Seven days, five provinces, one van, six people with one shared mission: challenging young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the church.
At the beginning of October, we started our journey across Canada. We drove all the way from Ottawa, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia. Along the way, we saw the beautiful country that we live in; from the colourful trees in Ontario, to the open and never-ending land in the Prairies, to the breathtaking mountains in British Columbia. We filled our days with van-karaoke, rosaries, snacks, games and of course naps. At night we would stop at host homes where we met so many kind and loving people, and we had the opportunity to share conversations and meals together.
Seven days later, we arrived at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Vancouver, which is where we will be stationed for the year. We were overwhelmed by the love and welcoming support that the parishioners showed us; they truly have a heart of hospitality. Through Name Tag Sunday, we were able to meet so many parishioners throughout the weekend.
As well as working in the parish leading youth nights, we are also in three different schools. Each week we visit Little Flower Academy, St. Anthony of Padua Elementary, and St. Patrick Regional Secondary. Within these schools, our main focus is building relationships with the students so that we can help ignite faith in their lives; to be an example of young adults living a life centred around Christ in today’s society.
We are grateful to be a part of St. Anthony of Padua’s community. So many families have opened up their homes to our team. We are paired and put into different homes where we are able to get to know the family and share our stories, experiences and beliefs with each other. My teammate and I stayed with a lady for two weeks and at the end of our stay, she sent an email saying:
“You know, you both lifted my spirits and “opened my heart” so my faith is stronger. If I die now and stand before Jesus to be judged, I won’t be ashamed to remove my mask and happily say “Here I am Lord!”
This email opened my eyes to see the need and importance of community, no matter what age you are. By just spending time and sharing meals with our hostess, she was able to see the joy that comes with living an authentic Christ-centred life. By living a life for God you are leading by example, you never know how much it can change someone’s life.
–Written by Louise Lapin