What makes a welcoming Church?
Sometimes local Parishes need an excuse to really “make a fuss”. We get into a rhythm of normality, “same-same” and doing things the way that we’ve always done. Humanity is at its best when we find empathy in shared experiences. Final year examinations are something we have all been through.
Unique to Catholic Youth Parramatta is this initiative. Local, parish celebrations for Year 12 students and their families preparing for the HSC examinations beginning on Thursday 17 October.
However, it’s about more than praying for our young people. It’s a chance to be a ‘welcoming Church’. One that opens its doors to those who are regularly, or not so, present. Parish is given even greater purpose for September and October. We get to respond and pray together for something going on in real life affecting young people in our parish, schools and local suburb.
Just over half our parishes answered the call and in the coming days our Year 12’s and their families will receive a copy of this invitation.
CYP’s hints at making the HSC Youth Mass special:
Have your friendliest parishioners on welcoming duty at the door to make the students and their families feel completely at home in your parish. Some of them may not have visited for a while.
Wear your Year 12 Jersey
Ask all parishioners to wear their past Year 12 leaver’s jersey to the HSC Mass as a sign of solidarity with the current HSC students (it also makes for a colourful Mass!) The Year 12’s should this as well. It helps you know whether any have turned up to your mass.
Pray specifically for the Year 12 students Present
Include petitions for the students in your Prayers of the Faithful. At some point in the Mass, invite HSC students to stand, or come out the front, to receive a special blessing in preparation for their exams.
Put on a BBQ afterwards
Having a quick and simple feed after Mass with caring and generous parishioners can really lift their spirits and its one less thing to do when they get home.
Give each student an “HSC survival pack”
If you can calculate approximately how many students would come to your Mass, have little care packages ready for them with items such as these in them (but get creative!):
- A copy of the Students Prayer (see above)
- The name of one or more parishioners who have promised to pray for them specifically throughout the HSC exam period.
- A treat or two (little boxes of “Smarties” or “Nerds”)
- Some chamomile tea bags or something similar
- A summary of parish Reconciliation and Mass times, as well as upcoming youth group/event dates and details.
What is CYP doing to help Year 12 students?
Every Year 12 student in the Catholic Education system will be emailed a copy of the 2019 HSC Youth Mass Poster. Their schools are also helping them identify a Parish close to them. We will continue to advertise all of the masses via social media right up until they take place.