Fab four excited to serve Tasmania’s Catholic youth
By Catherine Sheehan
Four young and fresh-faced youth ministers from Perth have recently arrived in Tasmania to take up roles with the Church here, as part of long-term strategy to support and build up youth ministry across the state.
All are qualified youth ministers with a wealth of experience in serving young Catholics. Angela Gethin, 20, Mark De Silva, 22, Catherine Sardinha, 24, and Sebastian Vorster, 23, are members of 24:7 Youth Ministry based in Perth, an initiative of the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation, Australia’s only Catholic bible college.
The four young people said they were “really excited” to be in Tasmania and meet other young Catholics and to work with local youth ministers in schools and parishes.
“We are here to serve and assist and to go to the parishes and Catholic schools here in Tasmania and just say, ‘How can we help? What do you need?’” Sebastian said.
“We are receiving just as much, if not more, than what we’re able to give, because we learn so much from the Church here in Tasmania and the faithful Catholics here,” he added.
Director of the Hobart Archdiocese’s Office of Youth Evangelisation, Sam Clear, said the main focus of the four youth ministers would be to support existing local youth groups and help introduce such groups where none currently exist.
Having the four youth ministers on the ground would allow a foundation to be laid for youth ministry in Tasmania, as part of a ten-year plan.
“I’m only one person and it’s difficult to be across the state,” Mr Clear said.
“Ideally, what we want to do is raise up and mentor locals. The beauty of the four youth ministers from Western Australia is that they are all trained. They all have a minimum certificate four in youth ministry. All of them have experience working in parish youth groups.”
“These youth ministers are not a stop-gap measure. They are an extra to help what’s already happening here, just to try to accelerate the human resources.”
Through a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Hobart and 24:7 Youth Ministry, the four youth ministers will serve part-time for the Church in Tasmania over a 12-month period.
All four young people said their Catholic faith had been deepened and enlivened by their own experiences of youth ministry growing up.
“Finding my faith made me realise that I am here for a reason and that life has meaning,” Angela said. “And so I guess that is what I hope to bring to others as well. Just the fact they were made by God and they were made to serve a purpose.”
Catherine said her heart “jumped” when she first heard about the opportunity to work as a youth minister in Tasmania.
“Immediately I was like, ‘Ah, that sounds so exciting. I’d love to just drop everything and move for God’.”
“What an awesome opportunity to move to a beautiful place and talk more about my faith and more about God.”
Mark said he was inspired by the need for more youth ministry in Tasmania.
“I just saw a need,” he said. “I was like, ‘I can do it, I can go. Why not? Let’s give it a shot’. It’s not about me really. It’s about what does God want from me.”
Mr Clear said there would also be the possibility that the 12-month contract for the youth ministers could be extended.
“At the end of that 12 months we would hope that we were in a position to offer an extension on that.”
“For them it feels exciting to have a missionary adventure, which is why some of them have already been asking, ‘Do we have to go home in 12 months? Can we stay longer?’”
“What we are really hoping for is that over time we are able to train locals to do that role, those who are willing to do the training and to take this on and have the resources and the know-how, and also the prayer support, to actually facilitate these long-term youth groups with specific goals in mind.”
Recently Mr Clear announced that the Archdiocese had formed a relationship with the Acts 2 College which offers certificates and diplomas in youth ministry. He said the Archdiocese was keen to support any Tasmanians interested in obtaining youth ministry accreditation.
“Anyone who does want to learn youth ministry and actually get some qualifications behind them, we’d actually love to be able to help them in any way that we can do that. That is part of the long-term plan.”