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Next generation looks for Purpose

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A night of adoration and discussion for the Fidelis attendees. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
A night of adoration and discussion for the Fidelis attendees. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

In the church car park of St Joachim’s in Lidcombe, 200 young Catholics are bracing for a thunderstorm.

They’ve gathered for a night of adoration and discussion at Fidelis, a young adult event organised by the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation.

Amid the music and food and ice cream trucks, ominous storm clouds threaten to bring the successful night to a grinding halt. But these young people don’t seem fazed.

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Right now, in the company of similar aged young Catholics, they seem invincible.

“It’s good to know you are not alone. Being a young Catholic, you can often feel alone.

These nights are so important, to be able to meet other young Catholics and to be able to socialise and make connections, its empowering,” said Fidelis attendee, 20-year-old Natasha Nguyen.

“It’s a night where these young people don’t have to hide the fact that they’re Catholic,” said Catherine Phillps, an officer from Sydney Catholic Youth.

The hard truth is, that while they might feel strengthened tonight, for many, adhering to the fundamental truths of their faith often puts young Catholics at odds with an increasingly secular world.

“I feel there is a lot of confusion among young Catholics,” said Natasha.

“They’re confused about constantly battling the attacks from social media when they express their views on issues like gender ideology and abortion.

“Because of social media, our faith also becomes secondary to how we want to present our lives. For example, there are some young people who are pro-life privately but pro-choice publicly.” Milad Elisha, a young adult also in attendance chimes in.

Young attendees are promised a powerful encounter with Christ and his church through liturgy and sacraments, keynote presentations, workshops, music and opportunities to connect with many different Catholic orders, agencies and apostolates. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Young attendees are promised a powerful encounter with Christ and his church through liturgy and sacraments, keynote presentations, workshops, music and opportunities to connect with many different Catholic orders, agencies and apostolates. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“How can we respond to these issues regarding sex and regarding bioethics and stay true to our faith, without any fear of persecution or being demonised?” he asks.

“I’m just simply confused. There’s no purpose. Ironically, Purpose Conference will provide a sense of purpose. That there is an objective truth. It’s just a matter of saying yes and just answering the door.”

The Sydney Centre for Evangelisation and the Sydney Catholic Youth team are hoping many of its young people will answer that door for the inaugural Purpose Conference Archdiocesan Youth Conference starting on 7 December and finishing 8 December.

“We’re really excited to bring Purpose Conference to our young adults and feed them some substantial nourishing information so that they can go and tackle this world and be a witness to Christ and all his teachings,” says Catherine from Sydney Catholic Youth.

Young attendees are promised a powerful encounter with Christ and his church through liturgy and sacraments, keynote presentations, workshops, music and opportunities to connect with many different Catholic orders, agencies and apostolates.

Leading the buzz is the announcement of the two speakers at the conference: two of the most prominent voices on the Catholic landscape: Pints with Aquinas podcaster Matt Fradd and Theology of the Body speaker Jason Evert.

The pair are teaming up to deliver talks at Rosebank College on 7 and 8 December.
On 6 December, Mr Fradd will present talks in the morning for a female audience and for a male audience in the evening.

“It’s so exciting that [Matt Fradd] is going to be coming here to Sydney and I don’t need to travel all the way to Lisbon or the States for that. It’s really a really rare opportunity,” Natasha said.

She hopes the fundamental Catholic truths presented by Fradd and Evert will help sharpen her faith as a Catholic adult.

“This is a great opportunity for us to grow our faith and to have our questions answered by these amazing speakers. It is just truly a blessing. And I’m so excited for it,” she says.

Purpose Conference runs from 7-8 December 2023. For more information and to register go to https://sydneycatholicyouth.org/purpose-conference/

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