STUDENTS from Marist schools in Brisbane and northern New South Wales recently gathered near Toowoomba exploring faith and spirituality.
The Year 11 Marist Forum is one of four annual school-based gatherings hosted by the Vocations and Marist Life Team of the Marist Brothers’ Sydney province.
Four schools were part of this experience including Marist College Ashgrove; Mt Maria College, Mitchelton; Trinity College, Lismore; and St Mary’s High School, Casino.
Young Marists in Brisbane co-ordinator Christian Nobleza and Sydney co-ordinator Julie Sligar facilitated the weekend.
Christian said the forum focused on “promoting vocational awareness, challenging the students to think about who they are and where they are heading in life”.
“With the Year Elevens each year we seek to provide an experience which will help them think about the choices that they make and the impact of those choices in their lives,” he said.
“We do this through a series of presentations, guest speakers, creative liturgies and small-group discussions.”
Throughout the weekend the students were “challenged and inspired” by a number of keynote speakers including promotions officer with Brisbane archdiocese’s Vocations Office Mark Lysaght, 96.5FM announcer Scott McDonald and a former Marist “immersion” participant Amelia Peagam, from Gladstone.
“Bishop Bill Morris of Toowoomba was another invited guest who celebrated Mass with us and stayed on to be part of a panel discussion which was a particular highlight of the weekend,” Christian said.
Bishop Morris was joined by others on the panel including Marist Brother Mark Fordyce, Canossian Sister Rosa Covina and newly married couple Sarah and Nat Hutton.
“The five of them each shared with the students how they came to choose their particular vocation or in some cases how their vocation chose them,” Christian said.
“Many of the students commented on how inspiring it was to hear real and authentic stories about how those on the panel struggled with their decisions in life at times and in doing so (they) provided great insights into religious, ordained, and married life.
“With the number of events our team hosts each year we are really beginning to see a difference in the way that students are able to articulate their faith and hopes with more clarity.”
The Vocations and Marist Life team is preparing for a Year 12 reunion next month at the Lavalla Centre, Brisbane, to bring together many participants from the student leaders’ gathering held in February and the Year 12 Marist Forum held in July.
“My hope is that many of these students will remain connected with the Marist family after finishing school, and part of my role is to ensure that there are opportunities for that to happen,” Christian said.
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