“ADVENTURE, danger and God” was the catch cry of the recent menALIVE “Xtreme” weekend experience at Emu Gully, near Toowoomba.
Described as an “intertwining of faith, learning and experience with leadership training and team challenges”, the early July weekend event attracted 22 young men.
“Whilst there is a place for retreats where people sit and listen to input we were looking for a way to engage the eighteen to thirty-year age bracket that would be appealing to attend and provide a place to develop their relationship with God,” said menALIVE team member Pater Gabauer.
“As men we often learn better through experience – often the lessons learnt through experience stay with us for a lifetime – you can read a book about fixing a car or you can show someone how.
“menALIVE Xtreme provides men with an experience that shows them their capacity, their need for others and the importance of having God as a central part of our lives.”
Peter said this age group was “thinly represented” in the Church and needed opportunities like the weekend in July to “re-engage”.
“The activities range from an all-night prayer vigil, Reconciliation and Mass to skirmish and team challenges,” he said.
“The all-night vigil is where groups of three are on ‘watch’ for one hour each throughout the night … This time is for praying for the men on the retreat as well as praying about one’s own calling.
“Young men need a challenge and keeping watch at 3am in winter provides that space with little distraction.
“The team challenges put the group under some pressure and develops their leadership and teamwork skills, which are essential for life as a Christian man.”
Associate pastor of the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane, Fr Paul Chandler, joined the young men in July, his presence Peter describing as “a blessing”.
“It was a good opportunity for the men on the weekend to have a priest as accessible as Fr Paul getting involved in the activities,” Peter said.