A youth event like no other
By Matthew Biddle
ABOUT 100 youth from near and far attended the recent ‘Explosion’ conference held at St Francis Xavier College in Florey.
The three-day conference, which has been run as a joint venture between the Disciples of Jesus community and the Archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults since 2013, included talks on social justice, sexuality, suffering and the importance of Scripture.
Between talks and seminars, participants enjoyed sports, live music, games and other activities, giving them the chance to build friendships within the large group.
Archdiocesan coordinator for youth and young adults Stuart West said the number of participants at the conference was the largest in recent memory.
He said representatives from right around the Archdiocese were present for the event, with some even travelling from Sydney and Albury to attend.
“Seeing the young people engaging with the questions they face and being able to have a safe place where they could ask those questions and come to God to have them answered was a real highlight,” Mr West said.
About 60 parents of participants attended the final Mass of the conference, celebrated by Archbishop Christopher Prowse, which was a highlight for many participants, Mr West said.
Fr Dave Callaghan MGL said the ‘Explosion’ conference is based upon an approach that is significantly different to most other Catholic youth events.
“We need to start with the questions that the young people already have rather than telling them the answers that we think they need,” he said.
“Young people live in a world filled with doubt, and so we always begin the conference by giving them permission to question their faith and go on a journey of searching for the truth. Some people find this confronting, but we find that it helps them engage with the seminars and talks in a whole new way.”
Mr West said he was extremely grateful for the team of dedicated volunteers who made the event possible.
“We had about 40 leaders coming together to help run the event… which included lots of youth leaders, people from the Archdiocesan youth office, people from the Disciples of Jesus community, the National Evangelisation Team, the Youth Mission Team from Sydney, and some parents,” he said.
“We’re also very grateful to St Francis Xavier College who support the event by letting us use the school as a venue.”