“MAYBE it’s a Facechurch we need?” Brisbane archdiocese’s vocations direct-or Fr Morgan Batt put to those at Fuel on the Hill last Sunday at Stuartholme School, Toowong.
The Brisbane WYD11 event, organised by Emmanuel Youth Outreach (EYO), saw youthful crowds gather throughout the afternoon and evening for catechesis, the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, Mass and on-going faith expression.
Fr Batt was challenging those present to engage with others who were distanced from the Church, saying that, while Jesus Christ “isn’t on (the social media Internet site known as) Facebook”, his message was still relevant.
“Live in the light,” he said.
“Our land is built on Christian values that stem from the Gospels – values like the dignity of the person born and unborn, the dignity to have work, to live in peace (and) to family dignity.
“People would have us believe that Australia is not a Christian land and that God has been eclipsed by the secular … (but) the Gospel has been deeply planted on this land.”
Fr Batt presented World Youth Day themes and more challenges in light of them.
“The theme of World Youth Day is taken from St Paul’s Letter to the Colossians (2:7) … ‘Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith’,” he said.
“Paul is encouraging his readers to be determined believers in Jesus Christ (and) this is the context of the Fuel on the Hill catechesis – (to) be determined in the faith that you have inherited and make this the sure foundation of your life – planted, built and firm in Christ.
“Planted in Jesus Christ we can move mountains – are you planted?
“Built on Jesus Christ we can be a rock for the struggling world – are you built up?
“(And) firm in the faith can we give hope to a seemingly hopeless world – are you firm in faith?”
The moving response to Fr Batt’s questions was visible in the young people gathered, as he further encouraged them to be wary of modern-day pressures and influences.
He encouraged them to seek “relationships deeply planted in truth and solidarity” and to remember the gift of Baptism and membership in the Church.
“We have hope for we have been planted in Christ,” Fr Batt said.
“… (From being) washed deep into the being of Christ through our parents’ generous gift to have us baptised or the acceptance one makes later on in life to find themselves incorporated into Christ through the Church.
“The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear his ‘imprint’.” In living “this Gospel life”, Fr Batt said to “nourish it and let it flourish”.
“I urge you to be consubstantial with the land, your neighbour, yourself and with the mighty tree God,” he said.
“We cannot deny the treasure of our faith.”
Fr Batt said he joined Facebook recently and made a connection.
“I went searching to see if I could find Jesus and he was not my friend,” he said.
“So I created Jesus mate Facebook page.
“Jesus is not a friend in that sense and the danger is that because we cannot see and touch him on Facebook he therefore can be seen to be not part of our sphere of relationships and influence.
“(But) he is in the men and women that reach out in authentic witness to the life of Christ.”
And in being a “Facechurch” for others, Fr Batt said we can “walk with unsure brothers and sisters”.
“Make hospitality and welcoming people into the body of Christ part of your everyday ministry of life,” he said.
“Enter into a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ and cultivate it in faith.
“Get to know him better by reading the Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Converse with him in prayer and place your trust in him … you will come to know God and to live authentically in union with him.
“… You, my brothers and sisters, are the human face of the Church in our world.”
Fr Batt celebrated at the Fuel on the Hill Mass and was joined by Burpengary parish priest Oblate Father Paul Smithers and Fr Paul Catchlove, with other clergy attending the event throughout the afternoon to offer the Sacrament of Penance.
“Filled to capacity” afternoon workshops focused on the Eucharist, sexuality, music and culture, and evangelisation.
Organiser from EYO Luke Plant said the Mass, with more than 500 people including 60 boarders of Stuartholme School, “was the largest event of the day”.
“It was a powerful celebration of our faith, and the response of the young people to the Eucharist and the music was electrifying,” he said.
Worshippers along with the 250 attendees earlier in the day were able to connect with what was happening in Madrid via a video feed from Emmanuel Community’s pilgrimage group.
Youth groups and individuals from Brisbane archdiocese came from Gympie, Nambour, Beenleigh, Kedron, Redcliffe, Sunnybank, Darra-Jindalee, Aspley, Carina, Albany Creek, Sunnybank, Banyo-Nundah and the Gold Coast.
Not allowing the wet weather to dampen spirits, Fuel on the Hill also drew young people from as far as Toowoomba, Gladstone and Casino.
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