New Catholic Youth Worker for Argyll & the Isles

denise+bishop.jpgI am so excited at being given the opportunity to assist the young people of Argyll and the Isles on their faith journey. I feel extremely honoured that I will head up this work. I will be relying on the good people already in contact with the youth; parish priests, parents, grandparents, teachers, and all who play a part in the lives of the young people.

All youth work in the Diocese of Argyll & the Isles has been placed under the patronage of St Mary MacKillop, so it will be wonderful to see  what good works can be done, through time and prayer, to build up the young people in our parishes. Without constant prayer this will not be possible. I urge people to pray for this work.

A wee bit about myself: I have 3 teenage children ages 14, 16, 19. I am a qualified primary school teacher. I became involved in youth work when my eldest became a teenager! (I’m sure many parents out there will understand my motives!) I started a youth club in my then parish (Brighton) and began to run prayer groups through my teaching and youth work. I love to teach children and young people how to pray. (I’m a great fan of Our Lady, the Rosary, Lectio Divina and have been deeply inspired by John Paul II, Theology of the Body.)

With my family I moved to Scotland, in November 2002 to become a member of the Craig Lodge Community.  The Community is simply a group of people of all ages and states of life who want to help each other grow closer to Jesus through prayer and service. We are involved in running the retreat centre and providing hospitality to the hundreds of guests who visit Craig Lodge each year.  Craig Lodge is also home to the charity, Mary’s Meals.  

As a community we all help where we can, and I help with the music playing the violin and with the youth & family events.  With my teaching, when I moved to Scotland, I did a lot of supply work in my local area, which included St Columba’s Primary School in Oban. I started a lunchtime prayer group in St Columba’s and was asked to run a prayer group in Oban High School, and both have continued to this day. I became a ‘youth worker’ for H2O (Hope 2 Oban, a Christian charity) where I ran an intergenerational group bringing the young and the old together.

I have been involved in the youth activities and catechism in my own community here in Dalmally. I care very much for the young people of today and I see in them great hopes and dreams for the future. I wonder how I myself would have managed to ‘keep the faith’ in the current climate of materialism and celebrity culture.  Through my experiences as parent, teacher and youth worker, I hope and pray that I will have something of great value to contribute to the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

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