By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer

Sara Dmitri is in Ireland on a mission.

The 24-year-old is in the city of Cork, volunteering for nine months with National Evangelization Teams, encouraging young people to love Jesus and embrace the life of the Catholic Church.

“I was hesitant. My parents were worried I would go off to a random country and be a missionary but ta da, I’m here,” said Dmitri, a lifelong parishioner of St. Thomas More Parish in southwest Edmonton.

Dmitri is a part of a team of five missionaries, including two from Canada and two from Ireland. Her team spends time in the schools, teaching religion classes and running day-long retreats. In the community, the team plays faith-enriching games and fun activities, and leads prayer, discussions, adoration, praise and worship in small groups of young adults.

One of the most powerful experiences was during a guided reflection for a group of 90 girls, aged 12 and 13. The girls were invited to go to two stations at the back of the room for individual prayer.

As Dmitri was waiting at the back, praying for just one student to come, one girl got up and went to a prayer station. “As she got up, every other girl was staring at her and watching her.”

Two more girls came to Dmitri’s station. As she looked up in the middle of her prayer, more than half of the girls had lined up for prayer.

“It showed so much how these girls were yearning for this chance to get to know God better, but society and peer pressure affects it all,” said Dmitri. “It really is none of our work, it’s all Jesus.”

Seventy girls from the group that day also saw a priest for confession.

“It’s a call not everyone can do. This is a unique call that comes from God,” said Rev. Antony Fernando, Dmitri’s pastor at St. Thomas More, which helped raise $4,500 for her NET mission.

Fernando praised Dmitri’s NET team for reaching out to people on the streets of Ireland and inviting them to attend Mass.

Dmitri shrugs off the attention she’s been getting from her home parish.

“What I’ve really learned in the time I’ve lived here is that I’m known not by what I can do or what I’m doing but simply because I’m an adopted child of God — someone who wants to be in a personal relationship with you,” Dmitri said. “And that’s so crazy!”

Dmitri returns to Edmonton at the end of May. A recent graduate of the University of Alberta, she hopes to secure an engineering job. After her NET team mission, one thing is for sure: She will be volunteering in youth ministry at St. Thomas More Parish.

For Sara's personal perspective on her journey, view her blog at https://aquestionforeverything.wordpress.com/.