Youth conference of purpose, hope

 

This article appeared in the Tuesday February 3rd edition of the Canterbury-Bankstown express. The full story can be read below.

Purpose, hope, love. These are ideas which helped shape the lives of 120 young people at a conference run by St Charbel’s Maronite Catholic Church this week.

The conference entitled “The Lion, The King and the Mountain,” was held at the Collaroy Retreat Centre, and demonstrated the enthusiasm and joyfulness of young people in the Lebanese Catholic community. It also challenged society’s prejudices about the self-involvement of today’s youth.

Anthony Ndaira, organiser of the event, explained, “The young people of the community show me that the new generation are a lot less superficial than many think. They are asking big questions, they do want to change the world, they do aspire to be the person they are called to be.”

The youth heard talks, attended mass, and played group activities, all centered around the themes of living out lives of joy and purpose.

“They give me great hope because they care about something bigger than them and hold true the values we Australians so esteem.” Ndaira explained.

Other conference participants also spoke of the community spirit witnessed at the event.

Sunny Josan, a young parishioner, explained,  “I got to meet a lot of new faces and hear about their stories. Some which are pretty inspiring.”

Father Daniel McCaughan of St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Ryde, and himself one of Sydney’s youngest Priests, spoke of the need for purpose in young lives,

“Every one needs direction, every one needs something to live for. We all want to give ourselves to something that is greater than ourselves.

Most importantly everyone wants answer to two fundamental questions, ‘Where do I come from?’ and ‘Where am I going?’”

One of the things I love about the Maronite youth is that they’re able to keep the faith really burning, though there are so many distractions, in the media, the entertainment industry and society in general, which promote a very individualistic ethos, one that fundamentally says ‘I’m the only one that matters.’

This is the third year of the St Charbel’s ‘iSeek’ conference.

 

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