Bondi surfies’ enthusiastic mission


A Sydney youth ministry has taken itself to where a lineup of enthusiastic young people can be guaranteed – Bondi beach.

Offering surfboards rather than hymn books, Bondi’s Catholic youth ministry teaches new surfies to ride the waves and tells them about the Catholic faith.

Last weekend saw over 25 Sydneysiders at the Bondi Catholic parishes’ first sunrise surf session.

The youth ministry supplied a couple of surfboards (each sporting its Virgin Mary and Christ Child logo). After sharing breakfast and watching the sun rise, they began guided group surf lessons.

Monica Bautista says it was the perfect opportunity to inject faith into the local beach culture.

The parish is full of passionate young people looking for community and relationship with God and others, she says.

Fortnightly get-togethers at the beach seem to fit the bill, given the youth population and its interests.

“Catholics really want to meet other likeminded people through something fun and interactive.”

Put out into the deep

Peter’s first meeting with Jesus on the water inspired the surf-based youth ministry.

Jesus asked Peter to ‘put out into the deep” – not just to catch fish, but to begin his mission of evangelising.

“Saturday surf sessions takes two elements of this story — it’s in the water and also the idea of meeting people where they’re at” Bautista says.

“Though we can definitely evangelise in the church, it’s often hard to meet people where they’re at when they’re not at church.

“In Bondi, everyone’s out and about and wanting to do different things.

“The water is an iconic part of the community, so what better way to get together in Christ’s name than in the sun with a surf.”

Ministry of presence

Monica believes above all in the ministry of presence.

“John Paul always talked about this, and I think it’s something we struggle with in this society because we are so distracted.

“These events are an opportunity to witness the call of God through community.

“As Catholics we are called to be out there meeting people, taking a leap of faith and trying new things.”

Bautista points out that all Catholics have the same vocation.

She describes this as “to live life and to do it well, making sure that everyone you come across along the way knows that they’re loved.”


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