Monday, July 09, 2007

2028 Congress

Like I said the conference was just AWESOME! I don't have time to write anything myself right this very second BUT I thought I would put up an article by Br Barry Coldrey who went to the conference and his impressions. It's long I know but I think it gives you a good idea what it was like! (Thanks to Daniel Kenny for the Photo!!)

Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA)
Conference, Canberra, 6-8 July 2007
There are older Catholics concerned at the empty pews
they observe in many churches and the few younger
Catholics who appear to practice their faith. The
'corrosive message of the secular society and the
uncertain - lowest common denominator - focus of much
'Catholic' education have wrought havoc with Catholic
However, there was no sign of this numbing malaise at
the Abbey Function Centre, Gold Creek, on the edge of
Canberra on the weekend of 6-8 July. Three hundred
young men and women, from all states of Australia,
tertiary students and workers, gathered to pray,
inspire and celebrate their faith. They were cool and
confident, ardent and enthusiastic, untroubled by the
'a la Carte' belief patterns, agnostic prayer,
unorthodox liturgies and sterile, soft-Left political
correctness of so many 'Catholic' meetings and

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado, a
Capuchin friar, gave the keynote address: 'I am
neither liberal nor conservative' he said,'I am
Catholic. I teach the life and message of Jesus Christ
and His Church, full and entire.' The audience roared,
stomped and whistled approval. (They are young
At the Conference dinner in the Great Hall of
Parliament House, Senator Ron Boswell (National Party,
Queensland)represented Prime Minister, John Howard. He
remarked, inter alia, 'You are a minority among your
peers'. True! However, there were 350 young men and
women in the Great Hall, a large, far from cowed
minority.  Bishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. gave a dazzling
address and was given a long standing ovation by those
 It was the vitality, confidence and deep faith of the
young people,bursting with life and talent which
impressed the few 'oldies; present in support. The
young men and women worse jeans and casuals at the
Conference sessions, but they had 'scrubbed up well'
for the dinner! They were like the young people your
Dad always wanted you to be.
The Conference was organised by the ACSA executive
(2006/7) led by the sophisticated and articulate
President, Aaron Russell, a final year Engineering
student at the University of Adelaide. During the
Conference at the AGM, a new seven-person executive
was elected. Camillus O'Kane, a Town Planning student
at the University of New South Wales, is the new
President. He is supported by a strong team:
Vice-President, Nikolai Martinovic, an undergraduate
at Campion College; Secretary, Ruth Russell from South
Australia, Treasurer, Elise Nally, from Queensland, IT
Manager, Patrick Gian, from South Australia; Functions
Manager, Pat Langrelle from Sydney and Victorian
Representative, Claire Anthony who is Public Relations
Camillus has a broad vision for his Presidency
focussed on World Youth Day and the chances WYD opens
for the Australian Church. 'Our next Conference will
be held in Sydney, close to World Youth Day. We will
be looking for international 'Superstar' speakers to
fire the event. I want a close relationship with
Bishop Anthony Fisher who is head of the WYD Planning
Team. Overall, I hope to be a humble worker in
Christ's vineyard and a tower of strength to my
awesome team'
Twenty-one-year-old Camillus, has the drive and
intelligence to lead, as a personal Conference memory
might illustrate: on Saturday evening, we arrived in
the underground car park of Parliament House around
the same time. He had dropped off Cardinal Cassidy and
Archbishop Chaput at the front door. Camillus was
hurrying for pre-dinner drinks with the Bishops,
parliamentarians and other dignitaries, but he said:
'You're with me, Brother, and I'm President, stick
with me and no-one will say a word.' So I walked
beside Camillus into the Great Hall and sipped
champagne with the Bishops, parliamentarians and other
VIPs and no-one questioned by presence!
Conference organisation was sound, the AGM went
smoothly and the new ACSA is awesome. However, at the
Conference, prayer and liturgy had come first. The
event opened with Mass at the Changi Memorial Chapel
at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Archbishop
Max Davis, was principal celebrant. 'I've never had so
many young people in my church', he said.
On the Saturday, Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide led
five other Cardinals and bishops presiding at the
Eucharist in St Christopher's Cathedral, where
Archbishop Chaput preached the homily. Before the
Conference ended Sunday, the whole group was bussed to
John XXIII College Chapel at the National University
for a final Mass celebrated by Cardinal Edward Cassidy
while Bishop Geoff Jarrett of Lismore, preached. It
was a moving occasion.
At the Gold Creek Chapel throughout Friday
evening-Saturday morning, relays of young men and
women maintained constant prayer before the Blessed
Sacrament. When the writer arrived at 7 a.m. to
participate there were eleven young people praying in
silent adoration before their Risen Lord. It was a
good omen for the Conference.
At the working sessions, there was a fine array of
apeakers including Health Minister, Tony Abbott, who
spoke on 'Life and Death in 2028; Archbishop Chaput,
discussed the 'Church and the next Generation'; Rev.
Dr John Fleming, President of Campion College,
explored the 'Liberal Arts and Technical Training
while Archbishop Wilson looked at the media over the
next twenty years.
Sincere Catholic educators, exhausted 'in the
trenches' of the Catholic education system,
marginalised by feral careerists in the schools and
agnostic 'trendies' in the Catholic educational
bureaucracies, might wonder: 'Where did such
dedicated, intelligent, confident young Catholic
emerge? We have never seen them.'
The answer appears to be that they have been formed in
a delightful 'underworld' of vital new movements and
Congregations in the Church. Some are Home-schooled!
Others are attending Campion College. Some attended
Anglican, or other Christian schools and colleges.
Some attended elite Jesuit colleges where family
wealth and high social status gave them the personal
confidence to buck peer group pressure and the toxic,
anti-religious aggro around much of the Catholic
system.There are also the passionate members of Latin
Mass communities.
Family and group associations are common: there are
many family groups: the three O'Kane brothers, for
example, from Yarrawonga; the three Bielecki brothers
from St. Aloysius's Caulfield, Latin Mass community,
Brad and Tristan McLindon from Hamilton, James and
Clair Anthony from Hawthorn in Melbourne.
In addition, some Religious Congregations support
youth ministry. Young men and women from their circles
were present in numbers. Some are associated with
Disciples of Jesus Covenant Communities and the
Missionaries of God's Love; others with Franciscan
Capuching Youth Ministry. Altogether, they provided
the 300+ young men and women who made the 2007 ACSA
Conference so inspiring an experience.

1 comment:

Roman433 said...

More posts about the ACSA congress can be found on my blog,