By Sam Clear, Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation

I often ponder the relationships of saints – that St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua and St Dominic all knew each other, that St John Paul II, St Faustina and St Maximilian Kolbe were in the same area of Poland at the same time, that St Monica and St Augustine were mother and son, that Saints Louis and Zelie Martin were husband and wife and the parents of St Therese of Lisieux, and that St Ignatius Loyola and St Francis Xavier were roommates in college. It’s extraordinary to think that there very well could be the future saints of the Church living among us and weaving their lives with ours.

I recently participated in the four-day Brisbane and then Sydney Ignite Conferences where over 2000 youth attended in total. Twelve Tasmanian youth joined me in Sydney and I was pleased to see them throw themselves into the main rallies, be eager to attend various workshops and keynotes, and quickly build knew friendships. Within that Sydney crowd there were some familiar faces that some of our youth already knew and it was the sharing of their stories and the calling on of each other that really inspired me.

George Town local, Matilda Lenthall, is serving this year on the National Evangelisation Team in Christchurch, New Zealand, but had been flown to Sydney as a volunteer. She greeted her fellow Tasmanians with a massive smile and hugs, and spent the rest of the conference sharing with us her missionary adventures.

We also ran into Adele Hunter from Cygnet, who informed us (and is happy for you all to read here) that she has been accepted to join an order of sisters in Italy! You can imagine how excited the youth were to chat to Adele about that decision.

And then there were the Sydney locals – Seb, Lilly, Zinta, and Tony – who a few of us met last year at the conference. The four of them became friends with many in our group and to hear from their chaplain that Zinta and Tony, the two school captains at St Leo’s College, had shared their testimonies at the full school assembly (the first school captains to ever do such a thing) and that their friend Seb was now in the process of becoming Catholic was an incredible witness of joyful faith.

I’m excited at the quality of our youth emerging in the Church, but I’m even more excited and thankful to God when those youth get together, pray and call each other on, challenging one another to live more deeply within the church.

Tags: Bellerive-Lindisfarne, Bridgewater-Brighton, Burnie-Wynyard, Campbell Town, Central Tasmania, Circular Head, Claremont, Flinders Island, George Town, Glenorchy, Hobart, Huon Valley, King Island, Kings Meadows, Kingston-Channel, Launceston, Meander Valley, Mersey-Leven, Moonah-Lutana, Northern Deanery, Richmond, Sandy Bay, Scottsdale, South Hobart, Southern Deanery, St Mary's Cathedral, St Marys, West Coast, West Tamar, Youth Evangelisation