Speakers didn’t doge the sometimes-tough issues of faith such as the difficulties of seeking God’s calling, when they addressed around 80 young people at the Finding Your Calcutta conference at the Waterslea conference centre in Shoalhaven.
But frank discussion of difficulties did not avoid the joys of the Christian life when rejecting the narrow definitions of success promoted by secular media and culture.
Marina Wahba, event organiser and parishioner at Saint Rafqa’s parish in Austral, explained, “The conference spoke to the needs of many young people at different points in their faith journeys.”
Speakers included Chris Kerin, a member of Opus Dei, and Christian Stephens, who tutors Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Christian Stephens spoke of the need for dependence on the grace of God in vocation seeking, drawing comparisons with Saint Peter’s call to discipleship in the Gospel of Matthew. “God is infinite, and this means there’s no limit on the attention he can offer you.” said Stephens.
Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic youth were brought together by the conference, with parishioners from St Peters in Surry Hills, Our Lady of Lebanon in Harris Park and Saint Mark Coptic Catholic parish in Prospect.
“It was a great time of synthesis with our Maronite brothers and sisters.” said Victoria Costello of Our Lady of Fatima in Kingsgrove.
The conference was hosted by Saint Rafqa’s Parish in Austral. Father Thomas McFadden, a Capuchian Friar, served as its Chaplain, and missionaries from Verbum Dei acted as spiritual guides.
Resources and materials from the talks and events at the weekend will be accessible at www.findingyourcalcutta.com.