‘Be Courageous’: the Archbishop’s Conversation with Student Leaders

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15 March 2017

On 2 March student leaders from 18 Catholic secondary schools from across the Archdiocese of Melbourne gathered at St Kevin’s College, Toorak, to meetArchbishop Hart addressing young leaders at the Archbishop's Conversation with student leaders with Archbishop Dennis Hart in a forum for young leaders.

After the opening prayer and welcome to country, the Archbishop addressed the leaders on the theme ‘Be Courageous’ using examples from his personal experiences, his education and his vocation.

His Grace finished his address with three reflections to help us be courageous:

  • God is near, Jesus is near and he loves and understands you.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid of what you can achieve with your gifts. God is a god of surprises.

Salesian College Co-Captain, Joshua, ‘thought his presentation on his life of being courageous was quite inspirational and the fact that he actually was able to open up to us and tell us of his troubles and what he faced. And I think it’s little things like that which can encourage people to take that step and be courageous. I think that was really important’.

Roby Curtis also addressed the young leaders, inviting students to recognise moments in their life where they are called to be courageous, and how courage may embolden them in their life choices. As the founder of Blind Eye Ministries, based in Brisbane, he works on the frontline in ministry with the homeless, indigenous and pro-life work. His work involves sharing his Catholic faith with those in homeless hostels and in remote Indigenous Communities.

Our Lady of Sion College Co-Captain, Emily, thought ‘It was a very inspiring speech. It reminded me that our lives aren’t set in stone, that we can change for the better and you can always continue to keep improving yourself and helping out others’. The student leaders then broke into small groups to discuss the presentations they had heard and formulate questions for the Archbishop.

Salesian College Co-Captain, Hannah, said, ‘They were really good conversations. We were laughing and saying this is what happens when you put a group of young leaders around a table, you have so much discussion and so many things to talk about and everyone had similar views but a lot of different views and opinions and different faiths as well. To be able to hear people from different schools and cultures and different religions, it’s really interesting. The conversations that are brought up are really intelligent because everyone is really strong in what they believe in. Everyone’s got a lot of input to share’.

After lunch His Grace responded to questions from the student leaders that were on topics as diverse as the division between rich and poor, euthanasia, women in the priesthood and respect.

Our Lady of Sion College Co-Captain, Merryn, said, ‘I thought it was a very motivating experience for me. I felt very proud to be a Catholic and I felt that as a Catholic I have a mission to do what I can for the community, for people who are disadvantaged in our community. I felt proud that that was my mission.’

Every year, Archbishop Denis Hart writes a letter to young people, which is released for Pentecost Sunday. The Pentecost letter is inspired by the Archbishop’s annual conversation with student leaders and reflects on the hopes, concerns and questions expressed by young people at this gathering. This year's letter Be Courageous was available on the Melbourne Catholic website.