Rosie Drum mgl has always had a vision to draw people, especially youth, into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and help them find their home in the Catholic Church.
After her six and a half years with the Diocese of Parramatta as Assistant Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP), thousands of young people have been drawn closer to Jesus through the CYP approach which combines personal interactions with large scale events such as LIFTED events and World Youth Day (WYD).
She is one of the most popular and most recognised people in the Diocese, appearing in all types of forums including podcasts, speaking at school events, videos or reaching out to young people individually.
Many people will therefore be sad to learn that Rosie is moving, along with her community, out of the Diocese of Parramatta at the end of this year.
“Our community, the Missionaries of God’s Love sisters, has been offered the opportunity to move to a former Carmelite convent in Varroville, on the site of the Mt Carmel Retreat Centre,” she says. “We will be able to literally minister in our own ‘backyard.’”
Rosie will wait and listen
Many people in her position would be anxious about what their ‘next step’ might be, but Rosie is open to any eventualities. “I will wait and listen to where the Holy Spirit might call me next” she says. “We in the Missionaries of God’s Love sisters aim to lead people, especially the young and those on the margins of society, to a personal relationship with Jesus, and to experience a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives. So the opportunities are endless!”
Having worked at St Bernadette’s parish Castle Hill developing their youth activities for three years, she was approached in 2013 by then Bishop Anthony Fisher (who was at the time Bishop of the Diocese of Parramatta) to apply for the role with CYP. “I wasn’t seeking it out, but when it was offered I saw the opportunity came from God.”
Since her appointment in 2014, she has worked with the CYP team to create the ‘LIFTED’ brand that reaches young people in a variety of dynamic ways. Incorporating sports days, retreats, leadership pathways, ministry masterclasses and live nights of prayer, the LIFTED outreach events now involve thousands of young people from Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
“My passion is walking alongside people helping them to encounter God” she says. “Sometimes that’s literally walking beside them at WYD or on the Good Friday Night Walk! I have a deep belief in the power of pilgrimage. The atmosphere from big pilgrimage events like World Youth Day and the Australian Catholic Youth Festival often helps kickstart the faith of young people. But the local parish remains the place where their faith will grow and they have a chance to serve. This is how they go on to embrace their place in our church and then evangelise others.”
Young people need connection
At the same time, she knows the value of one-to-one connection. “Young people have opened up to me on important issues to them, and this is a way they ultimately find God” she says. “For instance, a troubled young person who had experienced bullying and anxiety sought out her parish and parish youth leaders after opening up to me at WYD. She found through her interaction with me that if she is important enough for my time and attention, she is doubly important to God who loved her into life.”
In between the large events and talking to individuals she has instigated and featured on the popular At the Well podcast for young Catholic women, appeared in numerous videos, created prayer resources and spoken at school vocation panels and social justice events as well as many retreats. Always consulting and networking she has worked alongside teachers, students, clergy and others on how CYP can better connect young people to Jesus.
She intends to continue the At the Well monthly podcast for young women with Qwayne Guevara and Joy Adan.
So what has been the highlight for Rosie at the Diocese?
“Seeing our CYP initiatives grow, so more young people can embrace the Catholic faith at a deeper level is always a joy” she says. “I’ve loved being part of such a culturally diverse, talent-laden, faith-filled diocese. It has been an absolute privilege to minister here for as long as I have.”
Rosie will continue at the Diocese of Parramatta until the end of 2020 when the Missionaries of God’s Love sisters leave the Diocese. You can continue to listen to At the Well, see her in some of the CYP videos on thewell.org.au or read her articles on Catholic Outlook.