The Catholic News is excited to launch our new online series ‘Pew to Pavement’ and who better to kick off this venture, than a true champion for our Catholic youth, Cindy Narine, of the Suburban Youth Vicariate (SUVY).
SUVY is listening and responding to the needs of our Catholic youth. They have developed programs, which serve our youth community by providing pertinent, “real-world” training, such as professional workshops on CV building, as well as leadership training programs. Faith formation is also always a priority. SUVY regularly creates opportunity for prayer and communal worship with youth masses and pilgrimages.
With so much passion emerging from, we were curious about what motivates Cindy Narine, one of the key people within the Suburban Youth Vicariate.
Q1: Cindy, you are a great example of living your faith every day and selflessly serving God and as a biproduct of that, our society. What about your life and Catholic faith, instilled the attitude of service within you?
As a child, I saw my grandmother as a pillar of strength for her family of 11 kids, many grandkids and her in-laws. She and my mom went on pilgrimages and nine churches and they seemed at peace to me.
My mom, however, is my true inspiration. She is a very prayerful person and I grew up seeing her finding the strength she needed to face those difficult situations through prayer.
She devoted herself to prayer all her life. When I was old enough, she taught me how to pray and trust in God. Even though we didn’t have a lot, we were grateful for what we have and gave back whenever and however we could have.
My mother encouraged me to get involved in various parish activities. I remember I enjoyed going to the Archbishop’s House on Wednesday nights and seeing how happy the young people were to be at a prayer meeting amazed me and peaked my interest.
At my parish, I became a First Communion catechist, a member of the choir, the Vicariate Co-Coordinator (there were two of us) and a peer counsellor. I got involved in everything and it helped that my best friend was there by my side, just as involved.
Q2: You lead the Suburban Youth Vicariate (SUVY) – how did you become involved in this ministry? How did you make that step from ‘pew to pavement’?
My involvement in parish and Vicariate did not end as an adult. I continued leadership training which allowed me to coordinate, with my husband, one of the largest and most active youth ministries in the country at that time. It was called ‘San Lambert Youth Ministry’. This is where I got extensive training on how to run/coordinate youth ministry. With my husband as leader, and both of us having that love for young people, it allowed us to work well together.
When we moved to another parish, the parish priest and his assistant, knowing my background with youth ministry, approached me to assist with SUVY (that wasn’t the name at the time though, I came up with that).
I was told it’s easy just liaise between the Catholic Youth Commission and the Vicariate. But what struck me was they told me that Suburban’s attendance at Archdiocese events was minimal to non-existent and I thought that can’t happen. And so I agreed to put Suburban back on the map. The parish Youth Coordinators past and present and even those young people who were not Coordinators but had that zeal for service, were so very amazing in achieving this goal. I enjoyed every moment working with them and even today I really do enjoy working with young people.
Q3: I recently saw a post/meme on your Facebook page, “the youth can walk faster, but it is the elder that knows the road”. This is an important message for our young people and highlights the importance of intergenerational dialogue. What are your feelings on this topic?
“The youth can walk faster but the elders know the road”.
I believe that we have more to gain together, in solidarity, that we do apart. The leaders and elders can also be the chair-movers. Elders are valuable as they share stories, ideas, as well as, personal and professional experiences, which not only help to shape all of us but pass on a vision of a better future for all.
Young people also have a voice and a significant contribution to make and must be included into important discussions and decisions especially when it concerns them.
Q4: What’s the key example we need to convey to our young people as we encourage them to embrace God and their faith?
God knows what you need when you need it. Know that you are never alone. Know what is right and do that. It may sound cliche but let Jesus’ words and actions be your inspiration and your guide.