The highly successful Embrace the Grace gathering for young people which mixes faith and sometimes loud fun is on again at New Norcia.
By Robert Hiini
After four years of specialist speakers, hundreds of participants and all sorts of fun and games, the fifth annual Embrace the Grace (ETG) youth conference is set to take place in New Norcia on December 10-14.
Jane Pike, Project Officer at the Respect Life Office and principal organiser says that this year’s conference is set to be bigger than ever.
She says that ETG is about the dignity of the human person and sharing God’s powerful vision for human relationships and sexuality.
This year’s theme – “Be not afraid” – comes from a message John Paul II delivered to youth in 1985:
“Do not be afraid of your own youth and of those deep desires you have for happiness, for truth, for beauty and lasting love.”
Ms Pike says that the late Pope’s words make for a perfect theme after World Youth Day, encouraging young people to embrace who they are in Christ.
“A lot of young people might hear a lot about the rules but we are trying to invite young people to look at the faith in their life and who they are and what they’re feeling,” Ms Pike says.
“We’re looking at beauty, giving young people a look at the beauty of the faith, not just the rules.”
She says that when it comes to the general style of the conference “it’s not just charismatic and it’s not just traditional. It’s a bit of everything.”
Steven Lawrence, the Director of Evangelisation and Catechesis for WYD in Sydney and a guest speaker at the inaugural conference, will kick things off with a talk appropriately titled ‘The deepest desires of your heart’.
Other guest speakers include Paul Kelly from Aquinas College and the newly consecrated Missionaries of the Gospel Sister Bernadette Pike – the first director of the Respect Life Office – and her fellow John Paul II Institute graduates Anthony Coyte, Natalie Thomas and Grant Gorddard.
The conference will also feature several games and outdoor activities as well as a dinner dance.
The Respect Life Office can be contacted on (08) 9375 2029.