Msr David Bell
5 May 2011
In what is described as a first for the Delargey Youth Awards the Whanganui parishes have hailed the bestowal upon a special team of youth workers.
Bishop Peter Cullinane, with Sr Helen O’Sullivan RNDM from the Bishops’ Office for Young People, presented the award to Mike Buchanan, Mike O’Sullivan and the late Kirsty Campbell on March 20 at the 9am Mass in St Mary’s. It was fitting that each of these people represent the three parishes of the city and truly merited this award for their outstanding dedication to the city’s Catholic youth.
Asked by Fr Brian Carmine in 2002 to rekindle activities for the Catholic youth of the area they approached the three parishes with their plan of providing regular social and prayerful occasions for the youth.
At the time there was no diocesan youth coordinator working in Whanganui to provide help or support. During the subsequent years this team have worked with four different youth coordinators but have remained the constant and driving force with 11 to 16-year-olds. Their dedication of time, ideas and initiative has meant that the young people of Whanganui have been able to meet each fortnight for the past eight years.
Their vision has been to provide a fortnightly social occasion that appeals to the young people in a safe yet challenging environment outside the usual family or school milieu – allowing young people to explore, witness to, experience and strengthen their Catholic faith while having fun together.
Activities have included takeaway meals, treasure trails, possum hunts, sports evenings, GPS navigation exercises, making videos, an annual trip to Ruapehu and a retreat at Jerusalem, to name a few. The team works closely with the parish and school programmes especially for Confirmation.
Constants are prayerful reflection and discussion of Catholic faith led by the team and their adult assistants, the mutual encouragement and peer reinforcement of Christian values and living and the leadership, mentoring and example provided by ‘The two Mikes and Kirsty’.
The Whanganui parishes have been truly blessed to have this team and acknowledge the support of their families.
Tribute was also paid to others who have helped them in their apostolate. We are justifiably proud of them and as well as presenting the award to the two Mikes it was good to have Paul Campbell, husband of the late Kirsty Campbell, as part of the presentation in the presence of their families.
For our parishes this award confirms the value of the work of the team of ‘The Two Mikes and Kirsty’, a work that continues to flourish with the leadership of the Two Mikes and a ‘new’ team.
Image: Michael O’Sullivan, Sr Helen O’Sullivan RNDM, Bishop Peter Cullinane, Michael buchanan, Paul Cambell (husband of the late Kirsty Campbell) recipients of the Delargey award for their work with young people in Whanganui.