What a week it has been for those of us immersed in the many ceremonies that make up our Holy Week. Just over a week ago, my family welcomed Rowan Samuel into the family of the Catholic Church at his Baptism. It was a lovely celebration with the priest being attentive to Rowan and sharing in the joy of this sacrament. As he offered Rowan the candle with the words, “Receive the light of Christ”, Rowan reached out with enthusiasm, bringing great joy to those gathered to celebrate. I hope he always walks as a child of the Light.
“Where are the young people?” This same question has been asked for generations and generations. The youth are around. Sure they may not all be in active ministry or bringing groups of friends to Sunday worship but they are there, in our pews with their families or sitting by themselves, in our schools, in our cafes making us coffee and stacking shelves at our supermarkets. They may not always be in the brick building that many of us consider our “Parish” but they are within our communities. I believe the question should be more along the lines of how are we as communities of faith encountering, engaging with, and encouraging active participation with our young people?
Transform us as you transfigured,
stood apart on Tabors’s height.
Lead us up our sacred mountains,
search us with revealing light.
Lift us from where we have fallen,
Full of questions, filled with fright.
These are the words of a hymn which we sang at our Cathedral this weekend, for the Second Sunday of Lent. The words were written by David Haas in his Song of the Transfiguration.
In 2007 the Catholic Bishops of NSW and the ACT released a Pastoral Letter titled Catholic Schools at a Crossroads where they stated, “the Catholic school system is one of “the jewels in the crown” of the Catholic community in our region, with few parallels overseas”. Twelve years on this Pastoral Letter still defines and guides our Catholic schools today.