Braving light rain and icy winds, 140 young people from across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains attended the annual Lifted: Breakfast with the Bishop on Saturday 12 May 2018 at Rooty Hill RSL.
James Camden, Director of Catholic Youth Parramatta, kicked off proceedings with a warm welcome, followed by a hearty buffet breakfast and ample barista made coffee.
James outlined the year ahead for young people in the Diocese of Parramatta including key events such as the Year of Youth, the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention and World Youth Day Panama.
VIEW: Images from Breakfast with the Bishop here.
“Breakfast with the Bishop is an important part of the Year Youth as it is dialogue between young people and Church leaders,” James said.
“Bishop Vincent will challenge young people today to think about new ways of envisaging parish life and what you can bring.
“Today is about being heard and about being listened to.”
The morning was focused on asking the crowd to explore three questions:
- What do we love, and what gives us hope about our local church?
- What obstacles are young people facing in living and sharing their faith?
- How could our Diocese respond innovatively to these challenges?
Matt Bretania, a newly-arrived seminarian from Holy Spirit Seminary, led the LIFTED band and everyone was singing and dancing.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, took centre stage and welcomed the crowd who had gathered from parishes, schools and youth groups from across the Diocese of Parramatta.
Also in attendance were the newly created FIAT (Faith In Action Team) representatives from Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta including teachers and students from St Agnes Catholic High Rooty Hill, Xavier College Llandilo, Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek and Loyola Senior High School Mount Druitt.
“It is such a delight to be with you this morning. I am here to hear your concerns, your dreams and hopes as young people in society and the Church,” Bishop Vincent said.
Reflecting on the need to stay healthy, Bishop Vincent had everyone laughing when he shared that he takes “20,000 steps a day” monitored on his Fitbit in order to maintain a “healthy mind, healthy body and healthy spirit”.
Taking questions from the floor and sharing his own thoughts for the future direction of the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent told those gathered, “we’ve got to go back to the scriptures for guidance and not resisting the need for engagement with the world.
“We are the pilgrim people and we are pilgrims with all and not just Catholics. We need to reach people from other faith traditions and those people with no faith at all.
“As Catholics, we don’t silo ourselves in a ghetto. That’s not the way of the Catholic Church.
“The Church must provide a sense of solidarity and a sense of belonging to people.
“As Pope Francis reminds us, we don’t live in a bubble.”
Throughout the morning there we group activities, questions on how to renew the Church and reflections shared by those gathered on what it means to be a young Catholic in modern Australia.
Bishop Vincent implored the crowd to remain true to their faith, despite an increasingly irreligious society.
“Catholicism is fundamentally counter-cultural,” Bishop Vincent said.
When questioned on faith, how to pray and helping people, Bishop Vincent reminded people that there is “centuries of accumulated wisdom in the Church. Learn about the breadth of Catholic traditions.”
“We must accompany people where they are at. We will find God in the unlikely. God had a knack for the little guy.
“Pope Francis has told us, Jesus is the Lord of risk. That is essentially the foundation story of Christianity.”
Bishop Vincent wrapped up question time saying, “I thank you sincerely for these opinions, perceptions and feedback.”
The LIFTED band closed the morning with more singing and dancing.
VIEW: Images from Breakfast with the Bishop here or below.