Young People Unite in Faith
A few weeks ago I was fortunate to have been invited to the Ramadan Iftar dinner hosted by the Victorian Governor Hon. Linda Dissau and her husband Anthony Howard, held at their residence at Government House. In attendance were young people involved in youth ministry from different walks of faiths, among those were young leaders representing Jewish, Bahai and Christian faith. Also included were the members of the Islamic community and the Islamic Council of Victoria who showed great generosity and hospitality as they welcomed us in breaking their fast together.
Upon arriving to the Italianate designed Government Building I was filled with a sense of awe brought out by the immaculate design of the structure. Learning the history of the building I discovered that it was rumoured to be the largest Government House built at its time within the British Empire. The intention of its designer (who also designed St. Patricks Cathedral) was to reflect the prosperity and sophistication of ‘Marvellous Melbourne.’ Upon learning this I felt that the Government House was a fitting venue for the dinner, a first of its kind held within the walls of the building. But the night was intended for more than just admiring the building and its history, as the Hon. Linda Dissau pointed out, the night was an opportunity to experience the Islamic faith through their Iftar dinner but also to share our stories with another, to ask questions in the aim of unifying Victoria and the different communities held within our state lines.
This was made clear to me when before the fast was broken a member of the Islamic community proceeded to sing opening prayers, heard in the background was nothing but the sounds of the crackling wood fire and the beautiful reverence of all those seated around the table. The prayer had ended and we began to learn of each other, asking questions of faith, work and family. Coincidentally, I sat next to Oussama who attended the same high school I had attended, graduating a year level above me. Hearing of the charitable work conducted within his community and the values he held personally, I began to realise that even though all in attendance came from different faith backgrounds there was an aspiration towards a common goal, which is to love, to will the good of another and to be charitable to God’s beloved sons and daughters.
I take away the memories we made while sharing dinner with my brothers and sisters and continue to pray for their work with young people and their communities. I hope that we are able to come closer to God in the future through similar events, unifying Victoria.
By Dennis Montano Galdamez
Dennis is a youth leader from the 'St Peter Chanel Youth Group' in Deer Park.
He is standing directly in the middle of the group photo above.