Making Disciples in O-Week

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A long of students queuing up to join Sydney University Catholic Society during Orientation Week. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Free kebabs and the daily Mass times drew hundreds of students to the stalls run by Catholic societies at the city’s secular universities during O-Week, the traditional introduction to campus life before classes begin.

Sydney University Catholic Society president Elio Haddad said long queues formed at its stall with more than 100 people signing up to the society in three days.

“It’s exciting to see the campus packed again and a reminder that what we are actually doing in the society involves being with people,” he said.

Common questions included the weekday Mass options on campus and activities planned for Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, he said.

Students socialising at the Sydney University Catholic Society stall at Orientation Week. Photo: Alphonsus Fok.

University chaplaincy coordinator Tony Mattar works closely with the Catholic societies at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney and the University of NSW.

He said that two years of restrictions and lockdowns have sharpened a thirst for spirituality in young people.

“A lot of students are actively seeking out the Catholic societies to sign up, which is something we haven’t seen in the past.

“Many of them are non-Christians who tell us they were searching online during lockdown for spiritual support and are now eager to learn more about the Catholic faith.”