BRISBANE played host last week to 200 youth, leaders and De La Salle Brothers from around the world committed to the La Sallian tradition started by St John Baptiste de La Salle.
Young Lasallians and leaders from the United States, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and around Australia met from July 7-11 for the biennial Lasallian Youth Gathering, held in Brisbane for the first time.
Students and staff at the gathering represented 27 Lasallian schools from their Oceania and North America regions.
Newly elected De La Salle Brothers superior general Br Robert Schieler, based in Rome, also attended the gathering.
Social studies department chair Gerald Miller came with 12 students from La Salle Catholic College in Philadelphia, travelling more 15,000km to attend.
The school chose to send their students to Brisbane as part of their summer service programs.
“To bring a whole group of Americans here and see the same hope we have is the same hope you have, is a very rewarding experience for myself,” Mr Miller said.
Queensland’s only Lasallian-affiliated school, Southern Cross Catholic College in Scarborough, hosted the Brisbane event.
All young Lasallians visited SCCC for the closing Mass celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge on July 10.
Southern Cross Catholic College minister Phil McGreevy said the gathering had truly turned into an anticipated international event.
“Lasallian Youth have come from all parts of the world to further develop their knowledge and appreciation of Lasallian values, especially faith, service and community,” he said
“At a gathering such as this our youth come together as individuals from different states and countries, but united by their Lasallian mission,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge said the Church and Catholic schools were a place of hope and help, noting that when they ceased to be this way “we are in trouble”.
He challenged the youth to be hope for the hopeless and help for the helpless.
Former Lasallian Youth Ministry director James Camden, who earlier last month took a new role as co-ordinator for Catholic Youth Parramatta, said the gathering equipped young people into being more responsible for the Lasallian mission.
“The Brothers are starting to take a bit of a step back and are letting young people take up leadership positions in the institute,” Mr Camden said.
He said it was the first time in 10 years’ worth of gatherings that young people were excited and moved by a pope.
“There’s been a lot of reference to Pope Francis this year, which has been an interesting concept,” Mr Camden said.
“I’ve been part of five (gatherings) over the last 10 years and for the first time, a pope is really coming up as someone they want to talk about, quote and use as an example.
“A lot of these kids are un-Churched, although they’re connected to a charism and a mission, but are still hearing of this guy, Pope Francis, and what he’s saying.
“That’s a really exciting chapter in the Church at the moment. It’s a good sign of hope for the Church.”
Philippe Dulawan, of Sydney, will now take on Mr Camden’s former role as the new co-ordinator of Lasallian Youth Ministry.
Charity organisation BoysTown, founded by the Queensland De La Salle Brothers in 1961, opened the young Lasallians to their Logan office for an afternoon outreach program midway through the gathering.
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4. About 200 people, including Lasallian youth, leaders and Brothers, united in Brisbane for the biennial youth gathering.
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