Joining the Derry Youth Community is a courageous step. Living in a new town, working in youth ministry together with many new people, encountering the Catholic faith in an intensity one might not be used to. All of this can be exciting, sometimes challenging, definitely rewarding and inspiring on so many levels. But the greatest adventure and the most radical change, if one did not experience it before, is the community life: sharing a house, working, eating and praying together with totally new people. Obviously this can be tough; this year’s DYC is formed by three young people from three different countries of three different cultures with three different backgrounds. The potential for conflict is omnipresent, a simple topic like tonight’s dinner can be the cause for serious tension. Pasta or potatoes? Courgettes or carrots? Or as a past DYC member phrased it: “The greatest challenge of community life is the daily madness of normal life, the unwashed teaspoon on the brim of the sink.”
Life is hard under these difficult circumstances and could actually be almost insufferable from time to time were it not for everybody’s certainty about one thing uniting all members of the community, however diverse they may be: We all are here for a reason, each one of us is sent here by God according to His plan and He has set into our hearts the same motivation, the same determination to serve the people of Derry, to bring His love to the youth. Thus become out of three strangers three brothers and sisters in Christ united by the same aim, because they all share the same faith in our risen Lord.
And in the abundance of His grace He transforms the community over time. You find a close friend in the person you did not even know just a couple of months ago. Diversity becomes an enriching source of ideas and perspectives. Alongside with taking a lesson in patience and compromise you learn to play a new instrument, prepare handmade pasta or speak a new language. Being so close all the time you encounter a person on a deep level listening to amazing stories, learning so much about life and faith. Of cause, the problems do not simply vanish, but the perception of them changes: you see them now as an opportunity to grow, given to you by God.
Do you want to know more?
Check out this year’s community members and learn more about their stories!