“A Year of Joy”

Hello! It has been a while since you last heard from us! Let me catch you up on how we ended 2021 and started the new year of 2022!

December was filled with joy as we awaited the birth of Jesus in all three schools that we visit weekly. At St. Patrick’s high school, we led the Life Skills Students in an advent retreat, where we talked about the excitement of waiting for Jesus to be born, played games, created a nativity scene out of clay, and shared many laughs as we acted out the annunciation scene. The students were overflowing with joy and were excited to participate.

At Little Flower Academy, we were blessed to be able to help with their reconciliation assembly. There were many students that helped facilitate the assembly and it was beautiful to see the students encouraging their peers to go to reconciliation. One grade 12 student that was hesitant about going to reconciliation before, told me after she finished her confession: “I feel really at peace right now. This was the first time in seven years that I have been to confession”. Praise God! How beautiful is that?

At St. Anthony’s elementary school, we started the Youth Alpha course with the grade 7 students which has been a great opportunity to have an open conversation and ask questions about the faith. Please pray for the students as they have their Alpha Retreat at the beginning of February on the Holy Spirit.

The December Youth Night was centered around the reasons the incarnation, the birth of Jesus, took place with some Christmas fun of course! We played Christmas charades, decorated Christmas cookies, and drank hot chocolate! In small groups, we challenged the youth to love more intentionally during the Advent season through acts of service, self-reflection, and confession. This was a great way to end our ministry before we took a break for Christmas.

Knowing that the team would be going home for Christmas break, many parishioners generously gave us little gifts to show their appreciation for us. We felt so loved and truly a part of their community. It left us in great spirits before our December retreat.

December retreat is a retreat led by the NET staff to give us, missionaries, an opportunity to ease out of the rush of ministry before heading into the Christmas break. We were able to attend daily mass, adoration, praise and worship and take a breath and reflect on how God has been working in our lives.

We started off the new year meeting in Abbotsford for January training. It was a week of talks, team building, and prayer as missionaries led by NET staff. We were able to transition from our break back into ministry. We also talked about how we would like to improve our ministry in this new year and set goals to achieve.

We are so excited to be back in Vancouver and very happy to be doing ministry again and in our brand-new workspace! The parish’s basement lounge was ready when we got back, and it is spectacular. It is a wonderful place to do small groups, have team meetings, do praise and worship and simply relax and have fun with the youth at the parish. It is an inviting and safe space where people can grow in their faith.

We have very exciting events coming up, but we will update you on those next month. In all the business of life, one thing that our team strives to do is to choose joy. Choose joy every day, it will transform your life.

-Written by Louise Lapin

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