Media and Communications Office
Last month, young Catholics from the Vietnamese Catholic Community Youth Ministry raised over $50,000 dollars to send delegates to ACYF in Perth in December. Youth leader Tammy Nguyen shares with Melbourne Catholic how she rallied her community.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Tham Nguyen (Tammy). I have been the delegate for the Vietnamese Catholic Community Youth Ministry for nine months. I’m also one of the youth leaders at Holy Eucharist Parish in St Albans South, which the Redemptorists are looking after at the moment for a few years.
The Vietnamese Catholic Community youth leadership team
You’ve led a successful fundraising effort for ACYF this year. Can you explain how much was raised and what sort of things you did to raise the money?
This was an amazing effort and such a blessing for our community. We worked together to raise more than $53,000 in one night. We sold the dinner tickets, including the entertainment performed by different youth groups in our community, during the meal. Besides that, we sold thousands of raffle tickets and auctioned a few items to get extra support from people in our community. Not only did we raise money, but we also raised the ACYF spirit, and worked together across youth groups with love and joy. For me, that’s the most successful achievement of the night.
When did you first hear about ACYF? Have you attended it before?
Yes, I attended ACYF in Adelaide four years ago. I heard about ACYF through my previous priest, Fr Minh Tran, when I started the Vietnamese Holy Eucharist Youth Group at my parish. He encouraged me to attend, and I got myself there with a few other young people from my parish at that time.
What is it about ACYF that you are looking forward to the most?
I really want to celebrate the unity of the Church in Australia with other young people from across Australia. It’s so important to encourage youth like us to acknowledge and be more aware of our living Church. I’m really happy and appreciative of being a young Catholic, and I give thanks to God for bringing me into his world. I want to tell this to everyone through my actions. I’m really looking forward to journeying with other young people in my community to learn more about our Church nowadays.
After attending each ACYF, I have felt renewed, and I have grown in faith as well as leadership skills. I have had more motivation and support to continue my missionary journey. I really want to see the leaders in our community gain confidence in what they are doing and get involved more with the Church. I want to see different youth groups in my community to become closer and support each other and develop the networks to make our youth community stronger.
How many people in your church community are either going to ACYF or supporting others to do so?
We have 117 youth and young adults going at this stage. I hope this number will increase even more. We have a strong network in our community, so once we decided to do fundraising and promote ACYF, all our chaplains, the community committee and local community leaders were willing to give us a hand. This is the first time ACYF has been so strongly promoted within the Vietnamese Community.
This is a heartening message to anyone worried about whether the Church can retain young people. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to young people being part of the Church, and what’s the best way to get past that?
Personally, I think the biggest obstacle to young people nowadays is being afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone to find Jesus in their lives. And the best way to get past that is to offer projects that strengthen our young people, that accompany them and motivate them to participate in generous service on God’s mission.
The Vietnamese Catholic Community Youth Ministry committee
Your success says a lot about what Church communities (and communities of young people) are capable of achieving. For any other youth groups who are thinking of start-ing fundraising themselves, do you have any advice to give?
I would love to tell them that to have the best outcome you need to pray for it, to believe in what you are doing and commit wholeheartedly to it. You need to get people involved and ask for support. Do your best with all your heart and love, trust in God and the result will come. Be happy and appreciative of whatever you receive!