WOODRIDGE youth are spiritually and socially thriving.
Youth co-ordinator Marina Tuautu said their involvement is about “putting everyone’s talents to good use”.
“Young people are involved if adults and other young people show interest in them and their activities,” she said.
“For St Paul’s youth group everyone’s talent is put to good use – dancers, singers, people who work in finance or administration, bakers, childcare workers, arts and crafts (people) – all these are utilised in the youth at Friday night activities.”
Marina said another “key” was showing interest in outside activities.
“The support is also there, for example, if a certain student has a school festival or performance, the entire youth attend as a youth group to show their interest and support for that member at their school activity,” she said, also citing the “St Paul’s uniform” as being popular.
“Young people love being part of a group who have an identity,” Marina said.
“Our youth group wear our St Paul’s uniform at public outings with our Rosary … This gives our members an identity in the community.
“I think that sometime young people tend to join gangs to attract this kind of attention … The attention we seek is from God and to spread the Good News.”
The first Friday night in Woodridge parish is centred on Bible-related and prayerful activities.
Marina said second Fridays were more of a “chit chat” session, with third Fridays focusing on “Mass preparation” and fourth Sundays on games.
A highlight for the Woodridge youth this year has been gathering with Logan Youth Ecumenical, formed in 2007.
“It began with nine youth groups from the Logan city area,” Marina said. “These youth groups were from different denominations.
“(They gather) every two or three months and is now attended by over fourteen youth groups.”
St Paul’s youth recently sang “Ave Maria” when the groups came together. Coming up for the youth and young adults of the area is a visit to Marian Valley (Canungra) on July 10 and an arts and crafts night on September 9.
When asked about how to balance the “social and the spiritual” elements of a youth group, Marina stressed the importance of both.
“It’s very important to have a mixture of faith and social issues addressed at gatherings because the youth need to see first hand that you don’t have to drink to have a good time, you don’t have to have money to have a good time,” she said.
“Being part of a youth group has many benefits – such as interacting with other people from various backgrounds (and) sharing your ideas with other young people who won’t put you down.
“It’s almost like having older or younger siblings to share with.” Marina said Catholics were “meant to have fun”.
“It’s important that young people of today can see that the Church is a big help in their daily lives.”
Woodridge youth are also thriving because of their “number-one supporter” parish priest Fr Dave Batey and helpful parishioners, Marina said.
“(And) we owe it all to our Father in heaven who makes the impossible possible,” she said.
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