By Matthew Lau
A parish goal to bring 100 young Goldfields Catholics to the nation’s largest Christian youth festival has taken a giant leap to reaching fulfilment.
The ambition began with Fr Renald Anthony, Assistant Priest of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Parish, who wished to do something for the youth group as soon as the announcement was made for ACYF 2019 at the close of the 2017 festival.
More than $34,000 has been fundraised to take 100 members of Goldfields Youth Ministry (GYM) to attend the 2019 Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) from 8 to 10 December at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
With the support of the community and the current team of young clergy in the Goldfields, what was seen as unachievable 12 months ago is now looking rather straightforward.
“This is a two-year plan leading up to ACYF with the theme of journeying with Christ and with each other,” Fr Renald told The Record.
GYM will make the trek down to Perth on 6 December and will stay at a campsite in the suburb of Hillarys.
The first day will involve bonding the team with various activities to get the GYM members warmed up for the main festival.
On the morrow of the event, the group will reflect and share their experience of ACYF.
Furthermore, Fr Renald hopes it will embolden the youths to bring what they have learnt back with them to the country town parish.
Together with GYM and volunteers, Fr Renald last year began planning fundraisers with a set budget of $50,000 in its entirety.
Goldfields’ first fundraiser was held in March 2018. One of the largest fundraisers was the raffle ticket sale drawn on 27 December.
The first and second prizes – $3000 and $1500 respectively – came out of the kitty. Sales brought in close to $21,000 with a net profit of $16,500.
While they are getting closer to their intended target, the fundraising committee will strive to reach $50,000 with ongoing fundraising in both the parish and Goldfields community.
“It is not only the people of Kalgoorlie who have donated, we also get a lot of support from Perth parishes and schools,” Fr Renald gratefully expressed.
“It is a retreat in itself, whatever we are doing is bringing us back to that theme of ‘journey’.”
Inspired by Saint John Bosco’s style of running youth oratories in the slums of India, Fr Renald has made it his mission to guide youngsters and make them feel included in the Church.
“Young people need goals in life and we can help them in such a way that they can reach that goal, they can only reach them through short-term goals. For us in the Goldfields, there are so many young people here who have come from different walks of life,” he explained.
“Coming [to Kalgoorlie] is a great challenge for families – young people are often lost, they don’t have a guide in their life.”
A key aspect of GYM, he added, is to provide support in young people’s lives in a Christ-centred manner.
“ACYF is helping us in that goal, and so fundraising becomes a short-term goal. This way, we are involving the youth, we are involving their parents – many of whom come and support us – we also include the voluntary parishioners who are doing something to support us, and furthermore those beyond our parish, stretching out the boundaries for a great cause.
“I always remember the words of Don Bosco, the patron saint of young people: ‘Do the best you can, and leave the rest to Mary and Jesus … they will do the rest’,” Fr Renald concluded.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Parish Youth Ambassadors Genevieve Ogden and Andrew Smith expressed their gratitude to Archdiocese of Perth community for its ongoing support for GYM.
“I feel ACYF will truly be a completely new and refreshing experience for the youth as they get to know other youth from all across Australia, and I hope this will open up their eyes to endless possibilities as they get to know more about Christ and His love,” Ms Ogden said.
Fr Renald said the parish has 10 more fundraisers scheduled this year for the GYM team, beginning with the Kalgoorlie Boulder Community Fair on 23 and 24 March.
To contribute, contact 08 9021 2100 or make an online donation to:
Account name: St Mary’s Church Account
BSB: 036 125
Account number: 79010
Reference: GYM Donation