ALMOST 30 Year 12 students from Marist schools of Queensland and northern New South Wales gathered in Toowoomba from April 16-18.
“(They came) to share and celebrate their faith and spirituality as well as their common identity as Young Marists,” co-ordinator for the Young Marists in Brisbane Christian Nobleza said.
Christian and Vocations and Marist Life director for the Sydney province Br Tony Leon facilitated the weekend.
With a focus on “vocation and call” they welcomed students and staff from Mt Maria College, Mitchelton; Marist College, Ashgrove; Trinity College, Beenleigh; Trinity College, Lismore; and Chanel College, Gladstone.
“Our team decided that this year a focus on vocation and calling would be more appropriate (than looking at social justice issues) to where the students are in life,” Christian said.
“The weekend centred around the question, ‘Who do you say I am?’
“The students were challenged in their attitudes and thinking towards where they’re heading in life and who they want to be … (with) strategies of making a difference in the world in practical and concrete ways.”
One of the major features of the Year 12 weekend was the creation of a mandala of coloured rice. The students were encouraged to “think about their own gifts and talents that they offer the world and to capture this in a symbol”.
“The result was a beautiful work of art that amounted to nearly 48 hours of work,” Christian said.
“(And) the conclusion of the weekend the mandala was destroyed and was then mixed into one pile of colour and students were each given a bottle of the rice to remember the sharing of the their stories with each other.”
Keynote speakers included one of the youngest professed brothers in the province Br Justin Golding, who is a teacher at Trinity College, Lismore.
Fr Hal Ranger, from St Joseph’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, shared of his vocation story while married couple David and Julie L’Estrange spoke of theirs.
Vocations promotions officer for Brisbane archdiocese Mark Lysaght also attended.
“I believe (the weekend) affirmed in the participating students their sense of calling in life,” Christian said.
“It was simply a humbling experience to have witnessed a group of amazing young people who were unafraid to authentically wrestle with questions of vocation and who, for some, were able to articulate their sense of spirituality in a meaningful and live-giving way for the first time.”
The Year 12 Marist forum is one of four major student gatherings held for students throughout the Marist Brothers’ Sydney province.
The other gatherings include the Year 11 Marist forum, the annual Marist student leaders’ gathering (held at Marist Ashgrove earlier this year), as well as a Year 12 reunion scheduled for October.
Gatherings are held in both Queensland and NSW.
The Vocations and Marist Life team is preparing for the Year 11 forum to be held in August, and there are a number of retreats for post-school students being offered throughout the year as well.
Contact Christian for more information on 0401 017 144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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