11 November 2011
Six young people from the Stratford-Eltham-Kaponga area have returned from World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, fired up and fully committed to the internship programme they undertook 18 months ago.
As the parish members prayed for them and journeyed with them, the six entered an internship in which they agreed to:
• Help prepare First Reconciliation candidates
• Help prepare First Holy Communion Candidates
• Help with the Confirmation programme
• Receive the sacrament of Confirmation
• Visit the elderly and accompany the Communion ministers to the sick and elderly
• Participate in Jesus 4 Real camps
• Take an active role within the church and church ministries
• Help at working bees and parish functions
• Participate in the internship programme, gatherings and prayer times
• Attend World Youth Day hui
• Attend workshops locally
• be actively involved in parish ministry.
Their involvement has already enhanced the spirit of their communities. Eight-year-olds preparing for the sacraments have been excited to see their peers, 15 and 16-year-olds helping them. The elderly have enjoyed a youthful face accompanying the Eucharistic minister and staff in the rest homes have been enthusiastic when the interns visited and entertained residents.
All were urged to reach outside their comfort zones. Those who could strum a guitar were encouraged into the music ministry. Those lacking confidence in public were encouraged to pray one prayer of intercession before graduating to other lector ministries. They were constantly reminded that pilgrimage is not static and the journey has already started.
They were urged to create a prayer journal, to write, to pray for others less fortunate and to thank God.
Celia Howatson of Stratford who accompanied the pilgrims has thanked the Palmerston North Diocese for its support with the intern programme.
She said the pilgrimage to Madrid was ‘a wonderful journey filled with times of learning about the Catholic faith and having it strengthened’.
The interns have ‘grown in confidence and in faith’. With all the interns being under 18 they are still in the parish for ‘another year at least’ before they go away to university or to work.
She hopes the intern programme will continue to support and encourage young people in the parishes ‘giving them opportunities to be part of what we do as Catholics’.
Image: The six young pilgrims with Bishop Charles Drennan, Celia Howatson and Fr Brian Carmine.
See also Madrid through adult eyes