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www.mn.catholic.org.au Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Ilove being an active part of my faith
community. Connecting with other
people and catching a glimpse of
the relationship they have with God is
something I find inspiring and affirming.
Seeing people live out their love for God in
their bonds with each other makes me truly
grateful to belong to such communities. And
I know I belong to more than one of these
lovely groups -- I am blessed to have been
warmly welcomed into my new parish at
Raymond Terrace, I am part of a wonderful
school staff at Merewether Beach and
my recent experiences with the Chisholm
Region RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation)
team were absolutely wonderful.
In most of these faith communities, there is
one thing about me that makes me a little
different from many other members -- my
age. Yes, I represent that elusive minority in
the modern church -- the 'youth'.
Being a 'young' person in the church can
be a tricky business. There are times when
praise is heaped upon me for simply doing
something that I've been doing my whole
life -- isn't it wonderful to see a young
person at Mass! There are times when I'm
trotted out and shown off like an exhibit
in a museum -- see? We have a young
person. Some people look to me as if
I am a fountain of wisdom and
knowledge -- you're young
Anna, what can we do to
entice other young people to
be involved? And then there
are people who disregard
my opinion because I've had
far fewer birthdays than they
have -- you're only young, you
don't understand how it all works yet. I am
the voice of a generation to be admired,
questioned, patronised and sometimes,
My (younger!) sister says that sometimes,
young people are put into a youth box.
In that box, young people need to be
tricked into coming to Mass with electric
guitars, flashy images and sausage sizzles.
Young people in the box don't like having
responsibilities or attending meetings, and
they are unreliable. But really, who wants to
live in a box? Not this young person!
The thing is, I don't want to be a young
person. I just want to be a person. I
want to be a member of your parish
whose voice is heard equally among
the other members, not more or
less so than anyone else because
feel welcome, not just because I am
young and it is exciting to see a young
person there, but because I am a person
and it's exciting to see everyone there.
This year, my Christian communities seem
to be more willing to let me out of my youth
box -- although I am not as young as I used
to be! I socialise freely with people who
have children my age, attend meetings and
discuss parish matters without too much of
a youth tag, and enjoy the company of my
wonderful colleagues while celebrating the
differences in our life experience.
Wherever you sit on the age spectrum, you
might like to consider your attitude to others
in your communities. Is there a tendency to
categorise, even stereotype, according to
age? Do you make room for the wisdom of
the old and of the young?
Read Anna's blog at http://annalydia.
room for the
wisdom of the
old and of the
By ANNA HUMPHRIES
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