15 February 2012
Those of us worried that young people are struggling to grasp the treasure that is faith amid the challenges of our secular and church environment, can be cheered by the response to the first ever young Catholic leaders’ programme in Palmerston North diocese.
The programme was run in the Pohangina Valley over five days from December 10 for 29 Year 12 students. These young leaders used their many and varied gifts to work creatively individually and in groups.
The days were filled with lectures, activities, challenges, group responsibilities, planning, Mass and Reconciliation designed to build the leadership skills and faith of the participants. The leadership team comprised young leaders from around the diocese and members of the diocesan youth team.
‘The most important thing I learned was that we are all unique and it is so important to recognise and acknowledge our own self-worth and the gifts and talents we have.’
They embraced the faith experiences – ‘God is more in my life now.’
They embraced faith-based approaches to leadership.
As they prepare for their final year at college, the students from St John’s and Sacred Heart Colleges Napier, Francis Douglas Memorial College New Plymouth, Cullinane College Whanganui and St Peter’s College Palmerston North planned how they might use their leadership skills:
- ‘If I were to talk to my peers about being a leader, I would stress…that failure is ok and can help you!’
- ‘The most important thing I learned was to be a servant leader. Follow what Jesus, greatest leader of all times has done. We are the hands of Jesus.’
- ‘The best leader is the one who helps others.’
- ‘The most important thing I learned was that everyone has the potential to make a difference, you just have to have the qualities and the willpower to do it.’
- ‘You don’t have to be loud to be a leader if your actions are good and suitable.’
This programme was adapted from the Archdiocesan Young Leaders Programme and Marist Young Leaders Programme designed by Mark Walls.
See also ‘Young Catholic Leaders can do anything’ about the programme in the archdiocese.