The famous philosopher, Aristotle, commented that, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” After three years, Catholic Youth Parramatta’s LIFTED Retreat was finally held at the Benedict XVI Centre, Grose Vale in early July. The theme was Wonder and Awe inspired by Psalm 139. Catholic Youth Parramatta hoped to create a space to encounter the expansiveness of God’s love throughout the retreat.
Drawing 75 young adults from across the Diocese and beyond, the retreat offered time for prayer and reflection, building friendship, and nourishment through formative sessions and the Sacraments.
New to the Mission Enhancement Team (MET) – Pastoral Formation, Alison Ryan, unpacked Psalm 139 and offered a deep dive into the mystery and wonder of God. One retreatant commented that Alison’s talk was the highlight of their weekend, affirming the solid theology and exegesis delivered in an engaging way.
Another shared that they were “initially a bit apprehensive before coming but ended up having a great time. Everyone was so open and down-to-earth.” While another shared their gratitude “for the chance to find God in community and to experience God at Mass, Adoration and in the Chapel.”
Diocesan Director of Priestly Vocations, Fr Christopher Del Rosario, offered the Sacraments and shared words of encouragement to the retreatants during the LIFTED night, where Adoration and Reconciliation were made available. In-house musicians and locals of the Diocese, Kristine Gerardino and Anna Amos, beautifully accompanied the times in prayer and reflection.
While the weekend was cut short due to the predicted rainfall and flooding, several retreatants expressed that the weekend was much-needed time away to reconnect with their faith and with community. “I relished the opportunity to take some time out from the busyness of everyday life to seek God in the company of other like-minded, faith-filled young people,” one participant said.
Reflecting the enthusiasm for community and connection, a follow-up gathering has been set, bringing together Theology Hour and LIFTED Games Night. Guest Speaker Joy Adan will speak about Beauty and its capacity to inspire us and will be followed by an evening of games – many of which played during the retreat.
Catholic Youth Parramatta hopes to raise money for families and communities affected by the flooding that occurred on the weekend of the retreat. All are welcome. You can register online at www.parracatholic.org/theologyhour