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My family is big – my mum is the youngest of nine and my
dad is the youngest of seven. We are plenty but we are
spread out. My parents both grew up in a little village in
Croatia called Zabrde, in a small town called Konjic. They
moved here just under 30 years ago, both at the age of
22. My parents coming from Croatia is in fact the most
important part of not only themselves but also of me.
Adelaide but I was proudly raised in a Croatian home and
community. I finished my Bachelor of Education in 2014
which somehow led me to my current role of Diocesan
Youth Ministry Development Officer in the Catholic Office
for Youth and Young Adults. We’ve all heard that if “you
find something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in
your life”. This is the only way to describe how I feel about
the work I have the opportunity to do.
If you asked me even two years ago what my inspiration
to participate in the life and mission of the Church was,
you would be hearing an incredibly different answer.
Church in my life has always been present and I choose
that word specifically because Church for me has been
a continual journey. I have been an active member of the
Croatian Church Community at St Patrick’s all my life, and
it holds a special place having not only celebrated Mass
there, but also all my sacraments up to now at that same
church. Up until last year I only knew how to celebrate
Mass in Croatian – I will restate that I was born here
and although English was my second language, it is my
While my Church community is small, passionate and
strongly connected, there has never been a lot for the
young of the Church. The congregation, including my
parents, grew up in a country where Church was a way of
life and so they continued to do what they’d always done
– as suming the young people would naturally follow, yet
this is sadly not the case.
For a long while I felt disengaged, going to Mass
occasionally, loosely involved in the Church and
community. The change for me really began when I made
a decision to drop PE at uni and pick up Catholic Studies.
I began asking questions and having conversations I’d
never experienced and I wondered what more there was.
Learning about the depth and capacity of our Church
and tradition inspired me to be more active and the
experiences that I have been witness to or involved in are
what continually motivate me to participate in the life and
mission of the Church.
I found that when I chose to further engage myself and
learn about the faith and tradition I was so proud to be
a part of, I began to realise something; there was not
a place, nor a lot of opportunity for the young, active
members of the Adelaide Archdiocese to be a part of
something if they weren’t directly involved through school
or their own parish. I want to be a part of the change, the
vision and the initiative that creates a new way of looking
at Church and the way we live Church as young people.
My inspiration to continually participate comes from the
energy, the enthusiasm, the willingness and openness of
the young people here and beyond. But in combination
with this, the uncertainty, the questions and the
challenges are also what inspire me to be a part of the
life and mission of our Church and our ideas in moving
forward. To be a young person in the young Church
community is what inspires me.
I firmly believe that the Church along with its young
people are ready for change. We thrive off it, we crave it
and we in some ways expect it. Young people understand
the value of our rich tradition but are also beginning
to make sense of how they may combine this with the
modern ideals of their generation. We are not a generation
that can sit still but we’re also not a generation to be
underestimated. I think we are well on our way to doing
things differently – searching for the need and working
toward fulfilling it.
Pope Francis shared some wise words with us in a
general audience address when he said: “Don’t bury
your talents! Bet on big ideals, those ideals that enlarge
the heart, those ideals that will make your talents fruitful.
Life is not given to us so that we can keep it jealously for
ourselves, but is given to us so that we may donate it.
Dear young people, have a great soul! Don’t be afraid to
dream great things!”
Let’s keep these words in our mind and hearts as we
bet on big ideals, donate our lives and be courageous in
dreaming big things for the young Church.
Young Catholics dream big
Belinda Maric, Diocesan Youth Officer
Photo: Alex Kwong
At a recent forum on young people held at Croydon Park parish hall, youth worker Belinda
Maric was one of several young people to talk about her background, the inspiration for her
faith and her vision for the future of the Church. Here is an edited version of her address.
CELEBRATION: Kildare College community, including nearly 500
students, teachers, old scholars and Brigidine Sisters, celebrated
the college’s 50th anniversary Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
last month. The Kildare College choir and a bagpiper led the singing
and students participated in the liturgy. Archbishop Wilson thanked
the Brigidine Sisters for establishing Kildare College and said the
wonderful things that St Brigid was able to achieve in Ireland in her
lifetime were possible for all of us today if we gave our lives to Jesus.
Photo: Ben Macmahon
‘The mercy of the Son of
God knows no bounds’
– Pope Francis, MVn24
Sunday May 15, 2016
Pilgrim Peace Park
(next to Veale Gardens,
For more information
contact Robyn Carroll
Archdiocesan Events Manager
T: 8210 8220
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.
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