”
While the articulate and good-humoured young woman of faith “had to leave the latte set for a year and make do with Nescafe” she enjoyed ministering to high school students across Melbourne and throughout Victoria as part of the YMT.
World Youth Day was “massive” for Jo and hence spurred the career change and a deeper involvement in Emmanuel.
Having “a positive Christian peer group” she said is paramount for young people to “take their faith more seriously”.
“I’m part of a Catholic women’s group (and) we meet every Sunday night,” Jo said.
“We’re all young women in our mid to late twenties. “We do a whole range of things – bible studies, reflections, listen to different teachings.
“Last year we all took part in the ‘Captivating’ program based on Stasi and John Eldredge’s book of the same name.
“It was amazing for rediscovering the call on our lives as daughters of the King.”
Delighted with her current place in life, Jo said her professional, spiritual and emotional journey has evolved with God’s constant guidance.
“My faith life nowadays is different to the ‘early days’,” she said.
“It’s kind of a bit like marriage – I don’t always have the ‘goosebumpy feelings’ … but my relationship with God is much stronger and deeper now that it was.
“I feel like I’m really living in the promises of God at the moment.”
And within all that contentment there’s no doubt the early morning weekday wake up call is soon followed by a cherished “skinny latte – extra hot please”.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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