Sunday 15 April 2012
By Katherine Galea
Archdiocesan Office for Youth
On a brilliant sunny day, clear skies greeted more than 150 student leaders from the Melbourne Archdiocese as they gathered at Penola College in Broadmeadows for the annual Archbishop's Conversation with Student Leaders.
This year, Archbishop Denis Hart spoke directly with the students, painting a picture of a small boy with a love for writing stories and lack of artistic ability who became a young man at Xavier College with a passion for languages. Then onto the seminary and the life of a parish priest through to his current position as the Archbishop of Melbourne. He peppered his stories with many fond memories and recollections.
The students then broke into small groups to discuss their individual faith journeys, reflecting on the past, present and future through their school, family and social life. They were invited also to reflect on how they could introduce the upcoming Year of Grace into their everyday lives as they sought to grow as disciples of Jesus. The students wrapped up the session by composing questions for Archbishop Hart. During the discussions, Archbishop Hart moved from group to group and listened intently to the varying and fascinating discussions.
After lunch and a few photo opportunities with Archbishop Hart, the students gathered again to listen to him respond to their questions and highlight how lucky and blessed he had felt on his personal faith journey.
Archbishop Hart urged the students to "remember who you are" and encouraged the student leaders to continue to seek and grow in their knowledge, "Unless we discover by using our minds, we don't really discover." He also commented on how he marvelled at the ability of young people to stand up for what they believed in and for who they were.
The students again separated into small groups, this time with their fellow school companions and teachers to discuss how they, as a school, could embrace the Year of Grace. The day concluded with a blessing and prayer as the Archbishop thanked the students and encouraged them to continue on their faith journey and not to forget to "stop and think how lucky we are".
To listen to the Archbishop's answers to students' questions, log on to the Archdiocesan Office for Youth website.
Photo: Archbishop Denis Hart with student leaders from St Monica’s College, Epping.