WYD Pilgrim turned Youth Group Leader
Melissa Fardella is a dynamic primary school teacher working for Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta. Her experience as a pilgrim at World Youth Day 2016 Krakow helped bring her back to the faith and even become a leader of the youth groups at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
“I was raised in the Catholic faith and slowly lost touch with going to Mass and my prayer life,” Melissa said.
“Throughout the WYD experience I was able to reflect on my life in many ways. I realised how important praise and worship and prayer were for me.”
World Youth Day 2016 Krakow brought hundreds of thousands of young Catholics to pray together, which deeply moves many hearts.
“On my return, I went to a youth night for young adults at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta and felt right at home,” she said.
“I continued to go to Mass and participate in adoration.”
Feeling welcome in her community, Melissa wanted to help out and stepped up to support younger people in their life journeys.
CREDO, meaning ‘I believe’, is the name of the youth ministry at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta. Fun and welcoming groups exist for different age groups.
“St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta has an active youth ministry within the community,” Melissa said.
“The CREDO youth groups minister to Years Four to Six within Junior CREDO, Years Seven to 12 within Teen CREDO and 18 and over within Young Adults.”
The aftermath of World Youth Day Krakow saw a huge increase in the number of youth group CREDO leaders at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish.
“The CREDO leaders are made up of parishioners from St Patrick’s. After World Youth Day, the CREDO leaders team doubled as a number of pilgrims returning from WYD were called to serve their parishes.”
“Junior and Teen CREDO follow the Life Teen program which aims to lead teenagers and their families into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church.”
“Life Teen is a group of youth ministers and former youth ministers who create resources that make our faith accessible to teenagers and that are grounded in Catholic truth,” Sr Rosie Drum, Assistant Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta, said.
“Several parishes in our Diocese use these resources to assist their youth ministry, and love them.”
“Myself and two youth leaders began planning for Junior CREDO last year and started the group in February 2017,” Melissa said.
“As a leader of Junior CREDO it has been beautiful to see the youth grow in their faith each week. The youth know they are part of the St Patrick’s community and enjoy exploring scripture whilst making connections with their own lives.”
The youth community is also keen to evangelise and had incredible fun supporting the outreach event Light Up St Pat’s.
“As part of ministering to the broader Parramatta community, the leaders from the various groups within the Cathedral volunteered during the Light Up St Pat’s event,” Melissa said.
Events like World Youth Day and Light Up St Pat’s are community highlights for young people within the Church. These spread knowledge about activity in the Church and the benefits of youth ministry.
“As a result, we have more parishioners interested in attending a youth group or enrolling their child in a youth group at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.”
Parishes can contact Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP) for assistance setting up a youth ministry.
Sr Rosie Drum
Phone: 8838 3418