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Year 12 leaders called to be something greater at LIFTED Leaders

By Mary Brazell, 24 February 2020
Melbourne singer-songwriter Gen Bryant performs with Year 12 student leaders during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

In the words of Pope Francis, Year 12 leaders from across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have been called to “be something greater” at LIFTED Leaders.

The third LIFTED Leaders gathered a record 272 student leaders from 24 Catholic high schools across the Diocese of Parramatta at West HQ, Rooty Hill.

View images from LIFTED Leaders here or below.

The program, which fits more broadly in a series of evangelisations events for the Diocese, connects young people in leadership roles.

Year 12 student leaders during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

“LIFTED Leaders sets the tone for the year. It’s about getting everyone on the same page. Today should inspire young people into action before Bishop Vincent gathers a smaller group of leaders in a more intimate setting during June,” James Camden, Director, Catholic Youth Parramatta, said.

Qwayne Guevara, Local Engagement Leader, Catholic Youth Parramatta, told the students, “you’ve said yes to an invitation, not just to be leaders, but to be servants of your entire school. What an amazing privilege you get for the next year that you get to be the ones who give people a real voice and a platform to be who they are.”

Special musical guest Melbourne Catholic singer-songwriter Gen Bryant, who had performed to over 200 primary school students the day before, entertained the sometimes boisterous student leaders, who were happy to sing and dance along to her original music.

Melbourne singer-songwriter Gen Bryant during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

During the first session of the day, Gen Bryant encouraged the students to reach out to God in the good times and bad.

“I needed something in my life that’s going to be solid, no matter what I’m going through and what other people are going through. I needed something that was going to get me through to the good times and the hard times. So I turned towards God,” Gen said.

“I want to you imagine that person in your life who is there for you no matter what stupid mistakes you might make. Who is there for you? Who do you turn to? I want you to say a quick prayer of thanks for that person being in your life. And for those of you who do turn to God and reach out, say a prayer of thanks for that faith in your life,” she added.

Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta, during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta, explained to the leaders that leadership is a journey of accompaniment with others, and that in Christ, they can find a true example of leadership.

“Being Catholic is a statement, doing Catholic is very different and if you want the model, all you have to do is look to Jesus, because that’s where you’ll find the answers.”

“He didn’t come with all the answers, He just said ‘follow me.’ He went to all the places that others didn’t go, and he challenged the existing norms and did it in a peaceful, joyful and prayerful way. If you keep that in mind, you will be an outstanding leader in your school communities,” Mr Whitby said.

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Following Mr Whitby’s comments, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta encouraged the students to live in partnership with each other and with creation, echoing ideals held by Pope Francis.

“Each of you as young leaders and young Christians have to be exemplars of compassion, justice, truth and a sustainable way of life.”

“Our schools and you as leaders have to be the mouthpieces of the truth of God, and it’s not an easy task.

“My message to you is to be the servants and stewards of God’s world, instead of seeing yourselves as the centre of the universe. The biblical way or Christian way of seeing ourselves is that we are not set apart from creation, we are part of creation.

“Thank you for your leadership and your passion for justice and for a sustainable world. Let us go forward as messengers of God’s truth and His servants,” Bishop Vincent said.

Year 12 student leaders during LIFTED Leaders. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Students were then encouraged to share with the wider group new initiatives and goals set by the leadership teams for their schools in 2020.

LIFTED Leaders was organised by Catholic Youth Parramatta and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.

View images from LIFTED Leaders here or below.

2020 CYP LIFTED Leaders featuring Gen Bryant

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