From this month, girls aged from 10 to 15 years will have their own meeting place, where faith is further encouraged along with values associated with living a Christ-centred life.
The idea to bring “Challenge” to Brisbane began with Brisbane South Deanery youth co-ordinator Kristen Roe (featured in The Catholic Leader last year).
Kristen had met Regnum Christi’s Rosemary Streckfuss, of Melbourne.
Together, the duo and a group of Sunnybank youth organised and held Brisbane archdiocese’s first fashion experience to encourage appropriate dressing in young people.
An off-shoot of the fashion experience is on-going faith and formation under the Challenge (for girls) and Conquest (for boys) banner.
Challenge’s “mission” is “to enable girls to give their best to others so that Christian culture will prevail in the heart of each person and in every society”.
Their strategy is to train them “to serve as role models for their peers” supporting “spiritual, intellectual and apostolic talents”.
Last month Kristen and three other youth leaders – Jessica Aravena, Eloise Giraud and Bernadette Tomlin – took two Sunnybank and two Wishart girls to Melbourne for the 2009 Challenge Convention held in Lysterfield.
These younger participants were Alessandra Roe and Katie Barrett, both 13, from Sunnybank, and Katherine Hickey, 12, and Dana McDonall, 11, of Wishart.
Kristen said the main purpose of heading down south was to further “catch the vision” of bringing Challenge to Brisbane and allow the four friends to “share faith with girls who have a common interest”.
“It was amazing to see all the girls grow in faith,” she said of the January 17-21 live-in experience.
“We stayed on a farm … there was Mass every day and a program supporting the mission of Challenge.”
The larger group consisted of local girls and others from Sydney and Adelaide, all desiring to take Challenge to their own parishes and deaneries.
Kristen said the leaders present were given assistance with setting up the initiative including sessions about “the psychology of adolescent girls”.
Meantime the other (younger) participants forged friendships they were reluctant to leave after just a few days, and enjoyed daily Mass and other powerful prayer experiences.
They were given a prayer journal and encouraged to pray morning and night, including offerings such as the Angelus, the Rosary and the Memorare.
“It was amazing to see the girls go, for example, on their own accord and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament … to see the change in them from the beginning of the week,” Kristen said.
“They learnt a lot about the Catholic faith … and they all went to Confession, some hadn’t been for a while. This was a huge step.
“The Brisbane girls really caught the vision … they said, ‘Yes, let’s do this at home’.”
The Challenge convention talks were given by consecrated members of Regnum Christi and this year’s was the fourth annual event of its kind.
Kristen said Challenge and Conquest were ideal opportunities for girls and boys in the post-sacramental stage.
“Often girls and boys celebrate First Holy Communion and there’s a large gap between then and when they are old enough to join a youth group,” she said.
“Offering Challenge to 10 to 15-year-olds will help bridge that gap.”
Brisbane South Deanery will first offer Challenge and are in the planning stage of spearheading Conquest.
An information session for parents will be given on February 26 in Wishart parish with girls also welcome.
After this month Challenge will meet fortnightly in Brisbane South Deanery and will focus on Gospel reflections and presentations supporting their mission.
Other ideas include a “mother-daughter” morning tea, trips to the beach and ice-skating.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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