By David Hore C.Ss.R.
Melanie was a bright, intelligent and outgoing young person. She enjoyed school and was part of the parish youth group. Just after turning sixteen, Melanie got caught up with the ‘wrong crowd’ and got herself into serious trouble. She received harsh criticism within the school and parish community. She was ostracised and treated unfairly.
Melanie reached breaking point. She struggled at school and her work suffered. She no longer felt welcome at Mass and she left the youth group. Melanie stopped talking to God. Melanie had lost a sense of her own worth and was struggling under the weight of many burdens.
I invited Melanie to come and experience the mission.
She told me recently, “I hadn’t felt close to God, but all that changed this week. The preaching, the stories, the sharing, helped me realise that even though I ‘messed up’, I shouldn’t be afraid of talking to God and letting God and others into my life. I feel at peace with God and most of all with myself.”
Parish missions are about lifting people’s burdens. They aim to restore people to healthy ways of relating to God, to self, to each other, and to our world.