Over 160 school leaders from Catholic systemic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta attended LIFTED Leaders featuring Fr Rob Galea at Rooty Hill RSL during the day of Thursday 22 February.
“Anyone here afraid of public speaking?” Fr Rob asked from the stage. “I’m absolutely terrified,” he said.
He credits God with the power to overcome his crippling fear of speaking to crowds, to have performed live to millions during his ministry.
During the day Fr Rob shared his entertaining and moving testimony through word and song.
His new book Breakthrough – a Journey from Desperation to Hope, details his story of adolescent depression and bullying.
He held the room in the palm of his hand, focusing on the positive aspects of his childhood and vocation as a priest, with many well-timed jokes, to the enthusiastic laughter of the audience.
“Open your hearts to those who support us,” he urged any youth who may have similar difficulties.
The hits performed by Fr Rob included What makes you beautiful, My Lighthouse, and Our God will reign.
Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta spoke about the challenges facing the Church, his experience as a refugee and his hope for the Church.
“[Pope Francis is] more interested in accompanying people, especially those at the margins of the Church and society, rather than imposing rules and checking whether or not people had adhered to the teachings of the Church.”
“It’s more of a pastoral, personal style,” Bishop Vincent said.
“I have also endeavoured to embrace this simple and humble style of leadership because I believe that it is central to the Christian message, to the very person and example of Jesus.”
A series of videos interspersed the talks and performances with inspiring messages about the Year of Youth and World Youth Day Panama 2019.
As students departed they were given Year of Youth resources for their schools and parishes.
“To begin with, I didn’t know what to expect but definitely getting involved and sitting with people from different schools was great,” he said.
“Having Fr Rob talk to us was definitely something that was very special.”
Rebecca Ozer, Captain of St Patrick’s College, Dundas and parishioner at Christ the King Parish, North Rocks, also enjoyed the day.
VIEW: Images from the LIFTED Leaders below or click here.
“It was a really great experience because we were in an environment where everyone sort of has the same beliefs and leadership qualities,” she said.
Nicole Garcia, Liturgy Captain at Catherine McAuley College, Westmead, spoke confidently about her experience at LIFTED Leaders.
“It was very inspiring to see all the leaders come together and share their initiatives within their school community,” she said.
“I think it’s really enlightening to see what they do in their schools and they want to help out building relationships with God,” she said.
Catherine McAueley College, Westmead has its own school-based youth group, which Nicole helps organise.
“We have HSB, which is the YFC high school-based group that is in the works and has been successful so far.”
“I thought it was amazing. It was lovely to meet everyone and to meet new people and other leaders,” Gabriela Badrov, School Captain of Cerdon College, Merrylands, said.
A parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Greystanes, Gabriela thought “It was a good way to connect with other people who have faith and maintain their faith in the modern day.”
Gabriela encourages all students who have the chance to attend Catholic Youth Parramatta’s LIFTED events.
“I would definitely encourage it. It’s an excellent opportunity. It’s a great way to meet friends and to encourage faith,” Gabriela said.