Over thirty ACU students recently pursued a Campus Ministry invitation to attend the annual Ignite Conference in Brisbane. Over fifteen years this event has steadily grown into a major feature of the young adult Catholic faith formation calendar, and our students and staff were proud to both represent Australian Catholic University and be totally immersed in the range of liturgy, keynote presentations, praise and worship and workshops in the very full program.
For some students this was literally a leap of faith, for others, a return to familiar territory. One thing is for certain … not one ACU student who attended the Conference left unchanged. In fact, many would have liked it to have been a little longer! Particularly significant were the experiences of eucharist at which Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Archdiocese of Brisbane) presided one day along with thirty priests, including two of our ACU Chaplains. Also, the way in which Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was conducted by Bishop Anthony Randazzo (auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney) drew participants into an intense and moving experience of Christ, contemporary in style, yet anchored in tradition.
Organisers have expressed their gratitude for Australian Catholic University’s Platinum sponsorship of the Conference, but even more importantly, the visible and positive engagement of ACU’s students in the mix of the young adult Catholics present. The ACU promotional stand in the Conference Expo area, prepared by MER and Campus Ministry, was enthusiastically staffed by our students across the four days and yielded many fruitful conversations between senior high school students and ACU undergraduates. Students reported their pride in Australian Catholic University’s prominence in the multimedia advertising and the way in which others were speaking about the University’s contribution to contemporary Catholic life in Australia.
Young adult Australians are desperately seeking belonging pathways in the Catholic Church, and the Ignite experience certainly encouraged them and provided them with resources for achieving this in their local contexts. Quite a number of students attended thanks to the suggested engagement pathway within La Salle Academy’s Signum Fidei program, clearly aligning ACU’s undergraduate teacher formation with cutting edge evangelising and catechesis. I am grateful for the pastoral and organisational support and accompaniment from our Campus Ministry staff which ensured a successful and engaging faith formation experience, situated within our broad strategy to grow the Catholics of today and tomorrow.