Retreats at Nagle College & Patrician Boys College, Blacktown, Sydney
St Patrick’s Parish Blacktown, in Sydney’s outer west has two Colleges, Nagle College commenced by the Lismore Presentation Sisters and the Patrician Boys College. The Parish Priest, Fr Peter Confeggi, reflected in the Parish Bulletin about the Senior students on Retreat from Nagle College.
Fr Peter writes;
“In recent days Fr Christopher and I spent time with the Nagle College Yr Eleven Retreat. In coming days, we clergy will do the same with the year eleven retreat for Patrician Brothers. In previous years I have dropped in to celebrate Eucharist with these retreat groups – a “fly in fly out” presence – however, given the emphasis on youth in the emerging pastoral plan, we made a commitment to be involved for the full three days.
The Nagle retreat, which was beautifully prepared and led by the teachers, drew on the spirituality of Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters and focused on the theme of courage. These young women, as with the year eleven men from Patrician Brothers, will be leaders in their school communities in 2014. In the retreat there was a strong sense of preparing young women, not only for leadership of a school community in 2014 but for leadership in the civic and church communities well beyond school.”
Sandwiched between the Nagle and Patrician retreats there is another gathering of youth which will attract more attention. World Youth Day, the intuitive gathering of Bl. John Paul II has now been thoroughly institutionalised. Initially a simple gathering, under Pope Benedict the scholar and teacher, it became a time for catechises. As Pope Francis arrives amid Brazil’s winter of discontent the question is whether Brazil’s discontented masses will see the government-subsidised Catholic event as part of the problem, or Pope Francis as an icon of the solution. I imagine that WYD under Pope Francis, will bring a strong encouragement for young people to get their hands dirty in the service of the poor.
Across the Diocese of Parramatta there are youth groups of all shapes and sizes, spiritual emphasis and social engagement. Although they often have a short life-span, they can provide a valuable bridge between school and adult life in the Church community. However, in schools like our own Nagle and Patrician Colleges, we have intensive youth groups and programs of leadership. With 83 schools across the diocese and 24 of them being secondary schools with 20,497 students, our Catholic Education system is our greatest tool for the evangelisation of young people, particularly in years eleven and twelve where there is a more intense focus of leadership.
While WYD will capture the media this weekend and 250 young people from Parramatta will be there, we have many more in our 24 secondary schools across the diocese. There we have week by week the best tool for the evangelisation of youth. Faith-filled, dedicated and creative teachers like the ones I find in Nagle and Patrician Colleges, lead some of our best youth groups and schools of evangelisation week after week.”
Fr Peter Confeggi
St Patrick’s Parish Blacktown