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Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, centre, with World Youth Day pilgrims who became Year 12 student leaders in February (Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese/Supplied)

Hundreds of young people across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have been inspired to walk together on the journey of faith and to find joy in being a Catholic. Source: Catholic Outlook.

As part of its LIFTED program, Catholic Youth Parramatta encouraged Year 12 student leaders and young people to become pilgrims of hope in 2024, with an emphasis on supporting grassroots initiatives. 

Late last month, more than 200 students from systemic and independent schools across the Diocese of Parramatta gathered at West HQ, Rooty Hill, to share their goals and aspirations for their leadership in their respective communities. 

Student leaders heard from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, and Jack de Groot, Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese Executive Director, on a variety of topics relevant to young people, including mental health, social media, and women in leadership. 

Bishop Long said that seeing young and enthusiastic faces made him feel that “we have a beautiful, promising future ahead of us, even if we face formidable challenges”.

Mr de Groot said it was a joy to be able to join the leaders and to hear their thoughts about their faith and life experiences as young people. 

With the Diocese continuing its Synodal journey following its inaugural Synod Assembly in October 2023, the Year 12 leaders had an opportunity to participate in their own version of the Synod, focusing on how young people can co-create and enhance new forms of engagement within their parishes, schools and beyond. 

“We need to focus less on our differences and rather highlight what is so special about each and every one of us, and I think that will bring us together as a community,” Alessia, from St Patrick’s Marist College Dundas Valley, said.  


LIFTED inspires student leaders, young people to be ‘pilgrims of hope’ in 2024 (By Mary Brazell, Catholic Outlook)