By Josh Low
Only a few weeks after celebrating the birth of Jesus and His coming as Light of the World, the focus of the 25th annual Summer School of Evangelisation was about receiving the light of Christ and becoming His light in our world today.
Some 160 people attended the week-long conference, held from 7 to 14 January at Camp Wattle Grove, with this year’s theme, ‘I am/You are the Light of the World’ drawn from the Gospels of John and Matthew.
Participants of the conference were offered a variety of lectures, workshops and seminars covering all aspects of the faith and plenary sessions every night covering different themes, with Mass and Eucharistic Adoration offered daily.
An evening during the conference also saw a total of 12 priests present to minister the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with almost all participants at the conference receiving the sacrament.
Pastoral Director Mario Borg said something which stood out this year was the allocation of leadership roles to young people.
“This year we’ve had night session preaching and testimonies by young people, with most of the speakers having had training, formation and scriptural studies at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation’s (Acts2CoME) Bible College.
“We made a conscious decision that all the lead roles would be performed by young adults, who were all mentored by others with years of experience.
“In line with the Year of Youth, we wanted the young people attending to see other young and enthusiastic Catholics ‘on fire’ and involved in ministry,” Mr Borg explained.
Mr Borg said Summer Schools in the past always had members of older generations giving seminars and lectures and sharing testimonies of faith.
“However, with the knowledge that we were heading into the Year of Youth, we felt that young people need the inspiration that comes from seeing other young people who are full of faith and thirsting for God and deepening their relationship with Him,” he said.
As both a participant and volunteer for the conference, Mark McGinnity said he appreciated the opportunity to reflect on God’s will for his life, adding that the testimonial style approach of the conference by other youth was of great benefit.
“One of the highlights has been having the time and the space to stop and reflect and allow God in; to question my life and find out God’s will.
“The theme of this year’s Summer School really makes you think about taking the opportunity to be a witness in whatever environment you find yourself in – whether at school, university or at work,” he said.
“You never know when someone may need to hear of God’s Word and His love. That moment could be a game changer in their life if God wills it.
“The young people here have all been a great inspiration and encouragement to be more open and courageous in being instruments for the Lord.”
The Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community Summer School of Evangelisation has been serving young people around Australia for more than 30 years.
For more information about the Summer School of Evangelisation, visit www.summerschool.org.au.