Posted by Julia Goonan
on 26 April 2019
Four days of 250 young Lasallians chanting, uniting and learning as one is a rare occasion that will never be forgotten. The Tercentenary year was a huge celebration for the Lasallian community. Students travelled from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and for the first time, Samoa. The weekend began with learning the Tercentenary song. Incredible work of Youth Ministers allowed the students to be in a safe space, open to sharing and supporting one another. No student went unnoticed or unappreciated. There were endless opportunities to have conversations based on more than general facts about someone, but thoughts on the difference they can make in their Lasallian schools. Whilst sharing meals there were rules established of 'no phones at the table' and 'don't overserve yourself' to ensure there was consideration of absolutely everyone even those that are less fortunate. St John Baptist de La Salle was the sole focus and inspiration for every workshop; from talks with Lana Turvey, Plenary 2020 facilitator, and yourtown CEO, Tracy Adams, any chance to give power to the young people in our community to evoke change was welcomed and anticipated with open arms.
Community was the heart of the Lasallian Youth Gathering; morning and evening prayers were run by the many different communities that came together. The first morning, students from De La Salle Mangere East in New Zealand performed an incredible opening prayer together, singing together and telling the story of St John Baptist de La Salle's Mission. A huge portion of LYG was small group sharing spaces. These gave students a chance to interact with other students that they wouldn't necessarily choose to talk to. They were given the opportunity to reflect, think about communities outside of their comfort zone and found initiatives they could possibly establish in their schools.
While the conference went for a very quick four days, the combination with the Asia-Pacific Lasallian Educators' Conference, occurring at the same time just a few blocks down the road, was a huge step in Lasallian history. For the first time, both the educators and those being educated came together to celebrate the life and legacy of St John Baptist de La Salle. The Lasallian Youth Gathering finished with a Liturgy together with the delegates at the Asia-Pacific Lasallian Educators' Conference, with smiling faces, and nothing but excitement for the next Gathering in the coming years.