The Year of Youth invites the church into dialogue about the importance and life-giving presence of young people, the Church and society. It calls for dialogue and active engagement focused on the reconnection and renewal of a new generation of young people in the life of the Church. Our College Captains, Matilda Bourke and Jamisyn Chapman are among 80 students from Josephite schools in Australia and New Zealand who are gathered at the annual JJAMM (Joseph, Julian and Mary MacKillop) student leadership conference.
I was privileged to join them for their Commissioning during Mass at the Chapel, MacKillop Place, Sydney. During their time at the conference, all of the leaders are being called to renew the connections young people have with the Church through Mary's vision and through service by walking in Mary's footsteps.
The girls, accompanied by Ms Carly Richardson, have also visited Kincumber, north of Gosford, where Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph established in 1887 a home for boys. It was here that the boys learnt the skills necessary for living and working in the country. Since 1966 the site has been used for retreats and conferences. I am very grateful to Ms Richardson for giving generously of her time to be with the girls during the five-day conference. Her support of the College and the conference enables our girls to access this memorable opportunity.
Our connection to Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Josephite is fundamental to our ethos and core to the principles and values we imbue. On Thursday our student leaders visited the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart Convent with a gift of flowers, as the Sisters had not been able to join us for our Opening Mass and had the occasion to speak with a number of Sisters who were present at the time.