By Emilie Ng
CATHOLIC leaders from around Australia will congregate in Melbourne this coming August with the hope “to bring the light of Christ into Australian society”.
The John Paul II Australian Leaders Forum, founded by an independent group of lay Catholics, will bring together Catholic lay leaders and religious who inspire Catholic action in the world from August 1 to 3.
Acclaimed speaker Dr Helen Alvaré of George Mason University School of Law will give the keynote address.
Former Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer and the 2013 Australian Winemaker of the Year Tim Kirk will also speak at the conference.
Forum’s Executive Committee chairmam and Brisbane-based businessman James Power said the forum targeted “leaders actively engaged in the world and in the name of Christ”.
The forum’s patron, the soon-to-be canonised Blessed Pope John Paul II, was a man who preached a message of hope and truth.
In an address to diplomatic corps on January 10 2002, Pope John Paul II said, “Darkness can only be scattered by light”.
Mr Power said this quote from Pope John Paul II was the driving vision behind the forum.
Representing Queensland as guest speakers at the Forum are founding Frassati Australia member David Powick, former NET Ministries director and founding partner Shanelle Bennett and Emily’s Voice chief executive officer Paul O’Rourke.
As a young leader, Mr Powick said he was grateful for the opportunity to speak at the forum.
Mr Powick will be on a panel of speakers identified as entrepreneurs in the faith, or those who have applied “dynamic action in the modern world”.
He said his journey to becoming an entrepreneur in faith began at the confessional and “being faced with the reality of life and having to make a decision”.
“As soon as I made a decision, God put me on an amazing journey to where I am now,” he said.
The journey has so far led him to his role in Frassati Australia, a ministry for young men, and to speak at the forum.
“When you know what the Church has to offer and how good it is, you can’t help but share it with enthusiasm,” he said.
“Each of the people speaking at the event, I think God’s placed a particular calling on their heart to do something in areas of ministry.
“It’s fantastic for us and for the rest of the country.”
Early bird registrations are open until May 9. For more information, visit www.jp2alf.org.au