By Emilie Ng
KINGAROY’S large Christian demographic has been missing a steady community for young Catholics, but last week’s first youth Mass changed history.
For the past few months, parishioner and mother of four Suzanne Mungall has been working with young musicians and St Mary’s Kingaroy parish priest Fr Nigel Sequeira to hold the parish’s first youth Mass.
The Mass, which was held at 5pm on Sunday, June 21, was an historic change for the Kingaroy parish, which has never had a Mass past 10am on Sundays for at least 10 years.
More than 50 young and older Catholics gathered at St Mary’s Catholic Church to be part of this new Mass.
They ate spaghetti together afterwards, an idea inspired by the Beenleigh Catholic parish.
Mrs Mungall, who is originally from Rockhampton, was involved in youth groups in Sydney, Perth and London and noticed young people were more likely to attend Mass on Sunday evenings.
She suspected young people in Kingaroy could also benefit from a Mass later on Sunday because having “moveable workforce” meant many commuted to Brisbane or other areas outside Kingaroy for work.
“People come back on Sunday afternoon and there is no Mass for them,” Mrs Mungall said.
Kingaroy’s first youth Mass is a step towards growing the parish’s youth and young adult community in an area housing a large contingent of Christians.
“The concept to have the Mass was so other young people could see that there are others interested in Catholicism,” Mrs Mungall said.
“Kingaroy is a highly Christian area, often called the Bible belt, and there are lots of young Christians from various denominations.”
Mrs Mungall said she was hopeful for a growing interest in Sunday-night Masses among the youth.
Fr Sequeira said the first youth Mass proved there was a strong group of young Catholics in Kingaroy and he was developing plans to nurture this new youth community.
“It’s a work in progress, but we’ve now got a road map,” he said.
“We’re now planning for building a group to go to World Youth Day, and organising events for now and post-WYD.”
Fr Sequeira said the Mass had been an encouraging insight into the ability Catholic youth hadto “help the least and the weakest”.
Anyone in their late teens to early 30s can join the young adults group at St Mary’s Catholic Parish, Kingaroy.
Contact the parish office on 4162 5309 for more information or to join.