The skies were grey but the faces shone as over 450 young people from across the Archdiocese gathered at Marist College on Monday to experience the Shine Gathering.
The event was a gathering of year 9 and 10 students who had recently chosen an elective within the Religious Education curriculum focused on the CSYMA youth ministry program. Though not compulsory, the elective is something some students have chosen to do after participating in a Catch the Wave retreat run by Youth Ministers earlier this year. A real fruit of the CSYMA model now seeking to be implemented across all schools in our Archdiocese.
Project Officer for Catholic Schools and the New Evangelisation, Nathan Galea said he was tremendously encouraged by the turnout of young people keen to find out more about their faith.
“At a time in the church where we have about a three per cent participating rate at Mass on the weekend, and here we’ve got nearly 500 kids who are stepping out to look at what this whole thing is about Jesus, and what the gift is of our faith, it’s a pretty exciting time in our Archdiocese and I feel like there’s a real Grace that something’s at work here,” he said.
The day consisted of a range of events, from ice-breakers, to workshops, testimonies and proclamations of young people sharing their life stories.
Many of the students particularly appreciated the opportunity to mix with students from other schools, and other regions.
One of the key aspects of the event was that it wasn’t the end point of a process, and many teachers were excited to head back into the school with this momentum, and with the model in the schools for them to take the next step.
Mr Galea thanked the Archdiocese Youth Ministry, all of the schools and the teachers involved for their ongoing examples in faith and for assisting to make the event a reality.
“We especially want to thank Marist College for their hospitality in hosting such a huge event, and to have it in the middle of a day when school’s in operation… we’re very grateful for that,” he said.