Happy Easter and greetings from the 2015 Mannix Freedom Launch team!
What an incredible first half of the semester it has been! We could not be more blessed by the circumstance in which we find ourselves this year: helping to pioneer a new phase of NET’s mission, sailing into the uncharted waters of university ministry and building up the kingdom of God at Mannix College (one of the student residences for Monash University here in Melbourne).
After a whirlwind training with the other teams and commissioning by Archbishop Hart, our team jumped straight into the deep end with ministry in late February – beginning our time at the college with a jam-packed and exciting orientation week. Small-scale ministry gives us the priceless gift of journeying with individuals over the course of the entire year; though with this comes a necessary daily studying of the College’s “stalker board”, which has proved invaluable in attempting to memorize the faces, names and chosen degrees of Mannix’s 290 residents.
March flew by in a blur of academic gowns and chocolate chip cookies. Amalgamating NET’s vision with many of the practical elements of Freedom Catholic Mission on Campus in a residential setting has proved challenging, rewarding and hilarious as “youth ministry” takes on a shape never before seen. Highlights include Wednesday night baking for those residents getting back from the pub sorely in need of cookies and pizza scrolls; dressing up in our Hogwarts-esque academic robes for weekly formal dinners; taking vanloads of residents out to feed to the poor and marginalized on the streets of Melbourne; and beginning faith studies with a handful of people intrigued by God.
Late March saw the long-anticipated arrival of our brother Wes, whose visa was finally approved after agonizing delays from immigration. The months of waiting did afford the Mannix team the awesome privilege of having Arnie Hurdoyal join us on team, earning himself an official “third-year-Netter” status and our love, respect and infinite gratitude. Finally receiving word that “Houston, we have lift-off” was the answer to many prayers for our Texan brother; though it was with tears, abundant thanks and a brilliantly re-lyricized pop song (if we do say so ourselves) that we fare-welled Arnie.
The end of March also played host to Kate’s 19th Birthday, an occasion that demanded the surrender of more than one Lenten promise for the sake of delicious home baking. Our team celebrated the Easter Triduum in style, with an all-night “garden of Gesthemane” adoration vigil in the Mannix chapel, a hermit day of silence in commemoration of Good Friday and far too many delicious treats on Easter Sunday – replete with homemade hot cross buns, Arnie’s family’s incredible cooking and ridiculously copious amounts of chocolate.
While the residents are awa y for mid-semester break, we’re thrilled to have our awesome supervisors Shayne and Shanelle with us, and can’t wait to begin a new phase of ministry when uni starts up again!
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all – sponsors, spiritual supporters, NETters, young people and not-so-young people – as you continue the journey through 2015. We hope the year has been as fruitful and blessed for you as it has been for us so far.
With love in Christ,
Claire, Wes, Kate and Sam