Lifted Leaders inspired to be more


The inaugural LIFTED Leaders gathering was held at Rooty Hill RSL this year
The inaugural LIFTED Leaders gathering was held at Rooty Hill RSL this year

“Aspire not to have more, aspire to be more.” – Oscar Romero

Up to 147 Year 12 Catholic College student leaders from the Diocese of Parramatta converged on Rooty Hill RSL for the inaugural inspiring LIFTED Leaders event.

LIFTED Leaders gathers Year 12 secondary students at the start of each year for input and inspiration from Bishop Vincent Long, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta leaders, Catholic Youth Parramatta and a special guest.

Catholic Youth Parramatta Director James Camden said this event has been four years in the making and gathers Year 12 students and offers them an opportunity to connect with other young people from across the Diocese and share some of their team goals and strategies from their respective schools.

Catholic Education CEO Greg Whitby described the event as a ‘listening assembly’ for the teachers and directors.

“This is an opportunity for the students to express their thoughts on Catholic Education in a very dynamic environment,” Mr Whitby said.

Student leaders from Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Parramatta get into the LIFTED Leaders gathering

Special guest was Father Rob Galea who connected with the young leaders straight away with his contemporary music and easy going conversation centred around his experience growing up in Malta as a troubled teenager.

Bishop Vincent Long talked to the young leaders in a reassuring way saying he would like the church to be an inclusive experience, “a place where it does not matter where you are, no matter where you come from, no matter whether you are straight or gay, rich or poor, there is a place for you in the church”.

“This is a chance for us to engage in some deep listening and respectful dialogue.

“We can go back to the gospel together. We can journey toward a church we desire for,” Bishop Vincent said.

The young leaders engaged in several team discussions centred around: creating a greater sense of Diocesan identity, feeling connected and supported by their peers, feeling inspired and motivated for success and getting a sense of engagement which will take them beyond the school community.

Making new friends and sharing was what it was all about for Marion College Year 12 student Jacquelyn Valensise and St Patrick’s Marist, Dundas Year 12 student Rebecca Ozer
Making new friends and sharing was what it was all about for Marion College Year 12 student Jacquelyn Valensise and St Patrick’s Marist, Dundas Year 12 student Rebecca Ozer

They were also able to identify clearly about what makes their school noticeably catholic and Marion College Year 12 student Jacquelyn Valensise said her school is very involved with fundraising and giving back to the community.

While St Patricks Marist Year 12 student Rebecca Ozer said it is the fact the school connects them to their faith by saying the Angelus prayer at noon everyday and attending school mass.

Parramatta Marist Year 12 students Marco Manalang and Philo Farid said they have a very big focus on Mary and Christ, plus they are blessed to have had Brother Patrick be at the school for more than 15 years.

Proud of their catholic education Parramatta Marist Year 12 students Marco Manalang and Philo Farid
Proud of their catholic education Parramatta Marist Year 12 students Marco Manalang and Philo Farid

“We are very much encouraged to be willing to take on the challenges of the world in the same way Jesus did,” Marco said.

Fr Galea ended the gathering with three points for the students to think about.

“Lets get rid of the ‘big buts’ in our lives by finding our centre of gravity, getting down and not being afraid of failure; and getting up and not being afraid to do it scared,” Fr Galea said.

Special guest Fr Rob Galea performs at the LIFTED Leaders gathering
Special guest Fr Rob Galea performs at the LIFTED Leaders gathering

The next big event on the Catholic Youth Parramatta calendar is the Good Friday Night Walk on Friday, March 30 from 10pm-7am from the Blacktown Parish to the Parramatta Cathedral Parish. More details check out Catholic Youth Parramatta on Facebook.