Do not say 'I am only a boy': Jeremiah 1:4-10
A scripture passage from the book of Jeremiah and the question “What is the Spirit saying to you as a young person in our world today?” were the focus of the recent diocesan Year 12 gatherings with Bishop Brian Mascord.
Over three days, Bishop Brian visited six Catholic secondary schools throughout the diocese, spending time in conversation with more than 1,000 Year 12 students. The days provided opportunities for students to share their hopes, challenges and ask questions.
The gatherings began with Year 12 student leaders joining Bishop Brian, Peter Hill, Director of Schools, members of the Catholic Education Office Leadership Team, and school leaders in prayer, which focused on a scripture passage: Jeremiah’s Call and Commissioning. Students were then invited to reflect on the message in the scripture, before being joined by the rest of their Year 12 cohort.
Having the opportunity to speak with and hear what the students had to say gave Bishop Brian a great deal of gratitude and joy.
“Days like today give me the opportunity to meet up with Year 12 and speak about who I am as their bishop, hear what the students have to say, and pray with them. I hope they get a sense that I’m with them, and as the leader of the diocese, that I understand where they’re at, what’s happening for them, and how I can just be with them in these simple moments” - Bishop Brian Mascord
Click here to view Bishop’s Brian’s video reflection of the day
The students appreciated the opportunity to spend time with Bishop Brian, hear about his life, and get to know him as a person.
For Noah Lepre and Paris Abela, Year 12 captains at St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Albion Park, their time with Bishop Brian gave them a sense of reassurance about life after secondary school, as well as a new perspective on being a leader in a community.
“It’s really important that the bishop of our diocese comes into our schools and shows us he’s there for us,” said Paris. “Bishop Brian is showing us he wants our opinions and is sharing his beliefs with us. We’re in Year 12 and as we go on to university, he has brought us reassurance that we can take our Christian values with us into everyday life.”
“He gave me a new perspective, I was able to see from a bishop’s point of view, the importance of having a sense of family and living in a community, and how to support them both through tough times,” said Noah. “As a school captain, it’s the same responsibility for me. My school is my family and I really want to take care of and nurture my family, even through tough times.”
Click here to view Paris and Noah’s video reflection of the day
Both Lily King and Harvey Jakubiw, Year 12 captains from Holy Spirit College, Bellambi, were grateful for the opportunity to connect with Bishop Brian and reflect on the message of God’s love and support in the scripture passage.
“It was good to see Bishop Brian as a real person rather than just a figurehead, and hear that he goes through similar struggles that we do in everyday life,” said Lily.
“I really liked the phrase in the Jeremiah passage, ‘Don’t say I’m only a child’,” said Harvey. For me, it’s about how sometimes in life we find excuses for why we can’t accomplish our dreams. It recognises that there’s nothing holding us back and that God’s on our side.”
Click here to view Lily and Harvey’s video reflection of the day
Matthew Coller, a student from Corpus Christi, Oak Flats, said the day was an opportunity to learn about what Bishop Brian did in his role.
“It was interesting to hear Bishop Brian go into depth about what he does in his job and how the Catholic church has an influence on our education,” he said.
Click here to view Matthew’s video reflection of the day
The Year 12 student gatherings brought a sense of inspiration and were a reminder of the importance of being bearers of Christ’s love to others for St Benedict’s Catholic College, Oran Park, school captains, Amelia Kubecka and Kai Straub.
“Bishop Brian touched on the Benedictine value of ‘Listening with the ear of your heart’,” said Kai. “We’re reminded that through our actions we’re inspiring and helping others while understanding their situation and how we can best adapt to support them.”
“We were inspired to extend an invitation to people of our own age to be in a relationship with God,” said Amelia. “As bearers of God’s love, it’s our responsibility to ensure that everyone feels they have a place within the Church even if they may not be ready for it.”
Click here to view Amelia and Kai’s video reflection of the day
We thank Bishop Brian for taking the time to meet with the students and wish all Year 12 students the best of luck for the remainder of their secondary schooling and upcoming HSC exams.
The Year 12 gatherings with the Bishop mentioned in this article were held before the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place across NSW. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the student gatherings at Magdalene Catholic College, Narellan and John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow were postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.