There was singing, dancing, screaming and sharing aplenty as 762 primary school students from Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains put their faith into action at the second LIFTED Live Jnr event.
LIFTED Live Jr, organised by Catholic Youth Parramatta (CYP) and the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, brought students from 20 Faith in Action Team (FIAT) participating schools around the Diocese of Parramatta to the EVAN Theatre at Panthers Penrith on Thursday, 21 February.
LIFTED Live Jr began with a welcome to country acknowledgement and opening prayer lead by students, reflecting on the words of Pope Francis given to young people during World Youth Day 2019 in Panama.
In the first session, Fr Rob encouraged the students to get rid of their big ‘buts’, which stop them from doing great things.
“I’m not talking the Kim Kardashian kind of butt,” Fr Rob joked.
“I’m talking about when I want to go help that person who’s being bullied at school, I will do it, but…
“I want to speak in public, my teacher asks me to speak in public, to speak in front of the class, but…what if they make fun of me, what if I say the wrong thing, what if I embarrassed myself.
“We continue to keep being controlled by these ‘buts’ in our lives.
“Your fear is not the boss, you’re the boss.
“I’m not here just to entertain you, but to tell you that you don’t need to be controlled by your fear.
“God created you and he has an amazing plan for your life, not to be like the person next to you, but to be the best that you can be.”
The second session started with students sharing their talents through a singing competition, which ended with a crowd singalong.
James Camden, Director Catholic Youth Parramatta and Sr Rosie Drum mgl, Assistant Director Catholic Youth Parramatta encouraged the students to take back their feelings from LIFTED back to their schools.
Four primary school teachers who were on World Youth Day reflected on what their pilgrimage meant to them and the highlight from their trip.
Fr Rob returned to speak to the students about temptation, using an analogy of resisting the urge to eat a cake.
After lunch, students were able to ask Fr Rob questions about his life and his ministry.
Mark Smith, Head of Mission at Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, thanked the teachers who helped organise for students to attend LIFTED, CYP and Fr Rob, but stressed the importance of the day to the students.
“I hope that you had fun today. I hope that there’s something from today that meant something to you. I hope and I pray that this is something you can take back to your school.
“If you have an idea of how you can life out the fun, joy and inspiration from today back at school, your job is to tell someone. Tell your friend, tell your teachers.”
Mr Jan van der Walle from St Canice’s Primary School, Katoomba, said that the LIFTED session was an experience most of his students had never had.
“Anything to do with music with a message of evangelisation attached to that, I think, is very subtle and I think sticks with the kids once they get back into their schools.
“I’ll certainly have a conversation in my class about what they heard today and let’s see how we can keep that faith in action at school.
“It’s great to see that evangelisation going on because sometimes, we as Catholics, particularly the older people like teachers and parishioners, were not always that great with sharing our faith with the children and doing that through Fr Rob has been a great opportunity for these kids.”
The LIFTED Live events continue on Friday, with the Year 12 Student Leaders session during the day and the LIFTED Live for youth and families across the diocese in the evening.
Find view images from LIFTED Live Jr here or below.