Youth Ministry in the New Norm

The COVID-19 pandemic was a great disruption to the life of the Youth Ministry here in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (SHJC).

Feb 20, 2021

By Jacinta John
The COVID-19 pandemic was a great disruption to the life of the Youth Ministry here in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (SHJC). The situation made it a real challenge for the youth ministry to adapt to the new normal while still maintaining the vibrant, communal spirit of the ministry. However, the transition from physical gatherings to a virtual ministry was finally made with our first online Mass to kickstart 2021.

The organising team spared no effort to ensure that the online Mass experience would be creative, interactive and prayerful. Fr Simon Lau, the assistant parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, was invited to celebrate Mass and various members of the youth ministry were involved in singing the different parts of the Mass and in proclaiming the Word.

The Mass was celebrated from the “Upper Room”, which is the room the Youth Ministry of SHJC used for their bi-weekly gatherings before the pandemic. It brought back memories for many participants, and helped to strengthen the sense of belonging as a community. Approximately 30 members of the youth community in SHC attended the virtual Mass. 

During the Mass, Fr Lau invited participants to reflect on their experiences of the pandemic period and their current situation. He also shared his own experiences of adapting to the pandemic situation and how it had challenged him to preach in more creative ways. He requested the youth to continue praying for all priests and encouraged them to explore the different opportunities and possibilities available. He challenged the young people to rise above the situation and focus on the opportunities to use their gifts and talents for the glory of God.

Preparations for the Youth Mass was tiring yet a joyous journey to begin working for the year.  The biggest payout was to be at a same virtual space with the community to  celebrate Mass. It was also a great journey with those who were eager and said Yes to help out for Mass, from projectionist, readers, cantor and those giving their support unconditionally. Looking forward to the many more Masses and activities to come.”

In a nutshell, this first virtual Mass was truly a new experience that challenged us to rise above our situation and step out of our comfort zones. We also thank Fr Lau for guiding us and celebrating the Mass for us. There are more virtual fellowships planned and these sessions are open to all youths regardless of parish; do follow us on our Instagram page (@shcxolghyoung) for our upcoming fellowships and Mass.

The feedback from the participants of the online Mass was very positive and encouraging.

“Thank you for inviting me! I honestly enjoyed myself. Chris and I didn’t expect the breakout rooms but it was so refreshing to share. Other than technical difficulties, I think everything was very smooth,” said Judy

“The Mass was a really great effort by the Sacred Heart youth team and Fr Lau. I felt like they are really embracing the new norm by making technology work for them. Of course there were still a few hiccups here and there with the audio, but we’re all still learning, aren’t we? I feel like they are making a good progress at what they are doing and I wish them all the best for the upcoming events!” said Rachel Patrick.

“Before the pandemic, we looked forward to the Youth Mass fortnightly. It brought the youths of SHC together, celebrating in the Upper Room; we grew and bonded through it. For almost a year without gathering in the Upper Room, and without our normal activities, virtual gatherings via Zoom has been the only outlet for us to connect. Yet something felt missing, so this year, when we were planning for the first quarter of the year, we yearned to bring the Youth Mass back, even if it’s only virtual,” said Celine, one of the team members.

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