Mary McAuliffe, Townsville Diocese

Mary McAuliffeYouth Engagement and Development Officer, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland

I felt a strong calling after World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 to contribute more to the church. I had been volunteering with a youth group, but then took a position as Diocesan Youth Ministry for four years. After that, I coordinated some pastoral care programs with the Diocese of Townsville, which included Hospital visitors and Prison chaplains. The work of the volunteers in those programs inspired me and challenged me to see the church as more than just people in the pews on Sunday, or being active in just one way. Our community is larger than we can see, and we need to be constantly aware of how to be inclusive of the people who can easily become invisible.

Now I am working with young people with Vinnies QLD and I am always inspired by the willingness of young people to step up and make a difference.  They are looking at the needs of the community and creating programs to reach out, especially to the children of the families assisted by the Society.  I am motivated by these young people every day to do my best to support them and the work they do. 

God has provided me with many opportunities to serve the Catholic community.  I believe we all have something to offer, but it is a privilege to be able to do this as part of my career.  It feels like many of the experiences I have had in the past have equipped me to be in the role I am in now. 

Vinnies QLD provided me with training and formation for my job as well as in the Vincentian spirit.  Previously I have participated in the Australian Catholic Youth Festival and the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention.  It is great that so many opportunities for formation exist around Australia. 

I love seeing young people working together, using their talents, to create something amazing.  Our Buddies Days are a great example of that.  Our Little Buddies have a great time with the activities on offer.  Sometimes its sport, craft, or a variety of other activities put together by the team.  It is wonderful to see when a young person identifies their talents and then uses it to help other kids.



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