YST mission statement is:
To provide the young people with space to grow in the care, friendship and love of Jesus so that they can be active in their community and confident in their faith.
This is a wonderful aspiration and especially so in St Alban and St Stephens Parish which is so full of children!
We are blessed as a Parish to have Sister Anita who joined us in January 2014 as our Youth co-ordinator.
YST is currently made up of 4 volunteers who have a range of skills, experience, as well as children of their own, across a wide age range. We meet once a month with a focus on how to cater for the young of our Parish and support them in their faith journey. This of course also includes supporting parents who bring their children along to mass and also to enrol their children in the sacramental programmes. Child protection is obviously a very important requirement of working with the children of our Parish. The Child Protection Officer for the Parish Nikki Vellacott works closely with YST. All adults working with children must have Disclosure Barring Service checks with regular training updates.
The remit of the YST group could probably best be divided into 4 strands of activities.
YST has input into all Sacraments received by our young people from Baptism, First Reconciliation, Holy Communion through to Confirmation.
St Alban and St Stephens has a vibrant community offering support at all stages. The weekly Mothers and Toddlers group introduces parents/guardians to the Parish community. A Youth Club runs twice a month for primary aged Parish school children from all schools.
Children who have moved onto secondary school are invited to join the gathering a monthly group providing opportunities for children to stay in touch once they have moved onto different schools. Sister Anita also meets with students from the Parishes primary and secondary school – Nicholas Breakspear and Loreto College – in order to hear what the Parish can do to support them in their faith journey.
To worship as a community is central to our Faith and children actively participate in the liturgy of the Church especially at the 9.30am mass. This is how shall I put it a lively mass but isn’t it amazing that so many children are brought along each week? There are two liturgy groups – Little Lights -preschool and reception children meet in the hall while years 1 and 2 attend Awesome Angels in room 1.
Following their Holy Communion some children emerge as natural readers at mass, others both boys and girls form a dedicated team of Altar servers of all ages who support the Priests and contribute much to the smooth running at all masses.
For those children who love to sing Kids choir provides the perfect opportunity to express their faith.
The year 6 children within the Parish schools of St John Fisher and St Alban and St Stephens Junior School can apply and are interviewed for places on the Chaplaincy Team.
As one YST member said “The children of today are our Church of tomorrow.”
In keeping with the digital age, youth activities and sacraments have their own pages on our web-site; a lot of time and energy have gone in to making this site accessible and informative both for the youth of our parish and their parents. It is a great resource for information and diary events.
The question we constantly ask is …….. Are we delivering for our children? What more can we do? We all have something to contribute so please don’t wait to be asked come forward to offer support in whatever way you can. Meetings are not for everyone but if having read this overview there is something that you feel you could contribute to then make contact with Sister Anita on email@example.com your help and input will be welcome.