On the 28th of February, 130 students, youth ministers and international leaders, including Cardinal Soane from Tonga, gathered together in Canberra for the 2019 Oceania Youth Ministry Equipping School.
We began by recalling what Pope Francis said at the recent World Youth Day in Panama, “With you, we want to rediscover and reawaken the Church’s constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost” which was our theme for the School. At the end of day one, there was already this buzz surrounding all of the participants.
Reconciliation and forgiveness, empowered by the holy spirit and mission was the theme of the next three days where we delved into lectures and seminars from Fr Tony Percy, Patrick McGrath, Fr Josh Scott, Sr Bernadette Toohey, Fr Dan Benedetti, Will Desmond (ENG), Peter Woods and many more.
We had time to break this open and meet new people in our small group time, which allows you to be open and share you experiences of the night sessions, lectures and seminars.
And our night sessions dive a little deeper with a testimony, talk, drama and a time for response with reconciliation, adoration and prayer teams. This allows the participants to really encounter God, and step that one bit closer to Him who placed us here.
See below some participant highlights from the Equipping School:
“Its so incredible seeing all the young people here expressing their faith with real truth and real honesty” – Gerard Teng
“Honestly it was the most life changing experience for me, it was so amazing and I would really recommend coming along” – Youth Academy Student
“The overwhelming sense of fellowship between everyone here is amazing, people from different backgrounds and experiences coming together in the Spirit and in God is amazing” – Erin Smart
We ended the Equipping School with an Archdiocesan Cultural Sharing, Youth Mass and Catholic Leaders Formation Dinner hosted by the Tongan community.
We cant wait to continue to see the fruits from the 2019 Oceania Youth Ministry Equipping School throughout the year.