WelCom March 2023
Jess Jackman, Hearts Aflame
In the silence of a candle-lit school hall at midnight on 1 January, 120 young Catholics from all over New Zealand celebrated the New Year in a ‘counter-cultural’ way. They were deep in prayer. They were participating in the 10-day Hearts Aflame Catholic Summer School 2023, held at Ngā Tawa School in Marton, a rural town in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.
This year’s camp was especially significant for Hearts Aflame ministry as the team celebrated their summer school’s 30th anniversary, which has been running since 1992.
For three decades Hearts Aflame has been helping young adults develop a deeper understanding of their faith and to be open to a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. More than 2,500 individual participants, 1000 hours of prayer and the many vocations to married, priestly and religious life have been sown or strengthened through Hearts Aflame.
The theme for the 2023 school was ‘Wrestle and Rest’, based on the passage in Genesis where Jacob wrestles with an angel. Like Jacob, the participants were challenged to be real and to wrestle with the Lord – wrestling with the Word in Lectio Divina, wrestling through prayer and through discernment of the deep desires of their hearts.
Participants were also challenged to rest and find inner healing through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, silent Adoration, prayer teams, praise and worship, and the joy of spending 10 days in community with other young Catholics ‘on fire’ with their faith.
Highlights included a competitive group carnival and quiz, diocesan hang-out time, world-class lectures and a visit from Archbishop Paul Martin sm.
In his homily Archbishop Paul reminded everyone that, ‘We need one another to challenge and support us to overcome our fears and insecurities so we can meet the person of Jesus and be open to the fullness of God’s love and plan for each one of us.’
We return to our dioceses encouraged to continue to witness to our faith in daily life and contribute in our parishes to build up the Church.