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Melto D’Moronoyo: Modern disciples in a broken world

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Maronite youth come together in faith at Our Lady of Lebanon co-Cathedral. PHOTO: supplied

Youth ministry can be challenging work but also deeply rewarding – and always fruitful

To serve is the greatest calling, and youth ministry has given me and many before me the opportunity to find fulfilment in service.

It can be simply in the laughs we share, the friendships we enable and the home we create, that we serve our community. Being a part of the Maronite Youth Organisation cemented my identity as a Maronite Catholic and shaped my understanding of my purpose.

The Covid restrictions which affected our Church communities in the past years have taught me that our parishioners crave personal interactions and a feeling of belonging within their Parish.

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Some come seeking a deeper relationship with God, others, simply seeking a friend. Our team facilitates regular social and spiritual initiatives to allow young people to meet others and in turn grow in their faith.

In the Gospel of Matthew, our Lord gives his disciples authority to “heal the sick” and “drive out demons” (Matthew 10:5-8). We are His disciples in this world of brokenness, but the power we have been given has a different purpose. St Mother Teresa describes the biggest disease in the world today as “the feeling of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for” and the greatest evil, “the lack of love and charity”.

We – the young disciples of today’s world – are called to heal this disease and drive out this evil. Through our ministry we aim to build God’s kingdom on Earth, where every young person can see, feel, and know that they are welcome, and they are loved.

When we are praying together, we are building His Kingdom. When we are volunteering around the parish together, we are building His Kingdom. When we are singing and dancing together, we are building His Kingdom. But our discipleship is most evident in the day-to-day moments, when we allow the joy of Christ to radiate through our encounters with others, in gestures as simple as a smile. It is this joy that binds us together as one in Christ.

The greatest blessing, I have received through this ministry is a sense of community. The journey to heaven is not one that we take alone. It is important to have people to walk with you along the way, supporting you, praying for you and picking you up when you need a hand. We can truly call our community our companions on this journey because we share each other’s joys and ease each other’s burdens. But most importantly we keep each other steady on this path – hand in hand towards heaven.

Mother Teresa described the biggest disease in the world today as feeling unwanted, unloved and uncared for …” – Chloe Bou-Serhal

“We lose our way when we lose our why,” are Fr Mike Schmitz’ profound words in one of his podcast. When understanding my “why” as a young person serving in my parish, I allow my ministry to be guided by the words of St Teresa of Avila when she says;

“Christ has no body but yours … yours are the eyes with which He looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which He walks to do good, yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world”

We are to reflect He who came to be our living example. He shows us what it looks like to serve when He washes the feet of His disciples. He shows us what it looks like to pray when He utters the Lord’s prayer. And He shows us what it looks like to love when He lays down His life for us. He teaches us to hope, to forgive, to look past flaws and find every opportunity to give.

Our service to the Church and her people must reflect all that Christ has taught us through His words and deeds. We must be His true images in the world and through the gifts we have been blessed with, we are able to do so. Our parishes are the places where we are to nurture these gifts and employ them to bear fruits for the glory of God.

The youth are often described as the beating heart of the Church, they are the hope for the future of a Church which is silenced and mocked in our society. The opportunity to awaken the faith and zeal of many young people through enjoyable experiences and a communal bond is unmatched and we praise God that there are youth who continue to seek this.

We ask for prayers, that youth ministry may continue to be fruitful within our parishes and young Catholics everywhere may ignite that fire in their soul to be the instruments of Christ’s light and love in this broken world.

Chloe Bou-Serhal is the Maronite Youth Organisation Coordinator at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral, Harris Park.

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