Posted by Br Gary Wilson FSC
on 26 November 2020
"Spread the word" is hardly necessary for youth today, with social media. The Young Lasallians team plugs in to young people's world with their tailored retreat experiences. Five members of Sebastian, Damian, Lydia, Maddy and Br. Arian conducted a full-day retreat for St. Andrew's College Marayong recently. Involving 185 Year 9 students might seem a big challenge, but it is just one of 70 plus retreats which the Team conducts each year.
What was satisfying for the Team on this occasion was the way the students became more confident, diving into the activities with creativity and some excitement. It was an opportunity to explore their own selves, and to provide some tools and skills to carry on beyond the retreat. Good Christian spirituality usually tries to depth the Self in the broader avenue of developing the inner life and one's spiritual relationships. Elements of prayer were broached "through story and lived experience", as Sebastian, Young Lasallians Coordinator, explains. "People's lived experience through different media or Scripture or set prayers are standard approaches. The retreat leaders classically love the challenge to mould a set of experiences within a program, to any audience of school students or young adults".
A key Lasallian value operating in the Team is that of inclusivity, as befits a Catholic (i.e. universal) spirituality that promotes freedom and openness. Relationships and developing "positive connections" both with the lead ministers and in the spiritual search generally, is seen as distinctive. "The aim is to attract quite religiously attuned youth, as well as those who come from different faith backgrounds, or none" says Sebastian. The process builds community in all its varied expressions it is affirming and contemporary.
The Young Lasallians Team, based at Bankstown, are fielding more requests in recent years. As well as facilitating retreats and reflection experiences, it inducts and accompanies up to 25 part-time Youth Ministers in Lasallian schools. A third arm of its role is acting in consultation capacities with schools and agencies. This has led to expansion of the Team to five members in 2020 young adult ministers serving youth with creativity and commitment.
For more information: Sebastian Duhau, Young Lasallians Coordinator, Lasallian Mission Services +61 2 9795 6456